Sharing our stories in families, in classrooms, in our community can empower us and help us to deal with personal and national or global challenges. After the recent Santa Barbara Fires and Montecito Mudslides, I attended a workshop where we shared our experiences. In the process of listening to others express their feelings in a safe, supportive environment, I allowed myself to grieve and cry. Following the expression was a space for integration and allowing new possibilities to open. In a span of a few hours a transformation occurred, and I felt the healing power of sharing stories with each other.
I have been thinking about how we can engage the stories that need to be both expressed and heard in our own personal lives and in our communities. Parents having discussions with their children, workshops in your community, teachers discussing current issues of concern in classrooms are all possible ways to make start the dialogue.
I also observe that when I am out and about running errands or doing business that I often have an opportunity to speak with someone and listen more deeply to what they are saying. What is going on in their lives right now? What is impacting them? Is it rules that aren’t working? Is it the concern of a loved one’s or pets health? Is it the loss of their home, or the fear of it? Is it the Florida school shooting? Maybe the story they share is full of hope and expectation instead. Maybe the story is an opportunity to be more understanding with someone else’s perspective.
How can we be more attentive to our own stories, and the stories of others? Sometimes it only takes a few minutes of listening, and there can be a shift in the person telling the story. Maybe they are more lighter, optimistic, or hopeful. Maybe they are open to another perspective or possibility they didn’t consider. I wonder.
Sharing Story Challenge: Be aware of the stories that need to be expressed and heard today. Challenge yourself to be patient, and listen more deeply. That act of listening and being heard can be a gift you give yourself and another today.
Copyright © 2018, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.
Photo credit: Image of Mount Rushmore is from Frickr Creative Commons uploaded by trungson