Speaking & living my truth

Last week I was invited to speak at Leeds Story Party… to tell a story. The theme was Travellers Tales.

In the run up to the event I noticed an increasing nervousness… although I facilitate groups as a job these days, there is something very different about facilitating (which I see as holding space for the group) and telling my story… something about my having to put more of me into the space.

I was out of my comfort zone not being able to ask the audience questions… find out what they were interested in to position my story. Where were my flipcharts? coloured pens? theories and models? exercises and activities? I had no props… nothing to hide behind… it would just be me & my story…

If I’m honest I also had imposter syndrome… this group of people had truly amazing stories to tell… Did I? Was it worth listening to? Would I bore people? The whole ‘who am I?’ stuff was going on for me.

I had decided to tell the story of siting on a log… a story of stripping back life… shifting from living in a 3 bedroomed house in Lancashire with pretty much full time jobs, to living in a caravan on a hill in North Yorkshire working part time; to living in a bus, travelling around the coast of the UK, my husband & I working for ourselves a couple of days a month & swapping our services for somewhere to stay and homeschooling our kids. It was a story of letting go, trust, faith and connection. I told of how sitting on a log was our measure if success… if we have time to sit on a log… life is good. And how society tells us that success is ‘more’… we have to do more, work more, earn more, possess more, achieve more to be successful… but that in my experience, a life of less feels more like living.

I thought I’d get up & my nerves would disappear but they didn’t – I think I was even more nervous stood at the front of the room looking out at 35 pairs of eyes all looking expectantly in my direction! As I began to talk my throat went dry and my top lip did that thing where it sticks to your teeth!

So I told my story… speaking my truth about what is important to me… speaking about living my truth.

As I saw the 8 minute prompt go up I realised I was nearly at the end of my story & that I’d missed parts out, but it didn’t matter… I drew to a close with an update of life now… how we’ve settled on the Isle of Skye… are still in our bus and are noticing the creep of ‘more’ back into our lives of less, but staying conscious of that & talking as a family and designing life to be as we want it. I challenged the audience to think of their own measures of success… their ‘sitting on a log’… and left the floor. Phew! However nervous it’d made me, I’d done it!

The stories shared over the evening touched on themes of abuse, disappointment, suicide, choosing a different path, travel, trust, being open hearted and I laughed, cried, connected and took lots away to reflect on further. Practically, I also learnt from my fellow storytellers how to use my body and how to use the geography of the space to imply props and lead the audience through the story… and I’m sure I’d do it differently next time.

The biggest lesson I felt learnt about story telling is that the best stories are authentic… and that might mean not polished, with nerves and mistakes, but told from the heart.

Which makes me think that the best lives are just the same… not polished, with nerves and mistakes, but lived from the heart…

I recently took part in a Sacred sound ceremony with a lady called Lisa Marie McGrath who was visiting the Isle of Skye… she sees herself as a sacred drifter and travels the world offering her beautiful ceremonies… living true to her heart and what her heart calls her to do. One of the things that came out of the ceremony strongly for me was about vocalising… using my voice & I found myself saying at the end how much I’d struggled to vocalise the things she had asked of me… that speaking out feels big… that speaking out “feels I’m taking up more space in the world than I’m allowed”. No idea where that came from or why, but speaking at Leeds Story Party was a way of me stepping into that space… showing up and sharing my voice… taking my space in the world…

And I have a sneaky suspicious that that just the start!

So…

  • What are you being called to?
  • Where are you not speaking or living your truth?
  • What’s a small way of moving towards speaking or living your truth in the next week or two?

I’d love to hear from you…

Jo x