Tell Me A Story

story2My mind has been severely cluttered with a gazillion things during the past several days. And it seems like they have continued to swarm and intermingle like the hummingbirds and bees, and the birds and chipmunks all clamoring for space at the feeders outside my window. And just like those creatures, the thoughts are having trouble co-existing smoothly and peacefully.

Then yesterday afternoon a wave of emotion came over me heavily and brought me to tears. It hasn’t gone away. One thought and phrase spoken this morning, and it’s all back. And there’s maybe a little clarity to the swarming.

I am the most unpolitical person I know. I am the most emotional person I know. Perhaps that’s just because I know myself better than anyone else. Maybe.

I read, watch or listen to the news very infrequently. Sometimes I feel guilty, like I’m not very educated or up on things and should be more aware and concerned. And certainly everywhere I turn people are talking about, posting about and going on and on about all kinds of things. Honestly, when I first heard “Charlottesville” I had no idea what they were talking about (I know, that’s pretty bad, right?!). So I try to at least catch headlines. Over the past week plus, I have read articles, posts, blogs, comments…ad nauseam. One led to another and another, and I found myself engulfed. Now I think I know where the swarm and emotion came from.

I do not want to be ignorant and oblivious. And I do not want to be overcome with saturation and confusion. So what do I spend time on? How do I balance? How do I stay aware and informed without tipping into obsession and adding to the crusading? Or should I obsess and crusade?

That could take me into a whole other path…why would I think I know enough to crusade about anything? Why would my thoughts or beliefs hold any weight? Why would I want to add to the volumes of opinions and attitudes? You know, that line of thinking.

During all my reading, I came across several blogs to follow, and my thinking is being challenged. There were a few that particularly stood out.

Along with the blogs, I came across Brené Brown’s facebook live on Charlottesville (We need to keep talking about Charlottesville). There were a number of things she said that pulled at me, which is why I feel it’s worth referring the link…watch it for yourself and do with it what you will.

For me, her comments on the 3 P’s, Privilege, Perspective Taking and Power, truly caused me to go inside. What is my “privilege” and “lens” and how has it created my way of thinking and doing?

“We are actually wired to not hurt each other.” Wow! Have you ever really thought of it that way? The first thing that came to my mind when she (Brené) said that was about how I believe we were truly created and why. The person who was the best example ever of love was Jesus, and He called us to love others (for you Bible-believers out there, that’s biblical; for you who aren’t Bible-believers, that’s still biblical). Yet, while we we’re wired to not hurt (aka love), there’s still a need to confront and hold accountable (Jesus did, by the way).

Which brings me to the next thing Brené talked about that resonated.

“We need to call it what it is.”

“Use the words.”

“We need to use the language that most accurately reflects what we are experiencing.”

“Political correctness has been used as a weapon as much as for inclusiveness.”

All referring to how we need to figure out what we can do differently. Work around privilege, perspective taking and power to believe people’s stories and experiences.

Stories. That brings me to the next thing that impacted me.

“Just because is doesn’t happen to you doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem for someone else. That’s what privilege is.” (from America: A True Story About Hatred and Unity by Avery K Tingle)

I read through several of Avery’s blog posts. I am again challenged.

Stories. And then I saw this:

“I’m reminded how much I love and value the Story someone tells about their own life, and how possible it is that two people can share similar lives and come out with quite different ways of telling their Stories.

I’m also reaffirmed in my conviction that no one gets to tell someone else’s story FOR them, nor do we get to tell someone that they way they experienced their Story is wrong. If you want to tell a disagreeing story, tell your OWN Story, don’t tear down someone else’s.

How about you? What have you been reading recently? Have you experienced a Story that was invalidated by someone else, or have you found yourself wanting to invalidate the Story of someone whose experience was different than yours?” (Tessi, in her Facebook group The Barefoot Journey, August 6)

Stories. The list could go on (another one… The Wrong Kind of Peace: Addressing Deceptively Peaceful Responses to Charlottesville by Noah Buchholz).

Stories. And they’re not all about Charlottesville. Or Barcelona. They’re about you…and me.

I have been doing a lot of personal work around story. So it’s interesting to me that all this has been going on in the forefront, and I am amazed at how many authors and blogs I now see referring specifically to “stories.” What is life, but a story.

So what’s this about emotion? The heavy wave of emotion that came yesterday was, I believe, related to a couple of things. Definitely, it was compounded by the swarming and intermingling thoughts. I’m continuing to learn and experience the amazing complexity of how we are created. My thoughts and emotions cannot be separated. Not really. Sometimes they feed off each other. But they definitely both have an important role. Living in just one or the other can be safe and healthy at times, but staying in one or the other indefinitely is always unhealthy. And so, I continue to sort through the thoughts and emotions that brought me to the weightiness yesterday. It’s more of my story. Some of it is another blog post for another day.

Stories. Bigger pictures.There’s always more. Until we’re dead, our stories continue to be written, with new paragraphs and pages added every day. And they’re kind of like those books you can read differently each time…the paragraphs and pages added depend on our thoughts, emotions, actions (privilege and lens maybe?). But one thing is certain, the story is there. Whether I’m unpolitical, emotional, or whatever I am or am not, my story matters. So does yours. And together our stories make up the world in which we live.

What story am I writing? More accurately, what story am I living in? Do I continue learning to listen to the story of others? To do a better job of “perspective taking?” How is my story being affected, and by what? How am I affecting the story of others? Positively, or not? How can this change my world, and yours?story

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