Whose Belief Is It Anyway

Clearing the laundry room closet made its way off the to-do list this past weekend.

Bag after bag after bag was pulled off the top shelf, much like clowns at the circus popping endlessly from a Volkswagen.

How could so many bags possibly be stuffed in such a tiny spot!


Thoughts quickly veered away from clowns to nearly a decade ago now, when a huge clutter clearing purge was underway.

Childhood memories, household things acquired along the way and don’t-know-what-to-do-with-these inheritances from mom and dad stuffed the shelves.

An impending move to several potentially temporary places brought on a forced hard look at what to carry forward.


Actually, ruthless would be a better word.

The shredding truck took care of 568 pounds of paper (according to the receipt).

The garage sale had items from all four seasons and enough tools to equip a starter workshop.

All the must keep items from my parents fit into a box, as did my never-shall-we-part books.


How Far Back Do Your Beliefs GoAn added twist made the whole process much more interesting when a question appeared part way through:


If you could keep only one belief from your parents, tossing all the rest away … what would that one belief be? (Or one belief from each if you must.)


A load of bricks dropped on me.

Such a question ventures into sacred territory given religious, cultural and family tradition could be easily trampled on.

Up to then I’d been through exercises to look at my beliefs, but not the source of my beliefs.

Those are two entirely different questions.


I had to stop, step back and tease apart all the hidden beliefs suddenly put into the spotlight.

Were these thoughts honestly mine or merely adopted because it was easy, or had always been that way.

How many generations back might these beliefs go?

Was I unknowingly living another’s life at the expense of truly living my own?


A whole new dimension layered into the process of clutter clearing.

The question underscored decisions made about every box and every item touched –

was this a reflection of me or somebody else?



My answer took a fair bit of paddling around and wading through all of the messages I’d been told over the years.

There’s a lot when you begin to really look!

I sheepishly admit to having identified many more beliefs of others than I dared thought, especially in the areas of politics and money.


But one message became abundantly clear to keep from both mom and dad.

Although their paths were different – one of writing and the other flying, in the end their lives both spoke to the same thing –

Your true self won’t be denied,

so follow that inner voice,

your inner Light inside.



What one belief, if any, of your parents would you keep? What belief(s) do you hold that is different from your family, cultural or religious background?




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Lorraine Watson - on rustic porch

chief nudging officer


Crazy for cats and potatoes, Lorraine's insatiable curiosity of Life leads her to question, explore and push beyond the box. A self-professed "left-brained creative big picture" type, she has an intuitive knack for seeing beyond and beneath first appearances while at the same time nerding out on the details. Most of all she sees and holds others in their highest until they can see it for themselves.


  1. Kris on October 8, 2014 at 11:47 am

    So poetic. Lovely musing on family and beliefs.

    Thank you for this, xox.

  2. Emma on October 8, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Wow, what a great analogy! I have plenty of inherited beliefs that I’ve been clearing out of my “mind closet” over the past few years. The main ones being 1) Money doesn’t grow on trees! And 2) Sacrifice = reward. But the one belief I will treasure from both of my parents, who are sadly no longer with me, is something that they both demonstrated consistently as long as they were alive: that kindness is important.

    • Lorraine on October 9, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      Oh how ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’ brings back memories! And the world could certainly do with a lot more kindness and those who are kind are great treasures.

      Very much appreciate your sharing of insights Emma.

  3. Carrie Ann Lahain on October 8, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    I suppose it’s all well and good when you have kindly, positive-minded parents…You get a wealth of emotional and spiritual riches to choose from. It’s harder when your parents were (are–luckily both of mine are still around) difficult, unhappy people. If you want to glean some wisdom in this case, it tends to be in the negative: what NOT to do, how NOT to think.

    My mother is fiercely loyal but also holds long grudges. I’m far more forgiving than she is, but I am quicker to eject negative people from my life. From dealing with my mother, I’ve learned to reject drama and chaos. To think before I speak, because words can hurt. To count to 10 before I let my temper loose upon the world. My father…well…he’s a drinker and chronically depressed. From dealing with him I’ve learned to love without expectations and, when necessary, from a safe distance.

    In other words, by closely observing my problematic parents, I like to think I’ve learned how to live a good life. I just think back to my childhood and do the OPPOSITE.

    • Lorraine on October 9, 2014 at 6:52 pm

      The nuggets don’t always jump out, or in the way we expect. Took me a fair bit of time to dig through the struggles of my parents and their diverging paths to see they were both trying to be themselves and follow what had always called them.

      Even in the opposites, we learn much about who we are not and either know where not to go or get pointed in the right direction. In a roundabout way, that might even be a way to consider a message from your parents – be yourself and not follow in the footsteps of others.

      To live a good life, you have found your way to live well. That is something to celebrate.

      Thanks for sharing your story Carrie. Really great perspective that adds to the question.

  4. Tanja @ Conscious Introvert Success on October 9, 2014 at 1:22 am

    This is such a thought-provoking question, Lorraine!

    I think that if I had to keep just one belief, it would be that it’s worth picking my battles. I think both of my parents had this belief, although it came through differently in each of their lives.



    • Lorraine on October 9, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      Thanks for jumping in Tanja!

      Seeing those common threads beneath different appearances, and how they come together is always fascinating. Very useful pearl of wisdom to carry with you.

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