The Death of Story Telling

Do you remember when phones were attached to the wall?  When they had cords that reached from room to room? And when the phone was eventually hung up, the cord would entwine and fold over on itself in unrecognizable patterns that could only be undone but holding the phone upside down and letting it untwist itself?

Do you know what it’s like when someone is telling you a really really good story?  And you are riveted…hanging on their words, the pictures they create in your mind.  And then you have to pee.  And you push that urge to the deep recesses of cognition and instead opt to stay in the land of the story teller.

Nothing could stop you from hearing it’s conclusion.  Or at least get to a part of the story where you can take a break without interrupting the natural flow and cadence of the story.

Remember how you used to be on the phone for hours with your friends….this story and that story…winding through the house…cupping the receiver with your hand to whisper the naughty bits?

And then what happened?

What happened is that someone was trying to call your parents.  And you were tying up the phone line.  And impatient adults decided they needed to break in on conversations so adults could get through when they wanted to.

And then what happened?

The death of story telling.  That’s what happened.

Call Waiting happened.

Now…you are in the heat, the core, the climax of your story…and about to lay it all out…..all your neurons are firing, you can taste the memory of the event in your mouth, the rhythm is undeniable, and the heat…scorching.

Beep.

You open your mouth to lay out the height of your action but hear an untimely inhale on the other end of the phone followed by, “Wait, hold that thought…let me get rid of this person.”

You have got to be fucking kidding me.

expletive! expletive! expletive!

Three things.

-They will go away on their own.  In fact, they will leave a message which will fill you in on the reason for their call in perfect detail.  Unlike pre-call waiting when they just had to keep trying back…you aren’t going to lose any messages by not clicking over.

-When you are in person with someone and you have to pee so badly your eyes might turn yellow….you still wait until an appropriate point in the story to say…”Wait, this is a perfect place for me to use the restroom…hold that thought!”  You don’t let the fateful “beep” decide an arbitrary break in the story.

-Unless someone is in need of medical attention, are using their one phone call to be bailed out of jail, or are stranded somewhere and need help…(And other obvious emergencies….) is it REALLY necessary to completely break out of your current conversation…leave for 30 seconds or more and then return?  Do you really think the storyteller can hold the same space in their story with the same excitement and conviction as before the untimely interruption?

I am a story teller.  It’s in my genes.  It’s in my bones.  It just happens like nature.  And I build my stories to unfold like a flower.  I build my thoughts like a painting…layer by layer.  And like every other culture…know we have passed information  through stories since the beginning of time.  There were no books…there were storytellers.  And cave painters I guess…

Worlds most famous story begins…. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.”  One guess what story that comes from.

Story can’t die.  It’s in our blood lines. All of them.  And story should be given some sort of place on a special shelf.  It should be revered.  It’s a dying art.  It should be recognized like it’s on an extinction list….and work should be made to maintain stories sacredness.  *I think that’s why we love TED talks…like this one…which is a story that can change the world.

I am at fault.  I use call waiting to get off the phone with people who I’d rather not be talking to at times.  It’s true.  And if it’s business hours and I’m on a personal call and a patient or potential patient is ringing through, you better damn bet I take the call.  But when I’m in relationship with someone…we are relating…and that freaking beep happens on my personal time…I ignore it.  I always have.

Maybe I’m old fashioned.  I love those drinks.  But I would love it if you paid just a little attention to the timing of when you flip over.  Think about the other person you are in “relationship” with at that moment.

Think about the story.

Always think about the story.

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Sometimes A Story Is Just That.

Sometimes a story is just that.

Sometimes a story becomes like a vine, choking the very life out of you until you have to make a choice.  The vine or your actual life.

Sometimes, actual life is really hard to look at.  And adding a little sugar definitely makes the medicine go down.  But too much sugar and your sweet little song and dance becomes the cage that restricts all movement.

And then sometimes, growth peeks it’s little silvery head out of nowhere and gently nudges (read forces) you to step in a different direction.  And not just a little to the left.  It suggests you pick a different galaxy to hang out in.

Sometimes, we need to remember where our stories end.  And our life begins.

Sometime people use story to keep themselves in check.  They align themselves with a certain way of being, and dedicate themselves to the pursuit of that path. And if that makes them happy and allows them a creative spirit…then that vine seems to have learned a co-creative pattern of existence. It must be one of those advanced beings.

But recently, I woke up from a story I put in place probably close to 40 years ago.  Or maybe it was one of those other lives I’ve lived that tangled inter-dimensionally with this life and left some baggage on my doorstep I had been tripping over for years.

How ever I got it…I woke up as if from a dream to see a story.  And then my life.  And then the story.  And then my life.  And i had this one opportunity to step out from behind the castle and see I was standing in the sun.  A pasture actually.  No house around.  No one around.  Just me and the connection with the Earth.  Just me and my breath.  Just me.  Wide open.

If I changed my gaze I could see the story I just stepped out of  in all it’s fine details.  Mapped and plotted and twisted and turned like that vine that chokes the life out of whatever it’s wrapped around.

But I blinked and saw this space outside of the story.  Free of clutter.  Free of expectation.  Free of judgement.  And I did something crazy.

I took a step.

From where I was standing in this new reality, it seemed so easy.  It was if I could reach out and be connected with everything around me.

But when I changed my gaze to the story I left, I saw such chaos.  Destruction.  Hurt.  Sadness.  Loneliness.  And I felt it too.  Tugging at the very core of me.

I had to struggle to turn my gaze back to my new space of openness.  Feeling the connection with everything new there.

Forcing myself to let go of what I know in my bones no longer serves me.  And I took another step.

The other story was calling me, trying to usher me back into the castle. To close the doors and pretend someone else’s song was mine.  It felt me leaving, un-twine-ing.

The other story started cleaning and clearing, trying to make itself more like the dream I had been craving…but I knew it was as subtle as smoke.  I knew it was illusory.  I knew if I came back it would  drain me.

Every morning I wake up and breathe.  I ask myself if all parts of me are present and accounted for.  I search my mind for defectors.  There have been some.  I sit them down and remind them of that feeling of connection.  That feeling of possibility that arises from reality.  I wrap my arms around them and let them know that I am here.  That I’m not leaving again.  That I will watch with constant vigilance to make sure that breath is easy.  That laughter fills our soul.  That song plays in our ears.  That sunshine penetrates with a healing vibration.  That connection is honest.  That the future is unknowable.

She cries when I remind her that.

The fear almost has an odor to it.

She digs into the memory of the vine and pulls out images of thoughts and feelings and I hold her closer.

I let it pass in the most organic way.

Teaching her with patience how community becomes a blanket for the soul.

A warm home.

A safe haven.

I can’t say all the defectors are fully on board with this new plan.  But I am willing to hold space for the full union of my thoughts.  I am willing to believe that I can be unburdened from the past.  That I can be made whole in myself.  That I explode in fullness in the present.  And I most of all believe that it’s going to be ok.

It’s hard work exploring all these rooms in my castle.  It’s hard work when I have spent a life time making plans and dreams.  It’s hard work when I see those same plans and dreams were built over corrosion to mask the truth. That I wasn’t ready to deal with that brokenness…but I’m finding out that now I am.  I’m discovering I’m worth it.  And that may be the best gift I’ve ever received.

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