Manage episode 277174547 series 1791506
Here is a story that rocked me to the core. Some of its images have stayed with me ever since I first received it last summer. It addresses shame, which in my experience one of the hardest emotions to identify and stay present to.
The story gives a vivid description of the shame that we can experience when we forget our divine nature. We all know, at least on some deep level, that we are divine beings. And yet most of us live as if this were not the case. Precious little in our culture reflects this truth back to us, so this knowing can simmer, deep down inside. Our only awareness of it can be a nagging sense of shame: there is something we are not doing, something we are not living, some call we were supposed to respond to, some path we should have taken.
But what to do? Shame being so hard to access, it can just form a background sense of unworthiness, or a pain so deep that we spend our lives trying to escape it.
A washerwoman received delivery of a rich Lord’s shirt, urgently required for a grand ball at his mansion. Noticing a fine ring in the shirt pocket, she removed it and put it carefully upon the shelf above her sink.
But when the shirt was washed, the ring was gone! Horrified, she searched everywhere, but without success. The ring had simply vanished…
How can it be that something so precious, of such inestimable value, can just vanish from our awareness? How can our divine nature, the most precious thing we have been entrusted with, simply slip through our fingers? Taking on human incarnation, with its heavy veil of forgetfulness, this is the experience we all have.
Maybe complete forgetfulness is a blessing. It is half-forgetting that can drive a person mad.
The washerwoman spent the following days and weeks expecting the guards to come knocking on her door, demanding the ring’s return But nobody came knocking. Months went by, until it had been years. Had nobody noticed?
By now she had scoured her little cottage so thoroughly that everything gleamed. She had searched in places that the ring could not possibly have found its way to, but still it was lost. And all the time there was this pervading, awful sense of shame: something precious had been entrusted to her and she had failed to take care of it.
At what point do we recover the awareness of our divine nature? When the truth becomes more important than the lies we’ve been telling ourselves about who we really are. When running away from the pain and the shame becomes too stressful, too humiliating, and we just stop the whole attempt to be someone that we’re not. And whatever comes next will be better, even if it means the unravelling of everything that we’ve built over the years; the bulwark that we hoped would keep us safe from shame.
In my 25 years as an intuitive storyteller, I’ve told many stories that have impacted me in this powerful and insightful way. Stories offer a unique blessing. With their potent symbols, they can bypass our usual attempts to hide from the truth, and speak directly to what needs to be done to return to integrity, to come back home to ourselves.
I released my Intuitive Storytelling home-study course last month, which guides you step by step through this subtle art. What stories would your inner storyteller bring you?
There’s also the option of having 1-1 coaching with me. And for parents (and grandparents, educators, etc) there’s also a course for Telling Intuitive Stories to Children.
We have all become strangers to the mythic realm, as our culture shines back at us only the surface image of who we appear to be. Intuitive storytelling offers us a deeper reflection and, with stories like this one, a personal pathway back to wholeness.
You can find the audio retelling of The Washerwoman and the Lord’s Ring below. Details of both my courses can be found here.
Wishing you all the best,
PS I am involved in two online events this week. I’ll be telling a story at WakeUpWalkTowards – “a space for healing, vision, and learning the practical steps that can guide us forward towards a better tomorrow for ourselves and all those we love”.
And I’ll be offering a mini workshop in Intuitive Storytelling as part of Spirit Duality, which will be taking “an in-depth look into what being on a spiritual journey means to different people, and explore how we can all learn to live with passion, purpose, vision and faith.”