Sometimes it flows.
I sit and reflect and enjoy playing with words. I write as if to drop an anchor, for myself and the story sharers, the people in the room and those who couldn't be there in person. A glimpse of the exchange we had, a facet of each five-minute experience.
Sometimes it's a struggle.
Take this month, for example. Oh, look, we're a week out from the next event. The recap assignment (from who? me?) has been hovering in the background, this unsettled feeling that tells me I'm a mess, a failure, a waste (geez! how dramatic!) because I haven't posted the recap or shared links from last month. I get down on myself because I didn't follow through. I didn't do my job.
But wait! What IS my job? I created STORY as a wild experiment in connection and desire. I host these events because I crave this kind of connection. My only "job" is to show up and hold space in service of that connection. No one is making me do this. I am not following someone else's recipe, written rules to which I must adhere. It's time to shift my focus and ask better questions to pull myself up and out of this self-flagellating nonsense. How about:
What am I actively learning from my behavior in relationship to my circumstance?
There we go. A shift in perspective and suddenly we're learning, we're growing, and have some insight into how we relate to the space-time continuum.
My relationship to the Future
If you know me you've likely seen the moment of connection light me up. Aliveness is being with others, working toward something, together. Momentum. Forward movement. Creating new things with purpose and passion. Energy and enthusiasm.
My relationship to the Past
Looking back has a sweet nostalgic draw, but isn't enough to fill me. The past is most alive for me when it's a tool to inform how we move forward, what we can learn, do better, build upon. The reflections each month, after each story, are an example of practicing the pause that allows room for celebration AND an opportunity to move higher, together.
STORY teaches me that I'm most alive when I show up fully within a structure that holds me in collaborative connection with others; moving together toward the future, learning from the previous moment and evolving with each next step.
OK! Now let's recap the August 22nd STORY event, shall we?
The room looked different when the night started and at the end of the first story, the room felt different. For the first five minutes there we stood, several dozen of us in a circle, around two women and a table. Aidan’s story was part demo, part reflection, part call to action: “What the world needs is for you to come alive…” Continue to learn more about how you can come alive at https://vervewellnessstudio.com which has info about how to join the free 101 class (which I highly recommend).
When everyone had grabbed a chair and the room was set and people were seated, Lisa sauntered to the center and embodied her darkness. She shined a light on it, gave a voice to it, and cared for it; the shadowy parts we deny, push away. In her sharing, we felt our own shame and how it was somehow also beautiful. Lisa's story was an exercise in owning all parts of us; bringing us closer to liberation.
Bart bravely shared his first story. We were there with him as he stood at the door feeling conflicted about his actions. Through his telling and re-framing, we realized that, perhaps this time he is the man on the other side asking for help.
Deborah shared her writing from the Reclaiming The Sacred Cunt Project which became a catalyst for us to practice using that very charged word throughout the night. Another example of the relationship between the sacred and profane. A reminder of how powerful it is to chose our words with intention and in service of a higher purpose.
Dana reminded us that “hurt people hurt people…” and asked for support as she goes into the world to help women understand their trauma with her non-profit Total Woman Empowerment.
Fonta spoke about the complicated nature of her experience as a prison volunteer with the prisoners who publish the San Quentin News. Learn more about the work she does every day to help people communicate.
Green showed up exactly where she was, played with sound, and graced us with an experience only she could have created. Check out the October and November vocal improv classes she'll be teaching with her vocal partner Shay. (Shay will be sharing a story this month at the September 26th STORY.)
Triggered by images from her past, Darcy spoke to the feminine landscape and how external reflection can shape our identity. She continues to evolve as she closes her store on Cortland and instead curates best sellers on the Heartfelt website (check out that pic Mark took!). The online shop is filled with her spirit so you never have to wait to experience her magic; each item's description is a mini-Darcy-story!
Kathie reminded us that we should never look at someone and assume her experience. She was brave enough to stand up and describe her recent dance with depression in hopes that others wouldn't feel so alone.
Michael shared his third story, which was a leap in a new direction. This month he shared an excerpt from his graphic novel, spiriting us off to another land which, in many ways, as the characters struggled and rose up, felt like a reflection of our own.
Thanks to you all for telling stories only you are able to tell.
Looking forward to more collaborative connection at the next STORY on September 26th and each month thereafter, as we move together toward the future, learning from the previous moment and evolving with each next step.