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What if We are More Than Our Story? - Guest Post

{I sat in Janet's workshop at the 2021 National Association of Adoptees and Parents Conference. These conferences, as much as they are possibly one of my favorite times of the year, have the tendency to bring up many conflicting emotions, and at some point during one of the days, I noticed constriction within, anxiety; I couldn't relax. Janet's workshop was on Adult Healing for the Child Within Through Playful Connections, where she incorporated activities and movement, and where I noticed my constriction slowly releasing until I was loose enough to laugh and relax and enjoy the moment. What seemed silly and embarrassing at first, turned out to hold the keys to breaking whatever ice had formed within my body.

Janet wrote this piece on her site in 2019 and is allowing me to post it here, as the message is one I greatly appreciate at this point in my own healing journey. The piecing together of our stories, the creation of a narrative for our lives is an essential building block of healing. And only once we've done that can we travel further, beyond those stories}

What if We are More Than Our Story?

Janet Nordine, MS, LMFT, RPT-S

Can you stop for a moment? Just stop and spend some time with yourself and with me, please.

Can you think about who you are in the context of the story you have been told? Or that you have searched for, or the story you found? Or the story you believe about yourself?

Can you just be with that story for a moment or two? Does the story you have brought forward define you? Help you make sense of who you are in this life? How does it serve you? Does it serve you?

What if you are adopted? Did it take you, like me, 52 years to find out where you came from? How you came to be? Did you, like me, put so much hope in your beginning story to help you make sense of yourself? Did this story become your foundation, your guidepost to make sense of the confusion in your life?

Was your story full of the sad truth of rejection and abandonment?

Mine was.

Are you as exhausted as I am right now because of all these questions? Are you exhausted from your own seeking of solace in a story that seems familiar and foreign all at the same time?

Truth? I am spent.

Today, I sat with someone who has helped me see “Story” differently. I hope I may convey all I learned and all I felt as new thoughts and ideas raced through my mind and my body. When I say raced, I mean zoomed. Think Nascar in the final lap.

“What if you could get under the story to your Core Self?”


I have told myself so many stories about myself my whole life, as many who are adopted do so frequently. I have felt like a chameleon so often and have changed the color of my story to fit the need of the moment.

Fitting in. Making sense. Being compliant. Being quiet. Seen, not heard, or better yet, invisible. Filling a need. Fixing a problem. Saving others. Being the good one. God’s plan. Blah. Blah. Blah.

This all led to my life long job of ignoring myself. Because if your own mother did not want you, and you were not planned, wanted, and you caused shame, why should I care for myself either? Again, exhaustion.

Brene Brown writes about guideposts in her book The Gift of Imperfection. Guidepost #3 is “Letting Go of Numbing and Powerless and Cultivating a Resilient Spirit.


How often, and for how long have I just been numb? Dare I answer? I would say since my conception. How about you?

So, here we are. With our stories. With our jobs. All because we are adopted, or because we have had pain in our lives, or because we have had trauma in our lives, or because we are just human. The pain of our stories is not exclusive to the adoptee community. Pain is Pain. Period.

I was reminded today of Pema Chodron and her book Don’t Bite the Hook: Finding Freedom from Anger, Resentment, and Other Destructive Emotions Pema is a Buddhist Nun, Author and Speaker. She is someone I have turned to often when I need clarity. It has been a while since I spent time with her, but after today’s conversation, I will be visiting with her words and spirit again.

The Pema Chodron quote that was shared is:

“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather. -Pema Chödrön”

We, our core self is the sky. Everything else, everything else – adoption, trauma, hurt, abandonment, rejection, fear, food addiction, numbing, business, loneliness, not fitting in, fear…. all of it,

All of it, is just the weather.

I love that you and I are both the sky.

It feels like our bodies have permission to stop chasing the weather looking for the next tornado.

We can just lie back, and be expansive, beautiful and go beneath the story we have been told or have been telling ourselves. It feels real to be the sky.

The weather will pass.

I am not the weather.

I am real.

I am the sky.

You are real.

You are the sky.

Janet Nordine, is a Marriage and Family Therapist who works with adopted children and families in Las Vegas, NV. She is a registered Play Therapist Supervisor who loves to utilize play with children, and also works with adults as they work through trauma and life's challenges. Janet is an adopted person (adoptee) who is exploring what it is like to BE adopted and the challenges, joy and feelings that adoption brings into a life.

You can contact Janet or read more of her work at her site, Experience Courage

<Love glasses

Why i relinquished a son to adoption, and why i never would again>