|Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health|
I learned three great truths at the conference on narrative medicine at Kripalu Center last week:
~Storytelling is an act of raw courage.
“It takes courage to grow up
and become who you really are.”
~e. e. cummings~
“That was brilliant!
~ “The news from the mountains is good.”
“These mountains that you are carrying
you were only supposed to climb.”
…that, and a little bit about the root of all suffering and how to alleviate it, how the mind has the ability to change the brain, and how listening can be a healing practice. I learned about dismantling the walls that surround issues of ethnicity and race, about poetry as a storytelling tool, and how meditation can fuel creativity. I watched skepticism morph into curiosity, curiosity lead to connection, and connection grow into trust.
If you noticed a slight jolt around noon on Friday, it was caused by the release of energy, intention and wisdom by fifty or so students of narrative medicine as we returned to our lives inspired, encouraged, and supported as storytellers, as listeners, and as healers. We learned that:
“There is no greater agony
than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Deepest gratitude goes out to Rita Charon, MD for sharing her work in the practice of narrative medicine, to Stephen Cope for helping us embrace our calling in life as a spiritual practice, to poet Marie Howe, to Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis for her efforts to abolish the artificial constructs of ethnicity and race, to Lisa Nelson for introducing us to the neurobiology of listening, to Nellie Hermann on memoir, to Judith Hannan and Nancy Aronie for inspiring us to write, to Jillian Pransky for connecting us in mind, body, and spirit, and to Paul Morris for moderating our “open mic” in the tradition of The Moth.
Many thanks to Lisa Weinert and her staff for orchestrating, choreographing and conducting this conference. But most of all, thanks to everyone who dared to share their own stories with the rest of us.
“You are braver than you believe,
stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think.”
Ps: Your thoughts and comments are welcome and encouraged.