Forward Friday: Practice
Recently, we’ve been talking about becoming listeners and storytellers. Striking the balance between listening to others’ stories and sharing our own can be difficult. We all go through seasons where we are better listeners or better storytellers. The more gently we swing back and forth between listening and sharing, the closer we come to landing in the middle.
This Forward Friday is short and simple.
1. Tell the story inside you. Maybe it’s an embarrassing moment. Maybe it’s that cute thing your kid said or your cat did. Maybe it’s a secret that’s been weighing on you. Whatever it is, make it honest and vulnerable. Make it an invitation for a friend to join you in the sacred space you create with your words.
2. Listen to your friend’s story. Listen deeply, without judgment of any kind. Listen well, reflecting what you hear. Honor your friend’s honesty and vulnerability in return.
3. Notice where God shows up in the stories you share. Share the sacred space together.
As always, the comment box is open.
Listeners who Shape the Story
Storytelling was my favorite class in seminary. Out of all the classes I took, it was the one that scared me the most, stretched me the most, and inspired me the most. In Storytelling, I discovered part of myself that I had never recognized or acknowledged before. I found an untapped courage and an unheard voice. In learning to the art of storytelling, I began to discover the truth underneath my own.
Telling our stories is powerful work. Here at Holistic Body Theology, I write a lot about my own story. I bare little bits of my soul, take a deep breath, and hit “publish.” I share my story with you lovely readers because I hope that you will find something of yourself here, some bit of freedom or healing, some resonance or camaraderie or commiseration. If nothing else, it is therapeutic, part of my own journey toward self-awareness, healing, and wholeness. I write the truth not just to share it with all of you but to keep the revelation fresh and conscious. And I will keep on writing the truth until I convince myself.
But this blog is not just a platform for my own story. It is also a forum for the sharing of all of our stories. As I am finding my voice and learning to use it, I am also feeling a deep call to find my ears and learn to use them. I am learning to be a listener.
Story-telling needs to be unhurried and unharried, so the listener must be willing to let the narrative unfold….Storytelling is also a dialogue, and sometimes the [listener] must become active in helping shape the story. – Margaret Guenther, Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction
I have been becoming a listener for a long time, listening to the stories of others and joining them with my own as we shape together the unfolding story of God in our lives. In a world crowded with words and noise and advertisements and cultural mandates and every message from everywhere demanding attention and primacy and response, the call to the contemplative life is something like a rising wind, blowing across the desert dunes with such force and persistence that the shape of the terrain is completely rearranged and made new. Suddenly the lay of the land looks different, unfamiliar. The path we have taken is wiped away. We can’t go back the way we came. We can only continue onward.
I want to listen to your stories, dear readers. As I share with you the journey I am on, I hope you will join me on the way and help me shape the story we are all in. The comment box is always open. For sensitive stories, I am always available by private Facebook message or email at bodytheologyblog at gmail dot com. I am honored each time I hear from you, my dear companions on this journey. We are all exploring this intersection of mind-body-spirit we call the human life. We are all moving toward healing and wholeness together.
I am both listener and storyteller.
I am both silent and engaging in dialogue.
I am both resting and moving forward.
I am both broken and becoming whole.
Holistic Body Theology is the art of balancing and honoring the mind-body-spirit connection that makes us who we are: human beings created in the image of God. That is a story worth telling!