Monday, May 11, 2015

Healing through Storytelling

I went to the Healing thru Writing Workshop: An evening with Elizabeth Alexander presented by The California Endowment.

I didn't make it to the full event and naturally, as this is one of the precious moments when the kids are with grandma I wanted to get the most out of the night. I walked in and found a seat just as the Q&A began. After listening to questions, I realized I had a question. I raised my hand. The person with the mic came over and placed the mic in front of me, everyone in the room turning in my direction as I begin to utter words, “Hello, I am Sara. My question is about…”

I feel myself pause.
I feel the stories inside of me waiting for my permission to be expressed. As more eyes turn in my direction, I contain these stories and continue, “When it gets hard to write. When there is more than one story that you know you want to share because you know it is healing and empowering to create a space for more people to share. But it’s so hard to write because it’s hard to go there and there is a lot of untangling to do. How do you get yourself to write these stories?”

And in my emotional fullness from even asking the question, I hear her say,
“Stories live in our bodies. Crying it out helps but you have to move yourself through it because you can get stuck there.”
I hadn't realized how these stories had a physical nature to them. But they do. I know this because I feel them affect my body as I become aware of the stories. And even as I ignore these stories they show up as pains or discomfort in my body. Being aware of where these stories are stored assisted me in releasing them. It felt easier to write freely in poetry, in vague terms at first. And I think that’s a good start. 



Whatever your story is and if you don’t feel safe yet to share, like me, I encourage you to seek ways to begin to release the story from your body with intention and gentleness. I began to instruct myself to release and I found that it was a helpful starter. Check it out:

Pull your stories out of your body
And write
Write that story to release it
Unearth those pains
Unearth the joys
Unearth the pleasure
Unearth the tears
Purge your story
Compost the ugly feelings
With delightful adjectives
Retell that story like a novel
Retell it like an action story
Retell that story how you felt it
With the ending you would have wanted
With the beginning you wish you had
Pull it out of your head
Cry it out of your eyes
Pluck it out of your face
Stomp it out of your feet
Birth it out of your womb
There’s no wrong way to tell a story
There’s no right way to write
Not when you are writing to free yourself
Not when your spirit needs you to honor your truth
Not when you need to let it go
Your story is here for you to
Always with you
Housed in your temple
Asking for your permission to be released
Anytime anyone asks, “Are you ok?”
Your story is there 
Waiting for you to begin to tell it
Awaiting your permission
And sometimes it doesn’t
Sometimes your story comes thru
Without any warning
Flooding tears
Heavy breaths
Gleeful smiles
Rolling eyes
Your story is in your body
And wants to exist outside of you
Someone where it can move
Inspire
Heal
Transform
And help you grow
Your story is present with you
Free yourself from stories of the past
Stories of wounded hearts
Stories of defeat
Stories of rage
Stories of cycles yet to be broken

Create a new story
A narrative that calls in your
Beauty
Strength
And intellectual prowess
Create a new story by shifting those old stories
Create a new story by living the life you want to live
Create that story every day the way you want it
Create stories you want to keep in your body
That won’t hurt you in your solitude
Create a story you are proud to tell
Make that story
Share that story
Give it life with words
Give it meaning with metaphors
Give it rhythm with alliteration
Write that story
Write and live every day
With imagination
With Love