Last Sunday morning, over breakfast in Gudauri with our Adventure Awake Georgia squad, we started talking about our stories. We had been discussing self responsibility as a follow up to reading a chapter on the topic from Lynne Forrest's book at our morning practice. How consciousness around our stories is a necessary prerequisite to taking responsibility for where we are operating behind the lens of that story. How that self-responsibility is our key to freedom.
We launched into this game. We had a four hour car ride ahead of us (which turned into a seven hour car ride...), and we all opted in to lay our cards on the table. Anytime anyone said the word "banana" the whole car had to say what story they were telling themselves in that very moment. Empathy kills the shame around our stories, and this is a place where community is probably at its most powerful. That sort of reflection is truly priceless.
When I suggested the game, it didn't totally occur to me how deep it was going go, both for our group, and for me and Summer. It started fun and playful and then sure enough, after a couple hours, the stories got deeper and more subtle. Simultaneous relief and heaviness filled the car as we dug deeper. The sensation was high by the end of the day, as some stories were left unrevealed due to reaching a state of collective delirium and fatigue from both the length of the car ride and the gravity of what we were unearthing.
I had touched something pretty deep the night before, that, due to my own masterly crafted banana game, I had to look at. This story that what I take my attention off of will disappear, be destroyed, die, be taken from me. That if I take care of my own needs first, I'll be dropped on my face. The sensation of having my face smashed into the pavement is sort of how that story feels in my body. It started small in the car ride itself where I was exhausted but wouldn't let myself sleep because I felt like I needed to have my attention on our group (I finally surrendered to that one and Summer happens to have captured a pretty awesome picture of me snoozing with my mouth wide open, head leaning heavily on Tami's shoulder).
The thing about stories is that they are a precursor to the reality we experience. So when I tell myself this story (cause), I am essentially setting myself up to have that experience (effect). And then my reaction to that experience, if generated still from the story I'd been telling myself, will be right on the stroke with the story itself. It's at this super nuanced spot that we have choice - something we often forget about in those moments, coincidentally enough: to believe the story we are telling ourselves, or to not.
The thing about unearthing the really deeply rooted ones is that we can pretty much guarantee that we'll be attracting into our lives the perfect opportunity to play out that story in a really impactful way immediately after we've brought it into our consciousness. This happening reminds me of how cockroaches are in New York. When you see the big ones, that means they are old and ready to die. The young ones causing damage remain hidden. And so, with cockroaches on my mind, this is where the experiential learning comes into play. And right on cue, I got my chance yesterday morning.
I had felt this thing in my relationship. I knew it to be true because my gut tends to be on point with these things, and the lens I interpreted it through told me that the next logical step in the sequence of occurrences was me getting dropped. Flat on my face. A story I was frankly getting pretty sick of. My reaction in this spot was to freeze. I say reaction here because had I not been operating out of my story, I would've simply had a response. And it wouldn't have been fight, flight, or freeze. It would've merely been a response, like to maybe say what I felt. But instead, I froze.
It's hard to imagine while we're in it the amount of self harm that takes place when we are in a place of reaction. It's truly terrible for our body, mind, and spirit. I hate to use the word toxic, but that's actually what it feels like: poison for the soul. I can see it in my face when I'm operating from that spot. My skin looks thicker, rougher, and my eyes aren't as clear. My body feels heavy, and drained.
When the truth of the thing I felt finally came to the surface yesterday morning, rather than accepting it at face value, I used it as proof of the thing I had felt a week ago, perfectly moulded for my story and subsequent experiences, and while there was never actually any evidence of me getting dropped on my face, that's all I heard. I wanted to yell BANANA but it occurred to me that I was the only one in the conversation who would understand what that meant.
And then something incredible happened. I asked for what I needed and I gave my story some airtime anyway. And my story was received and treated with kindness and love. I no longer needed the banana. At that moment, it transformed into that big old crunchy cockroach, finally ready to die. And somehow in that process I heard the truth underneath it. This high vibration undercurrent, that I am standing before a massive crossroads where I can believe the truth, loudly reverberating underneath this experience - I am loved - or I can believe the story.
And this time I chose to believe the truth. This time, that truth set me free.
The aftermath of that decision resulted in a sort of levelling up of our relationship. He opted in one layer deeper, and so did I. To say the thing we feel. To honor the power and capacity we each have by not holding back for reasons like bad timing and not having a perfectly crafted and clear message to back the thing we want to say. To focus on the point of connection. To risk being messy, and trust in our connection enough to find our way back to it if it gets lost, for whatever reason. To say this is new territory for me would be an understatement.
When Summer and I launched Adventure Awake, we didn't know what it would become. Truth be told, I'm not sure we even know yet. It's been built solely on desire, surrender, and faith. It feels big and sure and like this business may change the way people travel. And all the while one thing we've known since the beginning is that these trips are a means to keep us on our own personal paths to awakening. Just as much as we are here to serve our clients, helping them dive deeply into their patterns and conditioning while being surrounded by provocative and exhilarating experiences, we are here to serve ourselves. We work and get worked, right along with them, and have faith that we have the capacity to hold ourselves and them through that process. To share, to connect, and to explore in community. To level up, on all levels of abstraction.
And in knowing that, we can acknowledge that sometimes something as simple as a game about a banana can be a catalyst for the type of change we're all after.