I wrote this a few months ago. I had the chance to talk to an old friend who told me a tale, I didn't wish to know, but was ready to be told. It is a call to see farther and to see deeper into those that around you every day. Take a look, you may find a new friend. Someone to listen to, someone to tell.
Space for me
The story is a curious thing. It is a part of you and yet it is complete in itself. It takes on a life of its own if it is not told, and the internal contest is to let it out or keep it constrained. The strength of it is developed in secret, in dreams and angry but controlled behaviors. It grows until it can no longer be contained.
The tale told came with sobs. Not at first for that was a time of fun and whimsy. The beginning was wide ranging and free flowing. Fast and slow, light and easy then taking sharper turns to the place that was only hinted at in the corner of the mouth and the fear in the eyes. There came a place that it became apparent that it was driving the conversation and not following it. This is a story that wanted to be told. It was on the way to the surface, for the first time in a very long time. All it was needing was some space to fill, and permission to become. I gave the story both. I was prepared to be the recipient of the gift of a tale of woe.
It has happened before. Often, really, but not always well done. Not often was I prepared. Sometimes by the topic, sometimes by the magnitude and sometimes by the proximity of the one that was the cause of this thing called woe. It was then I needed one to tell of my great sorrows to, caused by the knowledge of the one that caused great sorrows. Woe to me, then, when there was no one to tell, except the dark of the night. And the God that was silent. Woe to me, then, when my sorrows broke into the darkness that was matched by my night of darkness… only fog and black and not a star for hope to light my way. I would not let that be the case to this one, if I may be of help. I would be the star of light, that came to be a place of hope… for this dark night of her tale of woe that was to be birthed onto the land. We would weep, but only for the wound, and not for the wanting of a listener. I gave them the space they craved. Space to tell the story that desired the light.
It is a curious thing, Fibonacci. It is called “the golden ratio”. It is the inside of a Conch shell that has been cut into two halves. It reveals the path of the outer ring of the shell from the very center, where it is so very small. As it continues through the course of time and growth it expands in greater arcs of space and reach, and that is the way the story comes. Little bits, in the beginning. Ever growing and building on the last layers until it comes in great pieces with much magnitude. Large and chunky bits that need space. This story is about exponential growth, not linear. It is a bit like the layer of an onion here, that there is a thin membrane on the next layer of the meat of the onion. I would call this the “permission layer” and it is the determination of the revealing of the next bit of the story. This is what I gave, permission to continue. And they did.
Permission to keep going. Permission to be vulnerable. Permission to be real. It required space, but also liberty. Like a small girl that likes to twirl in the living room, she needed space to be free and permission to continue. It was an issue of trust transferred. Transferred from one with the capacity to give, to one that desired to receive. It was time. There was space. There was liberty. It was a gift that I possessed and could give. So, I did. This gift, if not given will act like a siren of distress. To the wounded it is a vigilant and ready guard that is ever present on the account of danger. Perfidy and subterfuge lurk about always, and need be fought back at the first sign of appearance. Were I to be less than authentic or vulnerable at the level of the gift given, they would have closed down the conversation and would not have come again in my lifetime. It is that important.
Permission. Permission to be safe, first. To be vulnerable, authentic and proximate. Then to be clear, because of the trust in the capacity to absorb the expansion. An explanation by way of a metaphor, then: There are two iconic items in a Nuke power plant. First is the “evaporator” which is the large cone shaped thing that sends clouds of water vapor into the air. This cement cone is inverted and is at all Nuke Plants around the world. It allows for the expansion of the hot water to be dissipated and cooled. 90% of the water goes back to the system and about 10% is turned into water vapor that goes up in the air to become clouds.
The second noticeable thing is a cement domed silo in the middle of the plant. It covers the fuel area and is designed for one purpose, to contain all of the steam that the system could generate if it went bad. The reactor is a tiny bit of machinery deep inside the shell of this dome, but the point is that the capacity of the dome is designed to capture all of the steam, by volume, that can be created by a failure. These two systems are separate and never touch. The heated steam turned into vapor is a loop not connected to the cause of the heat in the dome. Toxic and contained, heat is passed beside the cooling system. Like a radiator in your car, the liquid is passed by with the air from outside, transferring the heat but not spilling on the ground. This is the role of the listener, to keep them separate. This is the point of your ability to capture all of the bad steam of the one that you are talking to. If you are incapable of listening to the dirty underwear story, it will not be told to you. If you get squeamish or judgmental or angry, they will know before you do, and they will change the subject. If you lied to them and then judged them, they will feel betrayed. This is the point of the steam dome, to let all of the story be told and not let any of the bad air out to the general populace. It is your trust that is tested a thousand times before the reveal of the big story… if you are worthy.
Permission was given and accepted. The story was told, and the tears came. Space was allowed for the pain to be spoken, for the first time since the act of betrayal happened. It had been a long time. It wasn’t a woman that told it to me but a man of many years. “I have never told another of the violation” was also spoken. “They buried the violator two weeks ago” … “I sat next to a man at the funeral that was also as I am … “We looked into each other’s eyes and we knew, he got you too”. The story came. As did relief. It wanted told, and now it had been. For the first time in 40 years, it had been given some space to be told. Vulnerable and safe. It had permission. It is what was needed. It is what I do. I allow it to find a voice, and to sing its song of woe. A dirge, if you will. A lament of the time it had taken to find a place of security and freedom. To be spoken into existence. To be spoken into the universe of the free. It was time, and it was good.
I am as you, only one. It is a gift to be told a tale of woe, yet it feels like nothing close to a gift. The point is that only a few are given the place of the listener to the tale. It is this rareness that makes it a gift of great value. Please regard it so. The giver does. They need so much trust and hope of security in giving that gift and are so vulnerable in the giving of it. It is a rare thing. You know this by the lack of trust you have for others to listen to your own tales of woe.
It does return to you. The listener of other peoples’ tales and never the teller of them. I see you. I give you permission as well, to tell of your tale. The story that wants told. That will not be resisted long without the burden showing. It yearns to be free, and that is the case of the freedom that comes with the telling. Perhaps it is simply that you have accumulated much of the debris of other peoples’ tales and need to simply unpack their items that remain. Perhaps it is your own that you are hiding, behind the stories of other peoples’ tales. It will come in the course of time. Perhaps you will be caught off guard. Perhaps you will be debilitated by your freedom, for a while at least.
But free you will be, and for that you can give freedom. So, do so. It is a gift you can give. Be the giver you long to be. Released from the encumbrance of your own story, and you will give space to the one that yearns for that same freedom. The next layer of the story will be given the space to expand and be free. You will gain a skill in the giving of freedom and you will be given the gift of other tales of woe. These stories that want told. These tales that bring life again, to the teller and the listener alike… Accept your gift, and then give it again. To another that is not expecting it. Or one that needs it so greatly. You will know. It will flow. You have permission, so go…
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