Sunday, July 24, 2011

A little about ‘story’…

As I have been learning, the most effective way to learn in a ‘whole’ way is through experience and story. By ‘whole’ I mean body, heart, spirit and mind and through relating to ‘all as one’, a phrase I hear often from a very dear Indigenous ‘sister’ of mine.

Many years ago I had the privilege of sitting with an Elder who has since ‘passed on’. He told me how his people used to ‘call the dolphins in’. He told me about his relationship with the dolphins the morning after he had ‘sung’ in a public place, in his language for the first time in over 50 years. Experiencing him this way was truly awesome. This old man who was permanently curved over his stick, sitting or standing, used his voice to call out to all to connect and be in respectful relationship. He called us to honour the life of all living things on Earth. He gave so much in a matter of 20 minutes and yet he sat up for the rest of the night and yarned and yarned, energised and vital, continuing to give to the privileged few who could sit with him for hours on end.

When the next morning he was still powerful and clear and awake to so much more than we around him could know, he gave me a clear sense of his, and his people’s relationship with the dolphins.

As I sat at old Uncle’s feet, he leaned over and said very quietly,
‘I would not say this to everyone but these here dolphins they

are my brothers... we are family and we help each other.’
As I am going back in time and feel and see what was happening then, I am so drawn to the eye of my uncle as he looked at me sideways, such that the one eye on my side of him, although circled in soft wrinkles, was wide and joyful and twinkling. As I see it now, it feels so like the eye of a dolphin when it caught mine in a wonderful and mind-shifting meeting; a meeting, which holds another story, one to share at another time.

As my Uncle told his story his eyes twinkled, as he looked at me to see whether I was ‘listening’ in a way that showed he could share more. Maybe this is what the dolphin was doing, looking to see if I could take in more?

Copyright ©2000 - S. Kirby

This relationship between the storyteller and the listener is a key to being given the gems that are woven into the stories of the Elders. He went on to explain as many may have read, of how the first people along the coast were able to call in the dolphins to bring in the fish, as they moved along the coast, always when the time was right and when the fish were plentiful. It is not just in the information that we gain from a story like this, that lifts our hearts and spirits, but the feeling in the relationship, with the storyteller and those receiving the story and with the storyteller and those who feature in the story. So much is not spoken, but is still part of experiencing story. Much that is given is expanded through the connecting up of a range of experiences, which the listener, when in the field to listen openly, accesses and re-experiences within the story, energising new fibres in the fabric of the ‘story’.

It all has a magical quality. I use this word as it is beyond me to make complete logical sense of how it really works. I use it also as I feel sure it is not an accident that during that time I was gifted with some truly wonderful experiences with dolphins, both in captivity and in the wild. And then there are the dreams... The Dreaming is alive and well today in this country. That is yet another connection that is carried in story.