Sunday, August 12, 2007

Women and Stories

Over the past few days, I have been blessed with hearing the stories of two of my friends. By stories, I don't mean the ha-ha moments of tripping in the grocery store, or coming out the ladies room with toilet paper on your shoe. Rather, I mean the raw and unguarded secrets of the heart. In return, I shared some of my own struggles and secret stony places in my heart.

As a counselor, I am often the privileged recipient of someone's unburdening, and I never cease to be grateful to be found worthy of that blessing. And so I began to think of the power of women's stories, and what they mean in our lives. Women's stories can be, are meant to be, a source of strength, a lesson learned, a poignant memory that unlocks one in our own heart. Something to take forward with us on our own journey - the idea that you are not alone. That other women have gone before you, and with you, and will follow you. It is important to mark the way.

There is no better author to advocate for the power of the untold story then Clarissa Pinkola Estes. She writes, " I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories from your own life - your life- not someone else's life- water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom. That is the work. The only work."

I do believe we have to help each other with that work. Sometimes we do it by listening, sometimes through sharing our writing, or paper crafts. Telling our story. All this reflecting made me leave my craft table for a while...I muled a round the bookstore, and picked up two books that had never really struck a chord with me before, but did yesterday.

Collage Lost and Found by Giuseppina Cirincione and Pretty Little Things by Sally Jean Alexander (she has a delicious website!) Both have lots of beautiful photos as well as step-by-step instructions and ideas for adding to your art.

Everyone has a story to tell. Maya Angelou once said there is nothing more painful then having an untold story inside you. Again, Clrissa Estes tells us, "Don't be a fool. Go back and stand under that one red flower and walk straight ahead for that last hard mile. Go up and knock on the old weathered door. Climb up to the cave. Crawl through the window of a dream. Sift the desert and see what you will find. It is the only work we have to do."

Find a worthy person. Tell your story.

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