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What Is Your Storyteller Doing?

--by Mary O'Malley (Jul 21, 2014)
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At 8:28 AM I slipped into the pool at my gym for my half hour swim. There was a water aerobics class that began at 9:00, which left just enough time for me to complete my swim. At around 8:55 a number of people had jumped into the first lane and were chatting before the class. I was in the second lane and a man was in the third. At 8:56 I started my last lap which takes a little over a minute. After I had made the final turn, just a few strokes before I ran into her, I noticed a woman who had come under the floating lane barriers and was standing right in the middle of my lane. These lanes are big enough for two people to do laps, so she could easily have stood at the side of the lane to let me pass. But because she was in the middle, there was barely enough room to squeeze by her, and as I did, she hit me with her arm.

Can you imagine what my storyteller was doing? It was affronted. Anger came roaring through me, accompanied with the feeling of being right and making her wrong! The stories in my head were saying: “The class starts at 9:00! This is my lane until 9:00. How dare she!” As I got into the shower, awareness kicked in and saw what the storyteller was doing. [...] I could see that this is how wars are started, and I didn’t want to allow that level of unconsciousness to take me over! I could also recognize that many times in my life I had played the role of the woman in my lane and felt great compassion for that part of me. And finally my heart opened to the woman. I don’t know what caused her to act as she did, but I didn’t have to put her out of my heart!

There are 3 reason why I wanted to share this with you:

First: We have this strange idea that peace will come when we get rid of the parts we don’t like and hold onto the ones we do! That only brings continual struggle inside. Instead, awakening is about getting to know all the various parts of our storyteller. The more you can see its fears, judgments and despairs, the more you don’t take it personally. And when something very deep has been triggered, its visit will become much shorter, and rather than you getting caught in more struggle, it will wake up the wondrous healing of your own heart (both for yourself and for others!).

Second: In this world that is so aligned with the good/bad, right/wrong view of the world that is at the heart of each of our storytellers, there is nothing inside of you to be ashamed of! We all have these parts. We are just very good at pretending that we don’t – both to ourselves and to others! And these parts deserve kindness just like you do when you have had a difficult day.

Third: The core flavor of my childhood was invasion, and so my storyteller was built with a huge amount of fear about being overtaken by life. I have, over the years, brought my attention to this part to the extent that it is very quiet most of the time. But there evidently was still some vestige of this old fear, so life put me in a situation to bring it up – not to disturb me, or punish me – but so I could see it more clearly without identifying with it and bring it into the healing of my heart.

So the next time you are caught in reaction, become curious about what your storyteller is doing. Life is giving you these situations so you can see more clearly and thus unhook more cleanly from the storyteller’s world of judgment and fear.

In the early 1970′s, a powerful awakening set Mary O'Malley on the path to changing her whole relationship with her compulsions, freeing her from a lifelong struggle and opening her to the joy and the wonder of being fully awake to Life. Since then, she has dedicated her life to helping others heal themselves by seeing what truly blocks them from life’s joy. This passage was excerpted from Mary's blog.

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13 Previous Reflections:

 
On Jul 24, 2014 cabbage wrote:

 I love the last bit about the "flavor of childhood" influencing the voice of the inner storyteller---this is something I have tried to become more aware of as I observe my reactions and the reactions of others---who might be their storyteller?
Understanding that other storytellers are coming from a different place can help us tame our own judgemental storyteller! I also appreciate the bit about embracing all sides of ourselves and that there is nothing inside us to be ashamed of. Hugs to all. :-)



On Jul 22, 2014 Amit wrote:

 I have a three and half year old grand daughter. She is just learning the process of story telling. Many times I feel she is getting into wrong habit! I have yet to learn how to stop her from getting into habit of story telling. She is in terrible mess when she gets up from the sleep in the afternoon. I can see that she does not know how how to stop. Her tantrums gets very wild some times and my wife will help her divert her mind into her favorite food or song. She becomes normal after a while! After reading J. Krishnamurty and his views of being passionate about being free from thoughts which crowd our consciousness all the time and does not allow us to learn to be pure observation. I find it difficult after lots of learning, to be patiently and aimlessly waiting for the unknown to appear and be in truth, peace and love!



2 replies: Susan, Amit | Post Your Reply
On Jul 22, 2014 Jyoti wrote:

As a swimmer, who cherishes the activity for its meditative solitude, I relate to the incident described. I find myself judging the lane blocker as an inconsiderate woman. There was room in the lane for both and not only did she not stay on one side, but she hit the swimmer. The story teller may have accessed the meditative calm to absorb that angry and invasive presence and convert it into compassion, yet the story lingered to eventually need release in this writing. In her situation, I would want to give myself permission to allow my story to be released gently back in the moment. I would want the gumption and presence to calmly say "Ouch! that hurt. You are a strong woman." I would like to leave the pool with "Enjoy your exercise class" shoutout to her. But even as I write this I know that the presence, gumption and calm are immediately lost when I am hurt. Unhooking from judgment and fear is not going to save me from getting hurt. Nothing is. Simply accepting my truth that sometim  See full.

