Saturday, January 8, 2011

Storytelling As A Path To Peace

I felt emotionally drained and vulnerable after I had written and posted my last blog.

I had publicly acknowledged parts of myself that seemed risky to make known. And, I wasn’t exactly sure I liked what I had done.

I had publicly confessed to traveling back and forth between two worlds; the physical and the spiritual. Not just on an occasional Sunday visitation or as a focus of my High Holidays.

I had put myself out on a limb. And, I was not quite certain how I liked that bare nakedness in public.

Once said (or in this case posted) I could not take it back. However, somehow, I did not experience myself, by virtue of this proclamation, as letting go of any one of the thousand masks I wear that are me.

I think the many months I have spent writing this blog, coupled with a multitude of behind-the-scenes conversations that ensued, regarding both the content and process of what I had put forth, has brought me to a point of public authenticity that I had lost by being blind.…

Perhaps I never had possessed this level of sincerity before at all. I had only imagined that I had.

Maybe I have made a choice by committing myself to doing this blog, far bolder that I had anticipated.

Strange, isn’t it to be a strong proponent of storytelling as a path to peace, and then find oneself caught up short in the process of storytelling?

One of my daughters, Lorrie -- (one of the half-dozen or so honorary kids I have) -- still loves for me to tell her stories though she is a grown adult woman – and – a mother herself. She even enjoys my reading her fairy tales from time to time. (I like it too when we do that.)

Up here in the mountains where I live (at the retreat center that is one major work in progress) my happiest times are storytelling times.

How is that the same or different than the storytelling I am doing on this blog?

Or, the storytelling we do in our primary Small “Zones of Peace” Conversations format?

I am not certain.

As I contemplate these questions, I am challengingly asking myself, How can I find the means here to tell the most important stories I have to offer as lessons in peace-building?

The stories that I have been struggling to write for posting here? Particularly the stories that prompted my writing this blog in the first place I have been struggling for months to tell these stories.

And, they still do not get told. I speak around them. But I never get to them.

Insight:  Maybe storytelling -- at least the way that I know to be profound for me -- the way I can best employ storytelling as a path to peace -- is not a performance that can be informative -- or entertaining -- in a blog kind of way.

Maybe real storytelling -- for me -- is an intimate experience and exchange of real people speaking to one another, face-to-face, in a space that has been made Safe.

It cannot be replicated on the internet. Not now or ever!

So until we are able to meet, person-to-person in real time, I guess I am stuck with my struggling to tell my very important tales -- with their meritorious peace-building lessons; my stories behind – “The Middle East Crisis In My Backyard;” “The Pastors, Two Ministries, One Church and My Experience of Awe;” the two maps to peace that are the bedrock of my life and my work. I do not see any easy alternatives.

Maybe there are none. Nonetheless, limited as the internet is -- what I have discovered for myself by telling my stories here is this:

1. After a bit more than six months writing this blog, I no longer feel like I am doing much wearing of masks – here or elsewhere.

2. I am much less a hermit now than I was when I was blind (and before when I was intent (1988 – 1988) on my almost ceaseless book deadlines) – and – I really do like the way this feels. And, I did come clean about my being a former anti-Semitic, recovering Jewish American Princess and I love the peace within myself and in the world I am experiencing around me because of it; and

3. I have learned a great deal from reminding myself of the words of Dore, the fish in “Finding Nemo,” – “Just keep swimming.”

So I hope my revelations here do not put me in too much hot water.

Storytelling as one of my paths to peace is working for me.

While, perhaps. you are out there are playing it safe?

With the thousand masks you wear? All of which are you.

Could this be true?

Limited as this internet is for real people, building real peace, in real time, I will do my best to keep my committment to "swimming," writing, hiking or whatever.

So far, so good. Storytelling is a path to peace for me.

From Anastasia, the Storyteller
In the mountains on a snowy January day

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