Have you noticed that sometimes the telling of a story is more magickal than the witnessing, being there in the flesh? The teller reaches deeply into the wellspring of whole experience and flows out a special elixir of timeless nourishment, the kind infused with the soul’s delight in living, with a unique stamp of the essence of that one person. Speaking the tales of the trails of our victories, our losses, we feed and nurture the soul’s exclusively vital work of opening up, sharing freely in a nudity of unique expression, a feast of flow.
Last night was an evening filled with soulspeak. I enjoyed immensely over an hour’s lecture given by Thomas Moore at Elon University. It washed through me with such affirmation, encouragement and strength. He spoke on the soul of the university. But you can’t speak on the soul of anything without bringing it to the basic level of human experience. And since I’m embarking on my education again, it was appropriate. Not(!) that Elon is in my budget. But I digress…
My daughter called me last night after her game. I had just barely gotten through the door and sat to a late dinner when her story filled my being. I was sorry to have missed the actual moment but … also not sorry. I’ve not missed much of anything with my children. It was landmark for me to arrange for others to be with my son at his game so their dad could coach my daughter’s game. With the rainy season, we’ve had major overlapping with make-up games. Two parents are needful. So are grandparents and aunts and uncles and friends. But I knew my soul needed the nourishment of an evening spent listening to one who has blazed a trail of soulful intent. I went to it cajoling myself every step of the way. This whole week has been a study in hiding within, finding that deep place of peace. That is to say: It’s been difficult for no particular reason except the sometimes tumultuous process of accepting change. So, I pretty much pushed me out the door and down the road. There was a point where I could’ve turned one way and witnessed a soccer game. I was tempted. But the other pull won over my resistance and I turned in the opposite direction.
I could go on and on, dissecting how great it was to hear Moore. He fed me at a pivotal moment on my path in ways that won’t be duplicated. And in ways that will reverberate. And yet, so did my daughter. Such delight came through a cell phone singing with the soulful expression of her descriptive joy: “Oh my GOD, Mom! It was great…” I’m going to keep the details private but suffice to say she had a highly satisfying game (even though her team lost), playing the goalie position throughout. And she, like me, had kicked and resisted every step of the way up to that game.
What is it in the psyche that gets so fed up with being stretched? It simply is. We were both “rich,” to say the least. But we both wound up in the same moment, overjoyed. I had no doubt I’d made the best choice for myself.
And it struck me. Had I been there that evening on the sidelines, I would’ve missed the depth of my daughter’s enthusiasm in sharing. I would’ve done my duty truly out of love but all while feeling split and deprived of something absolutely essential. I needed the telling, the stories of one whose soul drinks of wells precious to my own appetite, addressing crossroad moments to come and of past eras profound. It filled me up, gave me a sense of my ability to stay the course. How? He told many stories, weaving layers asserting the immeasurable value of soul.
The telling of a tale, of a deeply felt moment stirs, tugs and evokes the best stuff of resilience, of delight, of vision. My daughter gushed and it fell all over me like a waterfall and in ways witnessing the actual moment never would have done. She gave me her soul’s unabashed response to life. But what was her first question to me, the opener? “How was the lecture, Mom?!” The point was not “you shoulda…” but joy in sharing.
What are stories but the simple dance of two voices saying: Give me … Give me you. And I’ll give me too. And we’ll find our way.