"We think we tell stories, but stories often tell us, tell us to love or to hate, to see or to be blind. Often, too often, stories saddle us, ride us, whip us onward, tell us what to do, and we do it without questioning. The task of learning to be free requires learning to hear them, to question them, to pause and hear silence, to name them, and then to become the storyteller." Rebecca Solnit
This quote has stopped me in my reading tracks today. I have been reflecting on the work that I hope to do with ‘Women’s Rites’, and story is at the heart of it. I wonder about all the unheard stories each of us carry, and what words are crying out to be heard. I think that learning to hear our deeper stories requires a certain kind of listening.
These are not the obvious narratives of our lives, these are the stories that know how to hide and secretly run the patterns of our days so that they will not be discovered. The stories that hide beneath the covers of our everyday faces, the underbelly of the dragon. There are tales within us that have no words, that are held in our bodies, that can only find a shape through a move on the dance floor, a splash of paint, a breath in the stillness of meditation.
Our society helps block our ears to the stories that come from the underbelly, we only have to twitch a thumb into the click click of social media to find a million distractions away from noticing our own untold stories.
To journey into the wilds of the unmapped territories of our psyche is to take a step into a deeper change than anything the topside world can offer. To make space to truly listen to the unexpected stories you hold, is to engage with a deep process of change which will turn your life around. That is why I find myself offering work in the woods – just as in the old tales, when you step into the forest you will never come out the same. It is here that the slow listening can begin. Where we can take the radical act of opening into connection and relationship to the many storied world of nature, and finally drop into a deeper story that is waiting for us.