Have you ever watched a small toddler discover something new? Maybe you have taken one on a walk and 30 minutes into the walk, you realized you have only traveled 20 feet? Or maybe you have watched a puppy discover a grasshopper? Their ears perk up with an inquisitive head tilt or maybe a little pounce happens. The expressions of discovery and curiosity become obvious as these little ones engage in the practice of presence.
I experienced this sensation of presence and delight and curiosity one day when my freshly poured tea cup was sitting on the counter with rays of sunshine beaming just right. I noticed the intricacy of the steam reflecting in the sun and I quickly grabbed my phone to capture a photo. I took several pictures and never saw what the camera saw… until later as I scrolled through my photos.
What I saw in those photos drew me to complete awe. A closer look at what the shutter speed caught was almost magical. The steam had made an intricate and defined design that I would have never seen with my naked eye. It wasn’t until I slowed down, took a closer look that I began to see the beauty that awaited.
I often think of storywork in this same way. When I engage in people’s stories and invite them and others to slow down and take a closer look, only then do we begin to notice the intricate, definitive beauty that awaits. Sometimes there are moments when others can capture something in our story that we would have never been able to see by ourselves. You see, the stories we carry within us for our whole lives…they just look like regular steam. Stories often feel “it isn’t a big deal” or may feel like they don’t mean anything because it is just known by you. These stories become part of us as the way we have had to make sense of the world as children. The stories stay almost frozen in time, told by a younger version of ourselves.
There is an invitation in storywork to capture something more and to be in awe. Oftentimes I hear people share they are well with their understanding of their past, “I don’t need to know more.” I think my response here is that the “closer look” is a way to see more clearly who we are and who we are meant to be. When I experienced what my camera held in the photos of the steam, I was in awe. There was a beauty waiting for me that I would have missed. I wonder what beauties your story might hold that might be missed if we don’t take a closer look?