What’s it like to be born under someone else’s North Star?
I created the tools in One Ripple for myself when I was at a complete loss to why I felt so erased and helpless to change an autopilot, never-ending 23 year pattern of crisis as a caregiver for my father and brother. Both suffered from brain injuries and were completely dependent on me for their survival, including all the financial, legal and health responsibilities that came with being their conservator. I did so willingly, with honor and diligence to do it "right," so no regrets would haunt me later.
A false identity, or someone else’s North Star, feels like a mask initially, then a straightjacket.
But every time I took care of myself, like getting a massage or taking a vacation, it seemed my absence produced another emergency, undoing any sense of or hope for calmness. The snow globe never stopped shaking.
I began to wonder why and just couldn’t figure it out. This was very painful because I normally was able to figure out the most complex problems and have a great capacity to deal with shit.
This isn't about caregiving or any judgement around the beautiful and noble act as society defines it. Rather, it's about how that wasn't my story and the great erasing of my identity because of it. It's about how I lost myself in it while feeling the desperation of being trapped in a never-ending story, always being pulled under and entwined in seaweed, but always fighting my way back to the surface for a gasp of air. About wanting to get away and at the same time, feeling guilty about wanting that, getting stuck in the invisible ties of honor and obligation.
This is a story about how the highest of ideals locked me into the immense pain of being erased.
To understand why, I knew I had to find the root cause of it, to fully find a lasting solution...in a way that freed me from any lingering attachments to the story because I wanted to be completely free of it, not to just paint over it with a unicorn brush.
So, I went as far back as I could and realized that this pattern of fixing, helping and stabilizing things for others, at my expense, began before I was even born.
I was born to replace my dead sister, to bring joy to my family after the inexplicable tragedy. Not only was I born with such hope, I was named the embodiment of the emotion that my family needed and felt when I came into the world. This is an enviable position to be gifted as a baby, but I found that this simple name embodied a script that not even my parents were aware of. It embodied the unseen undercurrent of hope to bring joy to others, to erase their pain that they didn't know how to do on their own.
I was born to solely fix the problems of others, joyfully from my being....and, at my expense. All in for others but nothing for me.
I grew up in a volatile, yet extremely loving home environment, where rage would be triggered by some unseen trip wire that seemed to move its location without notice. We were not permitted to cause "trouble," which implied trying to control the uncertainty of life. That meant, staying small and off the radar. Plus my ancestral Asian heritage, taught me to "be good," live in honesty and integrity, and to use monocular (seeing both sides at the same time) vision.
I couldn't wait to get away and I remember when I was 10 years old, mentally creating a 7 year calendar to mark off the days until I left home to go to college.
After college, my mom (the hub of our family) passed away and I curiously returned home to take care of my dad, as if on autopilot. I dedicated my energy to care for the man who caused so much pain, realizing that as strong as he was, he was defenseless around the circumstances early in his life that took his freedom away when he and many other Japanese Americans were interned in American camps during WWII.
My capability to carry heavy loads increased as I willingly took care of my dad, day to day, as dementia set in. At the same time, sadly, my favorite brother suffered a stroke in his brain stem, leaving my perfectly precise, smart and sensitive sibling in a coma.
This was a life of walking alone between the living and the dead, the lucid and irrational as I could only watch the rest of the world continue to spin forward without me. This was a hidden life, out of sight as time went on for others while I stayed stuck like in those fast frame movies, in a dark box where I walked in endless circles.
I managed all of this while remaining highly functional in high stress, high visibility jobs in the entertainment, consulting, and financial service industries.
Over the decades, I repeatedly immersed myself into that unending story because I believed only I could provide the very best care for them and seeing their vulnerability of complete helplessness.
I learned to have no choices for myself as I kept those plates spinning...not permitted to take a nap even though I was so tired I couldn't think straight. No time to eat lunch because I had no time to get all the stuff done at my crazy job, no time to hang out with my boyfriend and that it was useless to get a massage and relax because as soon as I was out of the service, I found 8 urgent voicemails around another crisis that had happened in the past hour.
This is what I really wanted to do....just walk away through some magical portal where drama didn't exist.
And yet, I always found the upside or something to laugh about in every situation as some sort of survival strategy. It was this optimism that allowed me to persevere, but also locked me to stand on the shore of waves of never ending crisis. Pop my balloon 7 times and I'll find enough wind in my lungs to blow it up an 8th time.
Having no choices other than to persevere led me to be easily controlled in all situations despite achieving all my external goals around work. Encouraged to fly but only within the confines of a very small cage.
Even as I created my life on my own, I never felt I was really all the way me, working and living robotically during those years and not understanding why. With no point of personal truth, I was left in a constant reactionary state that bound me tightly until there was nothing left of me.