As a swimmer, who cherishes the activity for its meditative solitude, I relate to the incident described. I find myself judging the lane blocker as an inconsiderate woman. There was room in the lane for both and not only did she not stay on one side, but she hit the swimmer. The story teller may have accessed the meditative calm to absorb that angry and invasive presence and convert it into compassion, yet the story lingered to eventually need release in this writing. In her situation, I would want to give myself permission to allow my story to be released gently back in the moment. I would want the gumption and presence to calmly say "Ouch! that hurt. You are a strong woman." I would like to leave the pool with "Enjoy your exercise class" shoutout to her. But even as I write this I know that the presence, gumption and calm are immediately lost when I am hurt. Unhooking from judgment and fear is not going to save me from getting hurt. Nothing is. Simply accepting my truth that sometimes I hurt and being able to own and bear that kindly, is what I wish for.

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On Jul 21, 2014 david doane wrote:

 As to there being nothing inside of me to be ashamed of, my thoughts are that everything in me is me, and all that is in me is very much like all that is in everyone else, and we are all capable of loving and murder, kindness and violence,  intimacy and rape, generosity and theft.  We don't have to act out all that we are, but it's all there, it's all me, it's all us.  I grow healthy by being aware of all of me, including my shadow side, and taming it like taming a wild stallion, and working with it.  By disowning or denying some of me, it is more likely to emerge in a dark way.  Through experiences -- no specific one comes to mind -- I came to believe that the 'storyteller' comes from that shadow side of me and encourages the shadow side of me.  Many times in my life my 'storyteller' has won out and I've been mean one way or another -- those actions I am ashamed of.  Learning about me, inching along the road of increased awareness and  in  See full.

 As to there being nothing inside of me to be ashamed of, my thoughts are that everything in me is me, and all that is in me is very much like all that is in everyone else, and we are all capable of loving and murder, kindness and violence,  intimacy and rape, generosity and theft.  We don't have to act out all that we are, but it's all there, it's all me, it's all us.  I grow healthy by being aware of all of me, including my shadow side, and taming it like taming a wild stallion, and working with it.  By disowning or denying some of me, it is more likely to emerge in a dark way.  Through experiences -- no specific one comes to mind -- I came to believe that the 'storyteller' comes from that shadow side of me and encourages the shadow side of me.  Many times in my life my 'storyteller' has won out and I've been mean one way or another -- those actions I am ashamed of.  Learning about me, inching along the road of increased awareness and  integration, helps me not act out my 'storyteller.'  It's a long road.

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2 replies: Amit, David | Post Your Reply
On Jul 20, 2014 david doane wrote:

Until he recently became too ill to write, Conrad shared his wisdom weekly with all of us on Awakin, always ending his reflection 'with kind and loving regards, Con'.  He loved this sort of sharing and introduced me to Awakin.  Con was my friend for more than 40 years.  With deep sadness, I am letting you know that Con died this afternoon after a brief encounter with lung cancer.  I will miss his physical presence.  He was a good and compassionate man.  I hope you will hold him in your kind and loving regards, thoughts and prayers. 



3 replies: Susan, Kw, Warren | Post Your Reply
On Jul 18, 2014 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

 "We are the Stories we tell." I am a Professional Storyteller. Yes, that is my "real" job. :) Much of my work is about building bridges between people & cultures, serving both myself and others to see the human being rather than labels, stereotypes or assumptions. When we stop and listen/view the human and take away any assumptions or judgments about what we "think" might be happening, that is when we can really see. Our own assumptions or judgments can get in the way or peace or resolution.  As for "there is nothing inside of you to be ashamed of" I have had 2 BIG  experiences with that in the last year. 1. I went public about a 20 year challenge with anorexia/body image issues in a keynote presentation at the university I attended undergrad; it was so freeing and ended up deeply impacting the students. To share that journey at the very institution where the body image issue had such a grip on me was life changing and to show them you can come through th  See full.

 "We are the Stories we tell." I am a Professional Storyteller. Yes, that is my "real" job. :) Much of my work is about building bridges between people & cultures, serving both myself and others to see the human being rather than labels, stereotypes or assumptions. When we stop and listen/view the human and take away any assumptions or judgments about what we "think" might be happening, that is when we can really see. Our own assumptions or judgments can get in the way or peace or resolution. 
As for "there is nothing inside of you to be ashamed of" I have had 2 BIG  experiences with that in the last year. 1. I went public about a 20 year challenge with anorexia/body image issues in a keynote presentation at the university I attended undergrad; it was so freeing and ended up deeply impacting the students. To share that journey at the very institution where the body image issue had such a grip on me was life changing and to show them you can come through the other side to healthy image, wow. 2. This April I went public on my blog about my own challenge with Depression. I did this because so many people only see the Light side of me, the FREE HUG and the Bubbles and the positive messages I post to uplift others. When I went public with the Depression, another weight was lifted. No shame and much support came as others shared their Stories of challenges too. Share YOUR Story and allow others to share theirs. and Always before you Speak: THINK. Is it Thoughtful? Is it Helpful? Is it Important? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? HUGS from my heart to yours. Kristin

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