This postcard hangs on my bulletin board above my desk. I wrote it at the end of one of Jay O’Callahan’s wonderful workshops by the sea many years ago. Several weeks after the workshop, Jay mailed the cards to us to remind us what our intentions were over the weekend.
Over the past few weeks I have been realizing that I need to return to the work that comes from my heart – the work of story. I am not sure how or where it will lead, but I know that my heart yearns for stories and once again to tell stories and teach others to tell their own stories. There is such power in being able to voice what you know and what comes from your heart.
I am not sure which of Jay’s workshops I was at when I wrote this card since I can’t read the date on the front but I know where I was living so it had to have been at least 10 years ago that I set these intentions. Over the years that I worked with Jay I developed wonderful tales from my childhood memories as well as my story about Annie Edison Taylor, the first woman to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and live to tell others about it. (She was from my hometown.) Other stories were about family and neighbors. I think the one that remains a favorite was about the sense of community in the neighborhood I lived in at the time. It was titled, “48 dogs and 96 cats” and really centered on the story of the day the neighborhood gathered to bury my friend MJ’s dachshund, Fritz. Our pets were not just four legged animals; they were family and they meant a great deal to not only the owners but to others in the neighborhood.
Personal stories are not the only ones in my repertoire, however. I also love to develop renditions of traditional tales, both fairy and folk. I know I will find a way to tell these again as well. One of my favorite periods of time with story was the 8 weeks I spent teaching and coaching a group of 5th graders. They were lively, fun, and still uninhibited and unafraid. The experience was joyful and watching them tell their stories at the final concert was delightful. I hope they have carried stories with them. This group is probably in their early 20’s if I have done the math correctly.
So I am keeping my heart open to the opportunities that I know will come. I’ll let you know what happens.