Why was this all happening and why couldn't I change it? Why did the things that worked for other people like positive thinking, meditation and therapy, not work for me? Why wasn't I feeling better, able to cope for the long run and still feel drained?
Unwinding to find MY North Star
There must have been something wrong with me, for sure. Or, was it that I didn't earn the right to be at peace or to be happy? I felt there was no purpose to my life other than for others' pure survival. Why was I even here beyond that? I didn't even know what happiness for me meant.
All the existing advice on how to be drama free, be mindful, "let it all go," be centered, be grounded, don't try to control everything JUST DIDN"T WORK, because every time I followed the instructions to a T, something would happen and I would get hooked back into the craziness like receiving 5 phone calls from my dad asking about Christmas cards…in April…while on a weekend getaway!
None of this advice taught someone like ME, HOW to do this stuff other than repetitive actions over and over again...and I just didn't have the time, stability or space to do that.
It got to the point where I was "brought down to my knees" and finally couldn't take it anymore.
So, over the course of 10 years, I climbed out of that well…and during that time, I began to compile tools that explained everything to me.
That I was re-creating very specific auto-pilot data points that didn't even belong to me. They continued to repeat with greater velocity with every crisis, with every passing year, even after finding tactical solutions like a new job. These things followed me like a shadow that a huge flashlight couldn't expose.
And many of these weren't even those originating in my lifetime, making them entirely unseen from my direct experience. I was living very specific reverberations of deeper, hidden, evolutionary origins of control, shame, and scarcity.
And being pressed for time, I didn't have the time or money or energy to attend long spiritual retreats. I needed to do things fast but without taking shortcuts. I KNEW that happiness could not be dependent on anything external, like having my relatives pass away or by getting a better job or more serene apartment. And I KNEW it didn't have to be hard.
As I began to find these tools, I stumbled into the notion of subconscious scripts and a way to unwind them MYSELF, without repetitive therapy sessions. It was only then, with those gatekeeper scripts out of the way, was I able to benefit from the more esoteric practices of empowerment at their root.
I found that I didn't need to escape or wait for retirement to start living my most meaningful life right NOW without giving any of my achievements up.
And, I didn’t have to wear tie-dye t-shirts to get there.
MY North Star
As you can imagine, from reading my story, that my North Star is freedom, not just for me but for those around me as well.
My name and dream of my family of embodying joy that kept me locked into a story that wasn't mine. Every obligation, although willingly fulfilled, kept me apart from my real identity of freedom. The dream of my family here on earth of joy now can easily be expressed with MY real dream for myself through freedom. You know, heaven to earth ground into a unified presence. That kind of stuff.
All North Stars benefit those around me. By owning and knowing this, I give people silent permission to be free as well. It is my invisible magnetic north that I don't have to think about - I can sense when I'm off course but also, how to effortlessly get back into my stable center.
I am, and always have been in my 34 years of corporate experience, most "powerful" now (without manipulation, force or domination) endlessly to "move" people and circumstances that serve my (and everyone involved) best interest in an unfiltered, “unthinking” way. It allows me to translate my soul's essence into the real world, through work and play, and is stable, no matter what is happening around me.
Does this mean life is perfect? NO! Life continues to happen but the great thing is that much of what I used to waste my energy on no longer is an issue because what I teach runs on its own. And if I bump up against a freedom wall, I know exactly what to do to move through it much more quickly and gracefully than before without breaking the responsibility of integrity.
I Wish I Had Known This Before!
I learned that legacies exist beyond monetary inheritances to actual life patterns, beyond family habits. These happen to revolve around the hidden drivers that all of us have...and I'm not talking about the shadow or roots in the normal sense that's published out there. The power of the subconscious can attract the most unsatisfying events, people and circumstances in a way that seems to challenge the notion of free will.
These scripts can be good if they support your best life. They suck balls when they don't, especially when they repeat someone else's story or perpetuate modern humanity's challenges. My backstory is all around a script that I unwittingly played out, including cast members, set design and directing in a tragedy that none of us would have consciously chosen.
All of them are meant to help you achieve great things in life, for your family and those at work. However, unless they are unwound, they can erase you as a person.
If unchecked, these hidden drivers can snuff out the power of your purpose, if unchecked. They can bind you until you lose yourself in them, like a vine, acting like a parasite on your right life although outwardly, it appears to bloom.
They make things very difficult, causing a pull like an unseen undertow, making you exert more effort than necessary.
These unseen entanglements that keep people in a small box. Understanding that, and how to unwind them, can free you and gave you the specific, personal path to your true life, everyday, where you are, without abandoning the real world.
I know now that having to wait for a trauma to shock one to ask the big questions isn’t needed. Each of us have enough life data points to see our individual scripts and find our North Star.