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We All Live in a Story

We all live within the confines of Story. Story is formed from your particular life experiences - of how you are treated, how you are recieved, how you are helped and held. Story is formed by these things in the context of the communities, great and small, that you are a part of.

Our Story can make us both impenetrable and blind. Our Story can make us feel very vulnerable.

All of us live in Story - it carves our flesh into certain shapes.

We are made to believe that we must leave our Story and find that supreme, neutral ground of Truth. That we must give our Story over to Truth to be....what? Whole? Worthy? Healed?

This reveals the collective Story of independence, as if we are not all threads in a great web.

The pain and distress and confusion we so often feel is because we do not know we are in a Story nor that the great web is made up of trillions of stories. So we feel vulnerable about our Story, not knowing how to communicate where we live from for fear of being invalidated or shamed or manipulated or rejected.

This means we are also unpracticed in listening for the Story of another - listening with care and curiosity about how life has carved them, rather than listening for "truth" or accuracy or something we might deem valid.

The relational space that should exist between us then gets swallowed up by ideas of valid versus invalid, true versus untrue, healthy versus unhealthy. None of which makes wellness and peace possible.

Leading with a critical lens, i.e. listening for validity or truth versus care and curiosity, permeates our spaces together. The space of sharing then becomes a battleground, invisible and subtle in its threat, but threatening nonetheless.

So few of us have had the experience of genuine safety when we share the Story that has carved us that the listener must be very skillful and have a great and soft capacity to sit in the apprehensive charge we all necessarily carry from a lifetime of not being recieved, helped, and held in order to get past the spikes of defensive anticipation of being criticized, judged, labeled, or invalidated long before we feel understood.

We should listen first to understand. We should listen from a place of the fact of Story and not artificially impose concepts of Truth or validity into the space between us, especially not before we have some understanding and context for the shape someone has been carved into by their life.

Listening as a Decider of Validity or Deemer of Truth is not listening. And when we do this, that is to say, when we perform this cultural Story on one another, we bury ourselves and make the vulnerable intimacy of connection a space of a kind of violence, even as we believe ourselves to be caring.

Caring is not just a feeling. It must be coupled with skill that is anchored by curiosity and humility, or we absolutely normalize our isolation and make intimacy quite impossible.

It's a we thing. You don't do this by yourself. You don't "get over" your fear of intimacy. You work with another who is willing to work with you by making requests and agreements and asking questions and asking permission and moving together awkwardly and clunking along until the true resonace of belonging vibrates in your cells and you can both see and hold and love one another, even in spite of how differently you may have been shaped.

May we make listening and belonging together a priority. And may truth and validity and rightness give way to the beautiful complexity of belonging together.

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