Stuck in the Clouds: On Shame, Taking the Autopilot Out and Owning the Story of Your Past

Hello lovely readers and welcome back to my high-flying newsletter! The only newsletter that takes a holiday without telling anyone…

Following a 3-2-1 approach, it contains 3 thoughts from me (that you should ignore), 2 quotes from others (that you should read), and 1 joke that’s so bad, it’s good!

Let’s begin!

3 Thoughts:

1) “A good writer is a good listener. What you need to listen to is your subconscious. You allow what comes forward to dicate the terms. You’re not suppose to write with your head. Writing – good truthful writing – must come from the heart. It must comes from the gut. To do that you need to let go, listen and then type.” – click to tweet

2) “If you don’t own the story of your past, the story will own you. Here’s an exercise you might consider: Recall several defining, difficult moments from your life and write them out in painful detail. Try you best to understand why you took the actions you did. Try to forgive your past self as you do. Then, take a long hard look at what happened and ask yourself what you would do if the story repeated itself. With all the wisdom you now posses ask yourself how would you act if you got a second chance. Let that knowledge sink in. Use it to orientate yourself in the present. Wear it on your sleeve along with your heart. What will happen is this. An opportunity will present itself. The story will come full circle. You will have a chance to rewrite the ending.” – click to tweet

3) “The more time spent living a life on autopilot the less able we are to live a life of purpose on our own terms. We become scared of taking the autopilot out for fear of the inevitable turbulence we will experience. Yet, it’s in the turbulence with the autopilot out where we really learn to fly.” – click to tweet


“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” 

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Shame derives its power from being unspeakable… If we cultivate enough awareness about shame to name it and speak to it, we’ve basically cut it off at the knees. Shame hates having words wrapped around it. If we speak shame, it begins to wither. Just the way exposure to light was deadly for the gremlins, language and story bring light to shame and destroy it.

― Brené Brown. (from “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead”)

1 Joke: 

A farmer and a butcher are having a conversation.

The farmer says to the butcher, “I don’t slaughter my calves until they have matured… You could say, I’m raising the steaks!”

The butcher pauses before replying, “That meat joke… It was well done!”

You can find more of AP2’s writing here at:

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7 thoughts on “Stuck in the Clouds: On Shame, Taking the Autopilot Out and Owning the Story of Your Past

  • “Shame hates having words wrapped around it. If we speak shame, it begins to wither.” This Brene Brown quote is quite profound and resonated with me.

    Happy Friday, AP! Keep those well done dad jokes coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just reading her book at the moment. Her thoughts on shame – especially for the difference between men and women (for men not being seen as vulnerable or weak being at the heart of what drives our shame) has been eye opening. Given me plenty to reflect on. Can highly recommend it. Happy Friday Ab. I’ll be sure to keep em coming. I have no shortage of terrible dad jokes 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  • I found your second thought really resonated with me. Through my writing, I find I’m exploring so many things – they don’t all make it to a post, but it is making me reflect a lot, and its giving me a different and better perspective. A better understanding of where I am now. I hadn’t realised/recognised how much that’s actually been happening until I reflected on your words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that’s the real magic of writing. How it changes you as a person – by making you examine your thoughts and feelings – your past – it forces us to shine a light on the dark places within. I’m glad the thought resonated Brenda. Thank you for taking the time to read/comment 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m pleased to hear it. The ability to examine our past through writing has the power to transform us for the better. Thank you Lesley. I hope you are well 🙏🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree. It’s best to do something constructive towards accepting a traumatic past, rather than wallowing and ruminating, as I once was in the habit of doing.
        I’m sorry for my delay in answering you. I haven’t been feeling well since the beginning of the new year. Hubby and I have both managed to escape Covid but, since the end of social distancing and the wearing of masks, we’ve been hit with one bug after another! We were warned this would probably happen. Our NHS is struggling with all the people, young and old, being hit with superbugs. Hopefully, spring will bring better times. How are you and your family?

        Liked by 1 person

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