Any story people share with you may offer an opportunity to expand yourself. Author Veerle De Bock invites you to assimilate your own hidden stories.
This series of articles invites you on a journey to explore how everything is connected and affects everything. Whatever happens in your life is useful – whether it is a simple event that passes unnoticed or it’s something you do notice but miss the underlying richness of possibilities.
In part 1 I introduced the fascinating triad ‘witnessing, asking and experiencing’. We explored how, by extending our awareness, we are more able to pay attention to the moment that is happening ‘now’. We discovered how a simple event such as stumbling on a stone can become a doorway to another reality, which was previously invisible to us. If you missed this article you can read it here.
In today’s article, we will look at the importance of paying attention to the stories that people share with you. Each story – whether complex or simple, emotional or rational, spiritual or down-to-Earth – is part of the ‘quantum hologram’ described by physicists. In this quantum hologram all these stories are related – connected with everything that has ever happened in the past and everything that might still emerge in the future. This is the physical law behind my encouragement to pay attention to the stories people tell you – if other people’s stories are connected to our own then we can learn from them.
People share their stories with us all the time but how can we learn from them?
- We apply the ‘witness’ to really listen to the story. The witness becomes an external process where we completely receive the storyteller without ‘doing’ anything or acting upon the story. This open and non-judgemental listening creates an environment in which the storyteller can feel able to share his or her story.
- The ‘asking’ is an internal process where the story we are being told merges with our own stories. We can gently ask ourselves the simple question: “What is here ‘now’?”
- The ‘experiencing’ is the internal process of integration through which we become able to perceive pain or other physical sensations, emotions, feelings and thoughts. Often our deeply hidden stories are touched and released as energy moves through us.
To illustrate how this works, I invite you to join me on my journey along the Flemish part of the old pilgrimage path, the Way of St. James – one of several paths across Europe that converge on the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, northern Spain.
I have been walking all day as I arrive at a Bed & Breakfast. During the evening the woman who hosts the B&B shares with me a story of her childhood.
She was the youngest of two girls and many times she felt blamed, humbled and spited by her sister. She is convinced that her role was to be the scapegoat in order for her sister to feel that she was important and of value.
This memory is still vivid and hurts because what happened passed unnoticed by her mother and sister.
I sense how this story represents huge humiliation for her.
This is how I moved through the triad:
As she shares her story, I witness this lovely woman. I notice that my first impulse is to feel sorry for her and judge her sister and mother. I tend to perceive her as a victim and as a consequence I feel I need to do something in order to save her.
I breathe, and notice that when I am able to listen deeply and completely receive her and her story, something happens: a connection appears between me and this woman, with the story she is sharing and with what is present in the moment ‘now’. My awareness becomes more all-inclusive and there are fewer boundaries between us.
Later, when I am alone, I wonder why she decided to share this story with me and I observe that there is a particularly strong energy attached to it. I stop and ask myself, “What is here ‘now’?” I gently stay here ‘now’ with this story and wait – with no effort, no struggle, just the purity of curiosity.
So fascinating! How does this story of humiliation relate to me?
I have no clue. And yet I know that there is a deeper hidden meaning, a link to a reality not yet visible for me.
I have a headache during the night, with lots of pain in my body and tension in my neck. I keep on relaxing – breathing deeply in and out. I am patient and wait, my heart is open and I let go. This is truly ‘experiencing’ the energy of my own stories in my sacred body. My stories related to this woman’s story. I allow the energy to move through me.
Eventually, I fall asleep and have many dreams. I only remember parts of these dreams and nothing really makes sense. However, in the morning I suddenly begin to receive more clarity.
I realize that nobody is humiliating this lovely lady any more and yet she continues to be defined through her story of humiliation.
My body recognises this humiliation and releases a great deal of energy. I feel more alive.
Through the story this precious B&B host shared with me, my own deeply hidden stories related to humiliation were touched. Old stories that unconsciously still define me. It’s an amazing insight – I had no idea I was still humiliating, confining and restricting myself.
What is true for me is true for you as well. When we learn to listen to the stories that people share with us in a new way something miraculous happens, we access our deeply hidden old stories. We are able to let go of these old stories, thus ending a vicious cycle of defining ourselves through them.
Something special happens then, and our reality becomes expanded as we gain access to much more of ourselves.
My book Becoming What is Changing: Exposition talks about how ‘witnessing, asking and experiencing’ can heal, not only yourself at a personal level, but also whole organizations. Many different stories function as the material for applying this fascinating triad. If you want to find out more, you can do so here.
Does something of this article resonate within you? Do you have a story to share? Please leave a comment; I would love to hear from you.
Veerle de Bock
14th November 2013
VEERLE DE BOCK is a physician, healer, facilitator, trainer, coach and author of the trilogy, Becoming What is Changing. She spent nearly three decades of her life as a physician specializing in geriatric care, including a 21-year career as department head in an Antwerp regional hospital. In 2003, she began her study as an energetic healer, teacher, process facilitator and supervisor at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing and, since 2007 has helped many trainees to master these same skills. In 2010 she was trained in the practice of Dynamic Facilitation by Jim Rough, which she now incorporates into her workshops and training sessions. In 2012 she decided to devote her work exclusively to writing, facilitation and coaching. That same year, she devised a new integrative practice of facilitation she calls ‘Guest House Facilitation’ that helps teams learn how to listen and utilise both the inner and outer processes within their organisation, to see it as a dynamic and living organism, and to reconnect to its intrinsic purpose and intention. Her book, Becoming What is Changing: Exposition, is the first part of a trilogy aimed at managers, team leaders and responsible employees who wish to bring this kind of transformation into the workplace, so they can create an environment where people are happy, satisfied and continuously growing.
Contact Veerle about the book, or to discuss coaching/facilitation for your organisation at: