Tonight was story council. We all sat in a circle in the spirit house here at Hope Springs. It’s where we sit and share stories about our lives, about ourselves. After more than nine months together, 48 hours into retreat, life maps, stories of our ancestors, fire tending, a lighted evening labyrinth walk, mandalas, meals together, and hikes through the woods we now get to go one more layer deeper with each other. And boy do they.
I am humbled not only by the stories they shared but by who they had to be to live through them. They shared stories of celebration, love, fear, pain, disappointment and forgiveness. They shared funny stories, stories about seeking and things finding them. They shared stories about discovering more of who they are and about the people who helped them do it.
I learned something new about each one of them tonight and in return I learned more about myself. There is something in the courage of these stories, in my relationship to each of them that opened something in me. One of my community mamas once said to me that people need to have someone hear their stories in the way that their hearts felt it. I did tonight.
After everyone left I grieve for each one of them and their stories individually and collectively. One by one I felt their celebration, their love, their fear. I grieved their pain and disappointment. I felt the release of forgiveness and the seeking of me. In the small amount of time in the spirit house seemingly by myself I sang and wailed for them, for me, for all of us who have lived these very human stories and I am in awe once again by the power of the human spirit to push time and time again towards life and love.