• natalienuttall

Beyond the story self

There is a momentary realisation, when reading a page of writing, that the words are only able to stand in relief because they sit on a blank background.

In the same way, we can only appreciate music because of the contrast that is created between silence and vibration.

All these years we live out our lives believing that the thoughts passing through our minds equate to the truth of who we are. There are well-worn scripts or stories about 'me' - a separate self - which are mostly inherited and repeated from passing comments, observations from others, teachers' reports, feedback from bosses, potted descriptions from family and friends. These beliefs have accumulated based on fleeting moments and somehow become solidified, defining narratives.

And so the story self is created and identified with.

A spontaneous occurrence happened to me in the bath, while musing on an experience of postnatal depression some ten years or so ago. It occurred to me that, maybe I was not the inner narrator in this body. And while CBT therapy had been helpful to see the potential to challenge the validity of thoughts, maybe it wasn't even about changing the script, or writing a new one. Maybe it was more seismic than that.

There followed a good few years of exploration into Eastern philosophies, existential theories, immersion in life, holistic therapies and then a revisiting of books all pointing to a singular truth. No specific label, discipline, science, faith or secular teaching underpinned this - it was more vaguely yet inclusively aligned to the intersection of everything. A place of no finite origin, yet unmistakably clear.

After years of support from coaches, teachers, training, life experiences, books, resources and endless seeking, another funny thing occurrred to me. I sensed that I'd been embarking on this inner exploration with a voracious appetite and yet this was the antithesis of intellectual pursuit, of striving and acquiring knowledge. Rather, it became clear it was the falling away of inherited conditioning, and an uncovering of the unequivocal knowing of our being. Dropping from the the head-space to rest in the heart-space.

No mysticism or magic, no special skills or extraordinary qualities. Simply a recognition of our collective innate wellbeing, so vast and infinite, beneath the veil of constant thinking and analysis. The invisible space that contains all objects.

The page beneath the words.

And rather than an elusive destination, this endless space of being, is available to us all right here, right now. Such cosmic tom-foolery. To hide peace and security in plain sight.

This nameless space, often referred to as flow, is something we all know intimately periodically. Whether it's in reverie, while immersed in our favourite pastimes, walking in nature, smiling at a baby, watching the sea, or the moment of waking before thoughts flood in. This is it. As simple and mundane as an empty space, yet so ridiculously overlooked.

It is this space into which we descend in coaching sessions. The pace of speech tends to decelerate, what seemed restless and searching calms into an old remembering. A familiar knowing is realised as we reflect on how compelling the story is, and yet point back with ease to the space below incessant thinking.

The quiet, immaculate vastness that is intermittently occluded.

We hunt for it relentlessly as if it were outside of us, and yet it's intrinsic and we are never separate from it.

With love,


For more details of 1-1 coaching support (a return to the heart space) please do get in touch.

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