Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Storytelling As A Path To Peace

A Study Report

Tell me about this and tell me about that. I will hear you and I will see you with these eyes of mine that have learned to see into the world that goes beyond the ordinary. (Technically only one eye of mine can totally see the physical world. Can that fact and the one about my having been blind for five years (1998 –2003) be playing its part in the stories you share and I hear?)

Overcoming differences is what fosters
the greatness of our nation. Telling our
stories helps us do this.
“Hello, this is Anastasia. Thank you so much for the generosity of your time and your willingness to participate in New Horizons’ Possible Human, Possible Society Study. You can read details about the study on our blog. Now that we have settled in for our phone interview, there are ten rather simple questions I will ask you to begin the process. They are basically yes or no answers. However, you can feel free to tell me more than just the black and the white. For the purposes of the study I want to know about the grey areas in between. Please feel free to share that too.”

So we begin. Before too long, you are telling me stories to illustrate your answers to my questions. Next you are telling me that which sounds as if it has been stored up, waiting for someone to simply ask the right questions. Apparently I am able to do that. And, you honor me by releasing to my listening ears that bottled up genie inside of you, wanting to speak your truth about today’s socio-political climate in America. I ask and you explicate why it is that the polarization of our national politics, the economic depravity of this country, the wars in the Middle East and the devastating decisions that our politicians have made, is so personally upsetting. This is your life and what matters most to you for yourself and those you love the most.

When I reflect upon our interview, I am moved. I am changed and the alteration of my consciousness that you have effected is far more than just a subtle nuance. You are almost every man and every woman I have interviewed thus far. And, I am called to realize that your stories – and the you that you have become – are part of our national treasure chest. The stories you tell me need to be told. They tap into the very heart of personal perspectives behind being upset with America today in this momentous 2012 election year where cultural upheaval seems to be at its peak. They are the stories that generally are masked by complaining and othering. But what I am hearing beyond this is profound as well as moving.

In the now-famous words of the Twelve Step programs; trite as they may sound, “Thank you for sharing.” You have freely given of yourself and some of the principles of living that you have meticulously carved out for yourself; your own unique paradigm. Crafted just so. Each piece in its place. Set by the master crafter of your heart and your mind.

My interview assistants tell me that most of you are finding study participation to be “thought provoking, interesting and even fun.” Most amazing to me, however, are the reports I am now getting that some of you are even calling it “magical.” Whatever can be going on here to merit that accolade?

Perhaps it is simply that Anastasia The Storyteller has now learned how to invite out the storyteller in you; your stories that must be told, if reason is to remain in the insanity now surrounding us. Stories of personal dreams and concerns. The tales which we will, collectively, leave behind for the next generations. Stories that depict the logic and the passion that has and can, again, make America great. Your stories tell of a new kind of pioneer spirit, a pioneering of the heart and the mind of twenty-first century U.S.A., striving for expression in all that you are and do.

Interestingly, one of the most uplifting things that you show me is that the greatness*(see note below on greatness) that I am privy to, reflected by your choosing that rather than accept the quagmire our leaders are creating, you are searching in heart and mind to keep doing your best in spite of them. It looks to me as if the people are taking back their rights and responsibilities. What to do? What to do? At the bare minimum in a land of freedom of speech, we know to, at least, keep talking.

So we are Possible Humans striving to make a Possible Society.

*Note on the subject of greatness. Since I first saw it quoted, I have loved and been reminded to be humble by these words. "We like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants can see more and further, not because we are keener and taller, but because of the greatness by which we are carried and exalted." Bernard de Chartres (1100) and later similarly Isaac Newton.

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