The exchange rate of sharing meaningful stories, meaningful connections.‏

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Sharing stories “as a people”, not only in the written word but as well for instance at a campfire in the evening,  gives “connection”.

Well, at least this was my experience and somehow it still is.  And at times it makes a lasting impression. I remember, if you don’t mind me telling you this, that when I was young and went to sailing camps for teenagers at the lakes of Friesland, in the far north of the country of my origin, we often had those camp fires, – in the evening usually. And we shared lots of stories. Lots of fun.

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Stories were also told at home when I was really young. At school as well. Some primary school teachers, who told at times stories when we “behaved” well, were really masters in fantasy and telling those narratives. We were always looking forward to this as a class, often at the end of the day, or on a Friday before the weekend. It was always a good closure of the week, even when some stories were close to a nail-biting build up of tension.
And then really  the astonishing school bell which at once stopped the story, –  and the message of the teacher that it would be continued next week, – provided , yes provided, we “behaved” well.  Away the dreaming,  and away the group connection you felt in those moments. But it would come back, provided we “behaved”. – provided I would “behave” perhaps.
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You may remind some of those things as well, perhaps.

Later on, when I was invited with Polish friends after an Albert Schweitzer symposium in Deventer, we (my wife as well) did visit Kraków and were introduced to the family. (The Polish family we met in Amsterdam, by the way, – after this two days lasting symposium)..
We were also introduced into other families at the time.

I was amazed by the hospitality and generosity. And though I not clearly enough expressed my gratitude perhaps for all this being encountered at young age, I still feel the appreciation what it did to me at the time. Sometimes you realise that such thing in retrospect. There is lots of goodness around in people and you often recognise this in the stories they tell, the genuine experiences.  All this, by the way, was at the time that Jaruzelski was the leader in Poland,- before Lech Walesa took over eventually as the first free elected Polish President. But meanwhile was a period of political tension as it was still the question whether Russia would invade the country to re-establish control. Mind you, what this meant for the Polish people.
Image result for hilarious quote on Leonid BrezhnevBrezhnev and Honecker, – meaningful??

And mind you, this was a time of telling stories, stories around the table, stories around campfires in the mountains, jokes about the hated Leonid Brezhnev in Russia. We always 
made sure excessive jokes were not made at home, in case conversations were intercepted perhaps, as one never knew for certain.

So you see, times of stress or at times of suppression, the telling of stories together goes quite easily and it gives at times sort of attachment to each around.

