It seems like such an insignificant thing – to sit and be still until another Life has exhausted all that they have to share – and yet, it profoundly changes lives.
Women gathered in a small group, talking… and in that moment, shared a pact to be present and listen as one woman spoke the truth of who she had become. This was no small feat, as the agreement was that we would gather and share space; that we would be fully present, attentive and engaged; and that we would be there for whatever it took. We agreed that we would not interrupt, interfere, prod, poke, question, encourage, etc… we would just be there.
If it took 20 minutes, that’s what it took. If it took 6 hours, that’s what it took. And we would be there, fully present, for it all.
I remember years ago being part of a facilitated process with about 100 people. At one point, the lead facilitator left and a woman began to speak. About 20 minutes later, the lead facilitator left and the same woman was still speaking. The facilitator was outraged! How dare this woman take up all this time; and how dare the sitting facilitator allow this to happen! In a fit of affronted expertise, this same facilitator then asked the group, as a way of berating the sitting facilitator: ”How many of YOU would have allowed this to go on?!” In that group of 100, I was the only one who put up my hand. When asked why I would do such a thing, I answered: ”I believe that when she’s done, she’ll stop.”
Not rocket science. When we empty the vessel of who we are, we’re empty. In that moment, the space exists for more of who we can become to begin to pour in and fill the space. I have had the privilege to be witness to these Sacred Story tellings time and again. They have been as short as 10 minutes; and one went for 5 hours. Each is unique. And, when they are authentic and fully engaged – both from the place of the Storyteller and from those who have gathered in a circle to bear witness – they are profoundly powerful, life-transforming and a great and deep honour to be called to bear witness.
“With a MUCH clearer sense of who I have been since ’48 and how I’d been ‘leading’ (mostly NOT) my life, I feel much more connected to ME here-and-now. The ‘process’ of letting whatever comes out of my mouth to vibrate through me and hover in the air was pretty damn powerful! Well designed, Louise!
Massive movements continued on Saturday night and especially Sunday as more of the lies I’ve been living and random stuff that I was unwilling to see came into my awareness. Even this morning I was still feeling like my throat had been ravaged by a blowtorch, and the sensation of hot air coming out of my mouth made me feel dragonlike. (Not a great feeling, by the way.)
I feel a lot better (since) earlier this afternoon when … I sat down for a serious ‘talk’ (aka me pulling myself up to the table WITH my edges). I stated how much more connected and awake I am NOW and how I am going to stay that way; i was (untypically) frank about how I see ‘our past/recent years together’ today; and I was as clear as I could be about what I want going forward. And I’m very very aware that I’ve no idea where I’m heading AND I’ll be ok – because I’m going to remember who I am NOW and I’m going to choose ME. And this time ’round, I truly believe I will. This feels different, inside.
One woman’s life has profoundly changed… and no one did anything to her or for her or with her. She simply allowed herself to be fully present to the truth of her own experience and claimed the Sacred Space within which it flowed: herself. All that she touches will no longer be the same. The people she loves and engages will be awakened to her presence in a way unavailable before this moment. Her choices – and her future – are clearly in her own hands AND NOW, she can see that.
Women gathering in small groups, talking… is a Sacred Space within which we can reclaim the full measure of who we are. There is nothing to do but be present, be still and engage. In that moment, Life does what it knows best how to do: it awakens us to who we are capable of becoming and makes it possible for us to engage!