1 topic : 4 voices. This post was inspired by something Susan Piver wrote on twitter. “There is a way to write that solidifies your story and a way to write that liberates you from it.” The ensuing conversation was too wonderfully juicy to leave to 140 characters. Tweeting then and writing now are Susan Piver, Hiro Boga, Jennifer Louden and myself. I’m honored to be in their company. Please follow the links, read their blogs, and enjoy their expanding wisdom on the subject.
update: 5 voices. Dave Navarro wrote an incredible post you really should see called How to Stop Telling Your Sad, Sad Story.
I’m a believer in the power of stories. They teach, inspire, and heal. Stories can express the depth of sorrow for what we’ve lost. They remind us of challenges faced and overcome. We reclaim our wholeness through stories.
But sometimes stories hurt. They’re like shards of glass wedged in our psyche. They may be nearly invisible, half-forgotten. Then we brush up against them and are stunned by their fresh pain.
We all have stories like this. They drag us to the past even us as we move forward in time. A new event unfolds and triggers the old hurt, making it a little more true in our minds.
We believe we are our stories. They describe our fears, reasons for anger, feelings of being unloved, and our perceived limitations.
Our mind cycles through them, trying to make sense, trying to resolve the pain into a neat package that doesn’t hurt any more. But every time we revisit them instead of finding resolution we seem to drive the shards a little deeper into our hearts.
Here are two truths: We are not our stories. Some things are not resolvable.
Freedom then depends on something besides resolution. Something different than making peace with the past so as to be untouched by it.
One way to work with painful stories is to move beyond the story all together. Move beyond the narrative that only serves to hook us further. We’re talking about this right now in the shenpa course I’m teaching. We’re learning to stay, which means learning to stay present with the pure vibration, sensation and emotion without going into words. (You’ll find some guidelines in this compassionate abiding post.)
Another way to work with stories that hurt is to hold awareness of the story, but make a radical turn outward. Instead of holding the hurt close as your own private provenance, extend your gaze. When you do you’ll discover your personal story is mirrored in the lives of others as far as you can see. Shimmering in Indra’s net.
Staying present to the pain of your experience and looking outward, compassion arises spontaneously.
Now the words of maitri meditation (metta, loving-kindness) swell with meaning.
May I live in safety. May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I live with ease.
Knowing how my personal pain shackles me, knowing what it feels like to cry, to rage, to doubt myself…
Knowing you want happiness and freedom just as I do, I say with all my heart…
May you live in safety. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you live with ease.
Your story becomes spacious with humanity. Not resolved. Transformed.
Your thoughts invited: What wounding, personal story can you see as a story of humanity?