This blog is the public place where I explore relationships between my feelings and my thoughts and between others and myself/Self. My last blog was about the relationship between my husband, and, by extension, many other enthusiasts, and the game of American football. Why I feel the need to discover the relationships between my feelings and thoughts is directly related to one of this website’s purposes: Inviting visitors to learn about how including the body in our storytelling supports our healing desires and intentions.
Because I learned the importance of storytelling as a child and solidified the conviction of storytelling’s value as an impressionable teen, I have been “in relationship” with story’s gifts and challenges for seven decades. Not a day goes by that I do not seek the vital healing power of stories told by people I know as well as people I will never meet. I have this story-seeking impulse because of a seven-month caged quarantine when I was two, an isolating experience that left me without the sense of belonging everyone needs in order to thrive as confident and joyful creatures. I tell the story of my quest to heal from this experience in Once Upon a Body: Creating Meaning, Peace, and Joy after Early Trauma.
Ending the isolation that is the legacy of traumas early and late, common and uncommon, is the main purpose of this website and my work in the world. Learning through story that we are more like other people than different is the key to healing. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) are a storytelling means of body inclusion to dispel feelings of isolation by first compassionately reuniting an individual’s body/mind/heart/spirit and then connecting the individual with others’ experiences of isolation and suffering through empathy. The process of gentle and gradual individual healing supported by consistent use of EFT leads to important family and social reconnections and, ultimately, to a growing sense of belonging within the vast human and greater-than-human family.
Storytelling’s power is rare and growing rarer because we have created a culture that values scientific evidence – isolated pieces of information rather than complete stories – as the most important validator of knowledge. Our current funding of STEM courses – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – at the expense of what we call the Liberal Arts is happening at every level of formal education. Libraries are replaced by video arcades, human creativity by Artificial Intelligence bots, and the Arts by “practical” courses leading to technologically dependent jobs.
And yet we need both science and the arts as sources of knowledge if we are to navigate the world wisely and compassionately. Actual bridges constructed by engineers and mathematicians are vital, but so are the metaphoric bridges we learn from prose, dramas, poetry, and the “softer” sciences of sociology and anthropology. Without these metaphoric bridges, traumatic isolation becomes the norm, something we experience with horror as we read of yet another war crime, mass shooting, insult-driven political power-play, and environmental loss directly related to human, technologically-driven activity. Oil spills from ruptured pipelines and tankers are just one piece of grisly evidence proving our shrinking ability to imagine the harm we are doing to our Earth Home.
What’s the remedy? Read a story like this essay, one that emphasizes our connection to one another and our shared planet. Tell a story that makes you smile, makes you weep, makes you take courage. Find a story you want to share, or summon the courage to tell your own story, not as an accusation, proof of rightness, or statement of victimization, but as quest for meaning, for peace, for connection. When we are isolated by our physical challenges and emotional traumas, darkness falls; when we tell the story of our isolation in order to explore and share our suffering, the very act of telling illuminates our connections to others.
May we value the physical bridges as well as the storytelling bridges connecting us one to another. We need more and more light in these dark times. Our stories – when told with the intention to repair and to connect – hold light and spread light. When we hear and tell these stories, we hold and spread their light, making it our own.
If you can, take action to form or join a storytelling community. Visit a library to find a storytelling group formed to explore the experiences that have separated you from others. Join a Twelve-Step Group to connect with others who understand your personal experiences of isolation and suffering. Write a letter to the editor of a local paper to express your desire to find local communities of healing thought and action. And when words fail, dance to express your feelings and your thoughts. The body, the ultimate story authority on what connects and what isolates, will faithfully guide us into greater connection when we attend to our physical sensations of loss and yearnings for that sense of belonging lost to trauma. On the journey to connections with others, sing your woes and triumphs in the shower. Your expressions of sorrow and joy will renew your energies and support your growing feelings of well being.
Whatever we choose as our main source of storytelling and story-listening, we become involved in creating a different story, the story of belonging. And when we rediscover our sense of belonging, we participate in creating the shared story of maturing into a loving and responsible version of humankind. In this revised story, we care for our embodied selves, all our fellow creatures, and our planet.
Which ever part of this inclusive story we make our own, it will enliven our days and nights with the deep sense of belonging that makes our time on Earth the profoundest of gifts. May you discover this gift. May it bless you daily.
Until next time