Anam Chara - Telling Your Story

We as human beings travelled in small bands for hundreds of thousands of years.

Some of our group during the day went hunting for food. In the shelter of the cave, sitting or lying around the fire we told our stories. Maybe before speech we enacted our stories. The stories we told were of courage, endeavour and of feeling afraid. We bands of humans were brought together in these acts of story telling.

I love storytelling.

Where I live there is a Green Festival. Included in this festival are evenings of traditional storytelling. It is interesting to partake of these intimate events. Today, however, storytelling remains a fringe event. Once, not so long ago, it was something most every one could do. Now, rather than tell our own stories we are left to listen to the stories of others.

Stories come down to us through all times and all cultures. Religion tells the stories of the prophets. Mythology tells the story of the human psyche. Archaeology tells the story of our home, community buildings and much much more.

In the 21st Century the dull and the ignorant will not be given the time to be listened to.

This is true of the increasing underclass. It is interesting to note that people who do not have a voice in our society tattoo or paint their bodies. It is a way of voicing their identity. This is particularly true of young people who fall foul of the law. The system takes away not only their liberty but also their voice.

They become dull and ignorant because they have no purpose. They have not been taught what it is to have a purpose in life. They are forgotten and their lives become a wasteland. Their story is never heard. It is often founded in violence, abuse or mental illness.

It takes courage to listen to the dull and the ignorant. It takes immense patience. Yet it is not fair to listen to the story of others if you are not prepared to tell and live your own story. This is not only the story of your life to date but what your story will become.

Once you focus on what your life will become then in following your vision you allow others to tell their story. You give them permission to speak their truth quietly and clearly. This is one of the greatest permissions you can give. Not only will you allow your story to be heard but by doing so you validate hearing the story of others.

Many of you go through your lives never once remembering what it feels like to have been heard. I have set before people who have thanked me profusely. They have wept. They will say that they feel heard. It is such a wondrous and privileged position to be in when another opens the storybook of their heart.

I have often heard it said

"No wants to hear my story."

This I have rarely found to be true. Keeping your story to yourself deprives us all. You allow your heart to expand when you tell your story. Telling stories to groups allows the group heart to expand.

Playwrights, filmmakers, writers, poets, storytellers, puppeteers are all telling stories. We all share in this experience when we attend at theatre, opera, folk club or cinema. Imagine a dinner party without people sharing their stories. Gossip is story.

When women engage in storytelling they tell about themselves. Men are more guarded. They tend to tell a story for other motives. They are interested in how such a story will reflect on their status.

Men will tell stories in the form of jokes or about others. Their stories are often about sport or things they own or do. Often the story of their hearts desire is not spoken. If it is then this is only in the intimacy of the bedroom, if at all.

This is another reason why, I think, men are more prone to heart attacks. They do not allow the heart's story to be told. The flow of heart energy is blocked and arteries harden. This is a physical response to and unspoken emotional dynamic.

Many people want to tell their story but end up never doing so.

A high percentage of you want to write a book. You may not be sure how you are going to do this but it remains a dream. Many of you keep a diary. However, for most of you it is only ever full of fats.

It does not contain your hearts secrets.

Relationship can be on of the greatest joys in living.

Authentic relationship is always a joy. You relate to the other through the stories you tell each other. The deeper the relationships the more emotionally charged are the stories you share. You gauge your level of friendship based on the depth of your telling.

You all want to be known.

You all want to be heard. Your stories about your lives are how you become known and how others become your friends. So many of you have low self esteem. You think your story is not worth telling. You feel unworthy of telling the story of your heart

This is often true of the relationship of son's to fathers.

In my fathers generation it was the man's duty to be the breadwinner. The mother stayed at home and looked after the children. Outside of these roles there was no other. I cannot ever say I knew my father and for a long time it left a hole in my soul.

Your family story is one that helps create who you are. Often this story is so horrific that you have to learn to re-create a more functional one. This is often part of the healing process.

In "making your life matter" you need to be prepared to tell your full story warts and all. Society does not encourage you to do this. It is only too happy to fill you up with the stories of others. This is reflected in your modern obsession with talk radio, docusoaps, big brother and all the rest of the stories that you feed off.

Telling your own story is also future based.

It is related to the dreams you have, the fantasies only you know and the flights of imagination you curb. Telling your story is not only about saying the words but feeling the feelings connected to this story.

This is the difference between someone who engages you and someone who simply tells you a series of facts. I get letters from some colleagues who I once knew and it is simply a catalogue of facts. It is like reading a to do list of what they have done. I feel a loss when I read these letters. I do not feel connected to them across the miles.

You feel engaged with the other when they tell you about their feeling experiences. This is what intimacy is. It is a sharing of a feeling relationship.

Tony Cuckson is an Anam Cara. This Celtic term means "Soul Friend." He specializes in providing insight for the spiritual journey, Blessings for YOU, words of wisdom and finding inner peace. Visitors to Irish Blessings Matter website and Tony's Blog get the opportunity to develop a purpose driven life through articles, newsletters and other programs.

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