Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in heart forever.” – Native American Proverb
I attended a workshop about story telling sponsored by Spiritual Director’s International this past week in St. Paul, MN. The presenter and facilitator was Diane M. Millis. (Discover Diane at http://www.journeyconversations.org/who-we-are/project-partners/) Diane enabled us to dig into our own stories and discover how they impact our spirituality. I had been feeling for several weeks that I needed some retreat time and the Spirit provided.
I wish I could recreate what I experienced for all of you. I really enjoyed meeting other spiritual directors and spiritual companions from across the country and getting to know them. In addition, I couldn’t ask for a better traveling companion than Sister Marj. The hospitality of St. Catherine’s University of St. Paul was warm and generous. Our lodgings with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet were simple and cozy. And to top off the few days, I was able to reconnect with old friends who had relocated to the St. Paul area. All in all, it was a much needed reflection time, a blessing to meet new friends and reconnect with old ones.
What did I learn? How did I evolve from the experience? To be honest, I am still processing and playing with all of the ideas and images and the feelings. It has been some time that a workshop has fed my intellect and my heart. It was part graduate level class in that it was packed with research data and part retreat because the process invited us to dig under and into our own stories. I had anticipated more of a “how to” help those I companion with look at their stories and dig under them to experience the spirituality within them. Sometimes it is best to experience the process so we can appreciate how challenging that might be for those with whom we companion.
What did I learn? I learned that the spirituality of some of our stories are fogging but they continue to burn clear like light through the fog. When we revisit an old story and tell it a new way with new eyes and new vision it is redeemed and transformed. Rewriting my story in the third person or as a fairy tale helped me to see old stories with a bit more objectivity. I no longer attached my ego to the story as Truth but saw truths within it each story. By Grace, I saw my stories differently. By Grace, I flipped the script on a story or two. Where I was lost once in a story, by Grace, I was now found.
For your reflection: How might you rewrite you stories? What needs Grace? How will you invite Grace into your stories? Find a photograph or picture that speaks to a part of your story? What stories hold you? What stories do you hold? What stories reveal you being held?
(This blog is not intended to serve as individual spiritual direction. Spiritual direction or companioning is typically done in a face to face confidential setting. If you would like to explore one on one spiritual companioning or your faith community would like to experience group spiritual direction, please contact me. I would be more than happy to talk with you. In the meantime, my hope is that the photos and blog serve as a pause in your day, food for thought or just a reminder to breathe in and breathe out all that is holy and good. The Divine Milieu is all around us. Thank you all for your prayers and support.)