Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

September 25, 2004

healing stories

I've just had an hour and a half to myself and now I have something really great to share. I found this very fine book called "The Healing Heart- Families: Storytelling to Encourage Caring and Healthy Families" by Allison M. Cox and David H. Albert. It's one of those books that reminds me that there are great people out there who are working for the same things I hold dear and that beleive in people's inner powers and the magic of stories. The book is full of the actual experiences of health care workers who use stories and the whole idea of storytelling as a healing tool right alongside the physical part of their professions. Along with their experiences, it has these peoples' favorite stories, so you can use them yourself. It's the most fun non-fiction I've read in a while. And the topics are so diverse- helping people with allergies, hypertension, preventing teen pregnancy and drug abuse, and on and on. It seems so right.

I thought about when I'm sick and I feel like there's nothing for me to do but just bear it- an appropriate and loving story could really help put it all in perspective. Imagine if there were a resident storyteller at the hospital that came around and told Georgia stories when she was there about brave children and their strength and safety. Wow, that would really make a difference in healing, it seems to me. Tapping into your will and courage to get better. That seems to be a missing element in my experiences at the receiving end of health care. Sometimes you're lucky and get a nice nurse that tells encouraging or just plain distracting stories (which can also be very helpful), but otherwise the emotional part of dealing with people at hospitals has been very grating on my nerves instead of soothing in any way.

Reading this book reminds me of all my favorite people. I think I must collect storytellers around me- I certainly love them and love to listen to them and take in all the wisdom and new insights there. A love for anything having to do with stories has been one of the things I've 'discovered' about myself, in the sense Suzanne uses in her post 'el descubrimiento' (see Suzanne's weblog in the sidebar there) about discovering what you already knew was there. That has been an important theme for me in finding what makes me go. Self knowledge is so tricky. It's so hard to beleive that what you find inside is really the powerful thing that's going to be your own path and not something wimpy and irrelevant to 'real' life and its requirements. It's hard to follow Maya Angelou's advice and "...pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you". I want to convey this idea to my kids in a real way- so I'll have to start with my own example and really live it, I suppose. I want them to really beleive in themselves and honor the loves they find to be a part of themselves.

It's not obvious until I really think about it (but really fun) to realize that as I go through life I'm making my own story, that I will be able to retell at the end (and along the way) and that all the drama of life just makes for a more interesting, sometimes even edge-of-your-seat-gripping story. Writing it down as I go really shows to me how rich life is. I don't have a very good memory, so what I've written here in this webble is sometimes my only memory of things that happen in my life. Hopefully it will trigger the surrounding details someday when I look back at it, but at least it's here, being my memory for me. And telling my stories actually improves my memory too, so I already find it therapeutic. No wonder I like this book so much.

Posted by Bahiyyih at September 25, 2004 07:44 PM

Speaking of healing, I went to a fireside where a man, Mitchell Silas, who is a Navajo artist, did sand painting. He also does sand paintings for healing ceremonies. It was amazing and beautiful. The sand painting told a story through symbolism. Absolutely a heavenly experience. Wish you would have been there.

Posted by: Layli at September 26, 2004 11:25 PM

What a great vision---hospital/healing storytelling. Sounds like an extremely valuable pursuit . . . seeing that happen. Perhaps that is a part of your future, along with your many other skills. A great thing to suggest to the storytellers that must be gathered in the Cham-bana area. I'm certain that it would have measurably positive effects.

Thanks for sharing yourself with us all.



Posted by: Nana at September 27, 2004 01:05 AM

I am his daughter and it just makes me really feel proud and joyful to see that there are still people out there that appreciate the spirituality and meaningfullness of his work.

Posted by: Kalica-Lani at October 19, 2004 11:01 PM