In the childhood camps eg, for sure, it was part of “romantic stories” on occasions, funny jokes, sometimes bible stories. But also stories now and then about the leaders of some earlier sailing camps, other camps in the past, – and even sometimes about the war, Auschwitz included. For your information, those camps took place in the Netherlands and in those years kids  brought up sometimes very vivid memories from their parents, who sustained WW2.
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To be honest, – I am missing a bit of “the story telling” now… Life, though it has depth and intensity, however, – appears in other ways more superficial someway. You see that people are looking for connection, but can’t get it. Their families are disrupted, children are on the drugs, too many separations.
The recreational use of ICE has an increasing impact on the minds of young people, and so on their families or friends. We have the encounters here as well in the local hospital where I work, the drug problems etc . Are we at risk that the younger generation may get lost at a larger degree than the last generation?
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Coming back on stories (again!), for sure, our kids were told MANY stories when they were young. I loved them telling stories and they still remember them. You see , the power of stories for receptive minds. But rarely I do hear the kind of stories as I heard them in the past myself, during times of suppression elsewhere or with a nice group of people around a campfire.
Often, “the entertaining” now is over a BBQ, and more and more rarely I get engaged in this. We live in an area where footy and some other sports are very popular and I can’t pretend I have too much liking of those particular sports and the related entertainment as such. Apart from the “drinking culture”, which is much here. And certainly, in this fairly remote area, not too much else perhaps is on offer.
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My weakness, if you wish, is my real longing for connecting with people from different cultures in meaningful and sustained ways. My craving is to hear from others, their own stories, which helps me to reach out as well with my own experiences, and the sharing of all this, – but also the mingling of different perceptions and the insights this provides, apart from the mutual spiritual enlargement this may offer at times. But how rarely this occurs, how often are people only preoccupied with their own image, profile or their own success stories.
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For sure, I have a LinkedIn profile, like many others, – but really, how much does this tell?
Is it telling the real story or is it only what we want others to believe? For myself this blog provides more information than my factual profile on LinkedIn, which as a profile is only average. But anyway:
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The interesting thing is that behind each story there is a person, often hidden behind a carefully crafted image or ego. And stories are important, important to share, as it is a way of reaching each other, a way of connecting with each other. And perhaps resolve an element of loneliness. The loneliness often hidden behind the façade of an image, whether it is a profile on a website or the way people present themselves. Presenting themselves with the believe that repetitive slogans of positive thinking is the cure for lacking real connections, regardless that they are known to many people.
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Therefore start again to tell each other stories, be funny with this, do this with a sense of humor.  And in doing so ask each other questions, – and with the same fun and wit one may get to know each other better. And when you get precious to each other keep cultivating the connection, as connections are so important, – regardless the often rigid rules of gender in all this, the gender related preconceptions. The last so often being a barrier for warm-hearted cross-gender connections… Whereas those barriers don’t exist in a meaningful inter-human attachment, as just this may enrich life, –  part of the greater connection we all have. A connection not based on gender, but a connection based on the linkage of human beings. A connection where the exchange rate of cross-cultural experiences provides better value for each their personal and spiritual growth.
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And all this starts with stories you know, to dare the adventure to break the cycle of narrow standards, the last which has nothing to do with real ethics or morals or values.  Narrow dogmatic regulations, engraved through upbringing, religion or others, may keep a culture confined to the simple fact that “boys speak about footy and politics” and “girls chat about shopping and make-up”. For sure, the last being said in the most extreme.  But when an inter-connection takes place and people speak with each other in sustained ways,  it is said that one need to be careful with the gender, as it could turn out “wrong”…  And for sure, at times things go “wrong”, at times people do cheat, – but is the last the benchmark to speak judgement about those who love from a different perception than what is common standard? Is the affection between people not far more important than the common fear of “crossing the lines”?
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It starts all with stories you know, and stories do connect, real connection may give affection. And this “warmth” is not limited to any one race or religion. Neither is this restricted to any one colour nor any one gender, or (for many!) the “holy wedlock”. As none of this is of any prophetic value that things go “wrong” and that people do “cheat”, – regardless that some may do indeed as they cross the standard that one should not harm, neither destroy nor mix up life in any identity. That some as such pay the price of both loosing one or more connections because they did not value the connections on the real goodness we all be worthy, and in which we lay no claim on each other, is an other story.
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The golden rule in any meaningful connection or relation is that we do not harm, do not bring hurt where this can or should be avoided. And if we are really free in spirit we do this anyhow by instinct, as instinct warns us for things out of favour as we behold the whole picture in our mindfulness. The last as part of the best possible decision we should be able to make in any set of circumstances.
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And there may be lots of them, but the last should not be the norm and for sure not a deterrent to dare to live with one and other,  and to dare to grow with one and other, –  and to share in sorrow and tribulations. As part of real connections in the short lifespan we have, before we get old and demented and forgot that we ever thrived, forgot that we ever flourished and lastly forgot that we ever loved in this lifetime. However this love for life being once embraced will never be terminal but always transitional, as long as we lived it, in true living and in true life, – with both the conviction and the courage that the real standard of love is not what we can keep to ourselves, but what we share with others in giving, providing, – and caring. The last with justice at the core of our hearts.
Interesting as a story?
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Feel free to tell your story, as you have a great story, – even if you don’t think so.  
Really, – by choice!
And in this we can honour and improve life where possible, and to make more gentle the life of this world. In this we can share our stories of goodwill and get a greater understanding. A greater understanding of those nearby and those being far away. A greater understanding of those we know, those we like and those we love.  And mind you, in all this, – understanding is more than knowledge. It is much deeper than this as it is touching base on being forgiving, compassionate and discerning, – and this is what we need in life. And if we are able to reach out to each other with our stories, more people are able to say that apart from knowing each other, they understand each other. That is maturity you know. It is not speaking about the gigantic stuff. It starts when we understand the little things from each other.
Would you agree?
Thank you so much!!

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