I'm going to tell you a story about how a
hostage was returned.
Perhaps you're thinking: "Leah, it's the holidays...can't you bring us something more season appropriate?
I’m asking you to trust me.
But even more than me, I’m asking you to trust this story, because it has been banging at the door asking to be shared. It begins like this...
Laura Ling was a journalist who was held captive by the North Koreans for 5 months.
This story has nothing to do with how or why she was kidnapped.
It has everything to do with what she did while she was being held captive, facing a sentence of 12 years of hard labor.
I worked with Laura at Current TV, not closely, but close enough so that at nearly every gathering, every meal, every hike in the wilderness during those 5 months I thought of her, alone in a cell. It’s weird when you know that someone who is humble and kind and makes self-deprecating jokes is being held captive by North Korea.
Laura was released after 5 months.
Kim Jong-un agreed to release Laura under the condition that Bill Clinton would meet with him.
You see, when Kim’s father died, Bill Clinton was one of the first to call him with a condolence.
And ever since receiving that phone call, after recieving someone reaching out under and over the story of politics and into the story of human connection, Kim had always wanted to meet Bill.
Kind of mind blowing when you consider what one little act of radical kindness would eventually influence.
A medieval philosophical sense, from Late Latin radicalis "of or having roots," from PIE root *wrad- "branch, root"
Meaning: "going to the origin, essential"
“Gratitude is what got me through”
It was a few years later when Laura and I were meeting for tea talking about a few story concepts. I don’t know how it came up, but when someone starts telling you that gratitude is what kept them from going coo-coo while being held hostage in North Korea, you pay attention.
“But I had to be grateful for what was actually happening in the moment, it wasn’t about being grateful for another time, it was being grateful for what I had in the moment. Sometimes it would take real effort to find something, such as being grateful to the guard who decided to whistle when I hadn’t heard music in months.”
Laura's story reminded me of my own experience of experiencing radical gratitude.
Gratitude introduced itself to me when I was walking the rings of a large circular garden I built while in the six months of recovering from thyroid cancer. Every morning I walked into the center of the garden with my gratitude, and walked out with my prayers. I wouldn’t say I was particularly spiritual or prayed before that event. I don't even know how I knew to do it. I just know that it changed me.
When I wasn't looking or trying. Gratitude wrapped its arms around me when I needed it most.
It would appear that extreme situations can provide insight on how to live in normal times.
Want More Story In Your Life?
Here are a few ways we can play...
A grand last minute gift idea (If I don’t say so myself) is a SOUL STORY.
(Gift certificates can be emailed within a few hours of an order)
A soul story is a one of a kind story that is created for the receiver of the gift. It is a mystical form of storytelling that helps one see their life and how they are experiencing it through symbols, myth, and metaphors. I do them for individuals, couples, and groups.
To help you understand this out of the box interpersonal storytelling session I'll share that Clarissa Pinkola Estes references how a sect of mystical storytellers use El Duarte (the wind) to blow the soul of the person into them, and Michael Mead says that behind this dimension, is the mythic dimension. This is exactly how I understand a Soul Story to work. It's esoterical and magical and mysterious in the best of ways. Here's how a few people explain the experience:
“Receiving my sacred soul story was truly a gift of great proportion. I thought at first it would be a fun idea. Little did I know how greatly transformative the whole process would actually be for me.” ~ Marta Maria Marraccini
“Leah's story was the sweetest medicine to my soul. I felt not only reflected in my essence but lifted up to enjoy the greater story unfolding in all of us.”
Other ways we can play in the realm of story include these upcoming workshops;
Online: Myth Magic and Medicine
In CA: Temple Woman (1 day event) & The Story of The Witch (5 Day Retreat)
Jan In Kauai
Feb In Maui
Green Gift Ideas Part 4
Welcome to the last installation of green gift ideas. As always, I receive no benefit from sharing these aside from the pleasure of sharing good things and good people. And in this case: some shameless self promotion. You can catch Green Gift Guides parts 1-3 here.