By Amanda Moreno
Lately, my soul has been longing for quiet. I consider myself to be a city girl in so many ways and for so many reasons, but the fact of the matter is that cities are loud. For someone who is growing into her sensitivities, the constant sounds of planes, trains, automobiles, humans, dogs and so on can become abrasive, even maddening.
I often imagine living in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but the noise of birds, winds and water to accompany me.
In the middle of a two-week trip to the East Coast, I have found myself unexpectedly spending some time in Brooklyn and New York City. At first I was anxious about it. There’s so much to do, so many decisions to be made and so much humanity to navigate in the city. On the heels of five days in a tiny town where I was helping souls to navigate past-life memories and the afterlife, I wasn’t sure coming to the city was the right decision, as I usually need quiet integration time.
Today, however, I found myself wandering through the city quite mindlessly and enjoying the hell out of it. Getting on trains, taking them uptown, then downtown, and leaning into the sea of humanity that is this big, beautiful city. I found myself asking the people in each establishment I visited where to go next and then following the routes they laid out. I noticed the feeling of being completely alone and yet entirely engulfed in a complex web of intertwining realities and dreams.
I experienced an interesting combination of feeling completely free and yet totally bound up in the rhythms of the city. New York City truly is a dimension all its own. Everyone is a stranger, and yet the awareness is there — everyone has a story and is carrying around so much under the surface.
At the training, I was honored to witness the incredible bravery of the 12 students as they plunged into some of their deepest traumas and compulsions in order to embrace the opportunity to heal. Looking around the opening circle on the first day, everyone seemed bright and cheery with an undertone of anxiety and fear. Then, as their stories began to come out, I remembered — people seeking deep soul work very rarely tell stories of ordinary lives. The places we can go to hear these stories, and the places they can go to tell these stories, are very limited.
The power of storytelling is quite profound. Sitting in silence and listening as the students told their stories in the circle, or even participating in shared storytelling around the dinner table, I was taken by the awareness of a simple truth that is so obvious and yet understated: you really can’t tell what someone is carrying around just by looking at them. You often can’t even tell by spending a little bit of time with them. I was also taken by the knowledge that we are so very lucky to have the container of the training to experience that opening and witnessing.
I met someone at the training who came over from Australia. We launched into an intense, personal story-telling conversation on the first night that lasted a few hours. During the course of the conversation she told me that she knows of 12 men between the ages of 19-25 who have committed suicide in the past few years in her hometown. I was shocked to hear the number, and shocked to learn that the Australian government apparently has a rule that suicide stories can’t be covered in the news.
We talked a bit about her thoughts as to why these boys had chosen to end their lives. She spoke of their isolation, or a lack of meaning, and we later related it to the lack of outlets for witnessing and storytelling and the alienation of the modern world. Surely each of them had their own story and own complex reasons for doing what they did, but still — there is a pervasive loneliness attached to being in the world today.
Context is everything. We don’t know the experiences people are carrying around that have led them to be who they are or to behave how they are behaving. As this Mercury retrograde period comes to a close and we head into a Libra Moon cycle, I’m called to reflect on how often I tend to forget this simple truth.
I’m also called to remind myself about the importance of authentic interactions — with an eye on what my intuition is telling me about the interaction, at the same time as I make a point of listening to what the other is saying and holding space for their story to come forward. Sometimes that balance is hard to find, as it can be when I am feeling over-stimulated or overwhelmed.
That is part of my own story, however. And it is up to me own that and do what I need to do to decompress and come back into myself. I do so with a blessed recognition that there are so many other people out there right now aiming to work through their hurts and pains, and embracing joy and love in spite of — or because of — their own complex and rich stories.