"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." ~ Christopher to Pooh, A.A.Milne
Listening to another installment of Clarissa Pinkola Estés' story-telling event over at Sounds True, around the virtual camp fire, there is so much to think about. First of all it's lovely to have this virtual camp fire, it feels so accepting and warm. Clarissa has a way of creating a space in which we can be comfortable with ourselves and with our virtual friends around this campfire.
But she also describes quite clearly how easy it is to create the opposite sort of feeling, when people start to feel wrong and alienated, when we feel at odds within our family or the dominant culture. She told us a story about a childhood event where she saw a vision of a beautiful lady that made her feel so good she wanted to wade through the waves of Lake Michigan to be with her. Although it really sounded like it must have been a lovely vision, at some point she was in a bit of danger. Her family had a very stern reaction, understandably. They were probably frightened to see their child wading in the freezing water in midwinter. They told her there was no beautiful lady, that she was dreaming and that she should forget about it. Of course she didn't forget, she still cherishes the memory, and part of her memory is of being made to feel wrong within her family. (I'm thinking there must be other ways to tell children that we just want them to be safe and stay with us for a while longer, without making them feel that their dreams, visions, and selves are wrong.)
So that's what I like about Clarissa Pinkola Estés, how she creates an inclusive environment where many points of view are welcome, including my own. After all if you are sitting around a camp fire, is there only one direction from which to view the fire? Is there only one point of view? Last I checked on the world population we are creeping up to 7 billion, so I figure 7 billion points of view around the campfire. Why should my point of view be any more or less right than any other point of view?
Campfire collage by Lani