Finding the still point - Storytelling in times of trouble
Years ago I heard a story from a mother, who together with her five-year-old son went shopping just before Christmas. At the entrance to one shop, they saw a group of kids, ecstatically punching down a ‘Father Christmas’ figure, inflated by a hidden ground-level air pump. The kids delighted in watching how after each blow, Father Christmas kept bouncing back to his upright position.
‘How does he do this? How can he keep bouncing back time after time?’ the mother asked her son.
The boy answered: ‘Of course he can! He is Father Christmas and he is standing upright from the inside.’
I often find myself going back to the hidden wisdom of this child’s answer when I think about ways of cultivating resilience, inner sovereignty, wholeness, and healing.
2021 has been a challenging year for me. Facing the many uncertainties often made me search for ways to better practice connecting with that part of me that can remain courageous, free, creatively innovative, loving, and upright even when the mighty storms outside forced me to yield to their powerful and sometimes painful movements.
I feel deep reverence and gratitude for surviving the trials of this year, again thanks to the strengthening and medicinal path offered by the discipline of storytelling.
In my view, storytelling offers us the perfect practice of ‘standing from the inside’ - the secret perineal wisdom known mostly by sages such as Santa and perhaps some storytellers of a certain school…
In my own practice as a storyteller, when I begin telling any story, I aspire to connect with my quiet centre, my core witnessing awareness which I call ‘home’. It is a place with no stories, beyond words, timeless, where there is no noise and little movement. It is still yet it is very awake and alive…like the potent and silent eye of a hurricane. This is the still point from which I can consciously embark on a wild ride on any story storm.
After finding my footing and growing deep roots so that I can stand firm in this ‘home’ space, like a golden pillar of presence, I tether with my imagination a more elastic part of my presence to this pillar. This flexible part of me can be stretched, like an unbreakable elastic band to the periphery where the timely whirlwind of the dramatic tensions of the unfolding story live. It is there that I speak for all the characters with their own (sometimes emotional) voices, and where all the other opposites, twists and turns in the story take place. I serve the story and participate in the drama of the periphery whilst keeping the connection to my golden pillar at the centre of all things and remembering that I can bounce back to my upright witness self as and whenever needed.
This agility and movement between the timeless and the timely, the soul swinging between feeling - participating in the action and then resting in pure witnessing, is a health-bestowing activity. It helps me (and with the support of ‘mirror’ neurones my listeners too), have an experience and then ‘shake it off’ shedding any unhelpful, strong, and sometimes sticky emotions, or characters - demonstrating through embodying how we can practice coming out of unhelpful stagnation back to movment, cleanse the palette and return quickly to the healthy, well-balanced, authentic seat of the sovereign self, the witness narrator, the place of regulated wellness, co-creation, reassuring presence and authentic expression.
This playful and profound practice of ‘Story-Soul Juggling’ goes well beyond storytelling and into life! Connecting with this place of inner sovereignty, calm and freedom is essential for writing the healthy future chapters we wish for in the story we are living.
As we enter the year 2022 we may continue to feel pushed and pulled between the vaxxed and the vexed, the flexed and the perplexed, BUT we are all invited to practice ‘standing upright from the inside’. Good stories remind us it is possible for us to rekindle the healthy sense of wellness within ourselves, find and feed our own meaningful ways to thrive, love life, share and invest in our local nature and community. Our wellbeing and core health must not be abused or traded as simply another opportunity for profit and power.
Behind the current crisis I hear a deeper calling to lead a healthy, meaningful and happy life through fine-tuning our body, mind, and ‘social organs’.
I wish us all a very happy creative 2022 and the remembering that like Santa, we can stand healthy, strong, and upright - from the inside!
It is my intention, hope and wish to continue honing and developing this much needed flexible agility and resilience for the benefit of this world through some brand new and some old favourite storytelling courses and adventures in 2022. I invite you to join me!
To read more musings from Roi visit : www.roigalor.com/musings-1