Prior to that time (July – December), I believed I was eagerly joining in and contributing something meaningful to the talk of the day; something that might make a difference, even a sliver of one. I really wanted to do that! Then I got stuck.
|Abkhazian Elder, Murat Yagan, showed many of us |
that "Wherever two or more are gathered,"
informal conversations can become
healing medicine for systemic change.
Speaking and writing began to feel as if I were throwing words at people and them doing the same back at me. All around me began to feel like one big, noisy crowd; everyone that was talking blaring out as many words as they could at anyone else who would listen.
After my few forays into it (July – December), I felt as if I was, part and parcel, of a faceless, reactionary mass; opinions everywhere about politicians, scandals and the rest of the “what not” that passes for day-to-day news. What point was there in joining the near-ceaseless rhetoric, threatening to pack cyberspace on a daily basis? What value offering up more words, as if more could make a difference, and create change by the end of a given work day? Why bother? It was all so predictable. Soon it simply became a bore; news that was not really about life in motion. Rather, better stated, merely a commotion.
Simultaneously, I was discovering the joy of doing interviews for the Possible Human, Possible Society Study. Initially, I anticipated the study as merely being a data gathering project. It was, nonetheless, intended that the study would, at least, identify a few meaningful conclusions regarding current social change and allow New Horizons to offer whatever it could to needed remedies.
Soon, however, the real deal surfaced; study interviews were inviting storytelling, mostly that of the interviewees, yet with ample room for some stories of my own. What a mitzvah (Yiddish for blessing)! Many of the central interview questions revolved around the same essential topics as the “noise;” current national affairs. But through stories I was being told and hearing much more; the deep, heartfelt significance beyond mere constituent complaints. I was becoming privy to stories that reflected the heart and soul of the well-thought out hopes and dreams of study participants.
What a magnificent surprise! Endeavoring to gather certain data via the study, (too complex to explicate here), I had found a portal to enter the realm of “awe” with study participants, perhaps only briefly, but awe no less. A chronicle was in the making through our study of contemporary American social change in certain select areas of concern. Wow!
Storytelling is one of the most vibrant of human life-affirming means for connecting with others. Here I am, “Anastasia The Storyteller,” learning anew the power of storytelling. Wow, again! I am so grateful that our Possible Human, Possible Society Study is giving this treasure to me and others (along with its data collecting). Now I am, also, eagerly looking forward to our coming event, the Abkhazian Dinner, March 25, that will invite out more of the same; storytelling, from me, from my co-presenter, Mayor Deborah Burgoyne of Burkittsville, Maryland, study participants and our local community. All in the service of building community-unity.
(Yes, Burkittsville, Maryland is the home of the "Blair Witch Project." Has that anything at all to do with community-unity building, 2012? Most likely not, still there’s a good story for you.)
Storytelling! Storytelling! Through storytelling I believe, I am beginning to find new ways to share words with others that can bypass the dumb stuff (for me). I don’t like it at all when words (mine or anyone else’s) just add more noise and make little or no difference at all.
Since I am just learning and so much is unfolding, rapidly, day-by-day, I invite you to become a reader of the other blog that I write so you can be informed of what’s happening there, even if I cannot say much here. These two blog sites actually are companions, if you have not yet figured that out. "Anastasia The Storyteller" offers stories that are the behind-the-scenes stuff of New Horizons. "New Horizons/Small “Zones of Peace” is generally about what’s happening out front.