a Brief thought: own Your Story
Don't just witness it, live it.
I've said this before and oh I will say it again, this whole creative and exploratory space that is Conscious Life Collaborative, is about stories. They are such a gift because they are a new lens through which we can view the world. So much of my story is formed from the perspectives of others; I've gleaned insight from them. The ever unique but never isolated words that make up a person's life. They create bridges of resonance to those familiar and unfamiliar.
I often miss how interconnected we are, how the chance to connect is so viable and yet so often missed because it can be sincerely frightening. Our impulse to connect welcomes small talk, but when that impulse intends to step further, to claim vulnerability, we choose instead to censor.
A bared soul feels quite freeing though...
Which is why I am not so sure I want to censor anymore. I am not always bold enough to initiate, but I will reciprocate the generosity of another's vulnerability by offering my own. I won't shy from the opportunity to speak their language, to ask questions, so their story can be shared a little longer.
Glean from every minute
What does that mean, to glean? It is to extract information, to collect gradually, bit by bit. I think I am using it in the wrong context actually, as it's usually applied to the physical acquirement of things, but I'm keeping it because it reminds me to be intentional and methodical. I glean, not to attain nuggets in someone's story to satisfy a sense of personal accomplishment, but to open my inhibitions and dismiss my assumptions long enough to hear their words. And by simply being willing to receive, to give them my honest attention, may I find something powerful to walk away with. I almost always have.
So, know that...
stories don't end at words
It is, too, where I see God. In the moments of connection, when I could give the shallowest of answers and put as many nonverbal cues to end this conversation, I instead return the inquiry, the compliment, offer an observation. I share a little of my story even if this connection never gets formed again. It could be as brief as a 5 minute conversation. I remember I met a woman on my way home on the bus, she told me that my health is worth valuing and that loss of loved ones is a sad, but beautiful means of finding the strength to value yourself. I had not shared a single word about my mother who had passed. It was strange, her advice eerily accurate, the words had been a pressing thought for weeks. I thanked her for her words and when I told her of my loss and the very goal she poignantly shared with me, she was moved. She blessed me with her unassuming wisdom and I blessed her by acknowledging and returning her vulnerability. How amazing the power of connection when there is no pretense or barrier to block it. It is there to be shared. It wants to be shared.
be and do
This is the advice I remind myself of daily: Be brave enough to trip through it and laugh through it and love through it and grow through it. The growth includes tears and anger, self-pity and doubt, confusion and stubborn resolve, turbulent hatred, and paltry forgiveness. It is everything and it is yours, owning it means you can decide what you value enough to keep and decide what you are ready to relinquish.
There may be times when it is hard to open up. It takes energy, a certain strength to know that your words may not be reciprocated, or perhaps, that you can't reciprocate the other person's story. But the beauty is in the effort, to take the time to understand and even just be an ear to listen, that creates significant connection. That says to the other, your words are worth hearing. And that goes the same for looking at one's own story. The parts of your history that hurt too much to acknowledge, those are the parts to listen to. Exposing them bit by bit means liberating yourself to stand boldly in every part of you. Your story does not need to be validated, it's value is in the very fact you are alive with a powerful voice.
Value your story. Tell your story. And learn someone's story today.
Just a thought.
To your fulfilled life,