Monday, December 14, 2009

story gifts

Humans tell stories..... it is how we learn best.  By giving and receiving them.  You share one with me, and I'll share one with you.  They will take on a life of their own as they box and blend together.... as WE see and hear and feel the similar nuances.  As we see and hear and feel the differences.  
Between you and I.  
Different perspectives
Different experiences
Different cultures, promises, hopes and dreams.
Same feelings.
Similar yearnings.
To belong.  To be loved.  To be wanted and needed.
Stories let us learn empathy.
Stories thrive on emotional literacy.

WE learn and grow from the new seeds sown into our fabric and we are forever altered.  The way I view my world  changes every time I listen to a story and absorb its meaning. I t can't be avoided, especially if I allow it to pluck the chord inside.  Do you know that chord?  It flutters in song when it's plucked.  When its pulled, a lightbulb comes on..... BLINK.  awareness.  

sometimes an aha!  is uttered.  Aha! 
sometimes a sigh
or an angry outcry
or a laugh
or a wide eyed wow
or a knowing nod.... uhuh.... i know..... yup, I get it. 
Common ground! Empathy.
Once a chord has been plucked, the lens we gaze through alters.

We tell stories which feed our thirst for learning.  I share one with you.  You share one with me.  Nothing enhances life more than trusting someone enough to spill a bit of ourselves.... A story gift is a glimpse of what is hidden under your's a vulnerable act..... to open up our flesh .... to offer a glimpse. 

  The other day after I had been facilitating for about an hour with of a group of people struggling to get along, I asked them........ "What could I do to help you trust me?"  A young woman in her late teens spoke first.  She said.  "I already trust you."

"Why?  What did I do to earn your trust already?"

"You told us a story about yourself that you didn't have to share with us.  You showed me that you are vulnerable too."
I was FLOORED!  I didn't expect this answer so quickly! It was the one I was looking for.  I thought I'd have to massage and to coach it out of the group. I responded........

"It's why I told you that story..........I wanted to give you a glimpse of who I am besides the Counsellor around here.  I wanted you to see me as someone just like you so that perhaps you'd feel more comfortable sharing with one another.  It's a vulnerable place to be... to dwell in.  But, if we are ever going to find the peace and serenity, the only way to go as far as I can see, is to be open and willing to be vulnerable. Our stories are our gifts to each other.  We learn from them.  We learn from one another.  They alter the lens we choose to see the world around us........... does anyone have a story you'd like to share?  I bet we can all relate!"

By lunch time, layers of selves were peeled away.  The setting had been set for new prism lenses to be installed. A shift had happened.  The energy had changed.  All because we took the risk of sharing stories.  What a gift.


Cyrus Rumi said...

A very interesting post!:)

Made me think a lot...thank you!:)

Have a great day:)


Mark said...

Stories and the sharing of our story is so very important! This is so very important and you have expressed yourself eloquently. You are a wise person to share your story and to help others see beyond your title and position.

Gilly said...

Some people find it easier to share than others. Some massage their stories to make themselves look better/braver/even more vulnerable than others. Some would no more share a story than fly to the moon!

I used to be able to share, but I've been scalded too often now to be quite so free! At least in public.

I'd be that silent soul at the back of the classroom listening to everyone, giving out nothing! A Counsellors nightmare! ;-)

awareness said...

cyrus... thinking is a good thing. :) cheers!

Mark...I don't know about wise, but if i've learning anything through blogging and writing reflections, storytelling is the best way to connect.
One of the icebreakers I used is called two truths and a lie. Everyone writes their down on a piece of paper and they are all thrown into a hat. Throughout the session I pulled them out one at a time and read them aloud. We had to guess which one was the lie for each person. It worked beautifully with this group.... and it allowed them all a chance to share a bit of themselves. This prompted a few stories to come out. Have you ever tried that one Mark?

Gilly.... That's for sure! In this class I set the guideline that we "extroverts" had to pause longer than we usually do so that the introverts could feel comfortable stepping into the discussion. I also put them in pairs for some of the exercises I did so that others who were really quiet had a chance to share.
The quiet ones in the back? Not a nightmare...... just a good challenge. :)

Gypsy said...

I allow myself to be vulnerable on my blog often, sometimes to my detriment, but mostly it allows people to feel as if they know me better because I'm human and have made a lot of mistakes. As a result I have formed some wonderful friendships that I doubt would have been able to flourish if I'd been a closed book and shared nothing of myself as a vulnerable and flawed human being.

Your frienship is one I value because we have both shared and I wouldn't have it any other way.

awareness said...

Gypsy.... I have too, and have met some of them in person because of the story sharing. Maybe one day you and I will meet? I'd love that. My God, wouldn't we have fun??

Gypsy said...

Yes I do believe we would xx