Tuesday, September 13, 2005

My Commissioning as a Storyteller, Mohican State Park, Saturday, September 10, 2005

Dear Friends:

I just returned from the OPA (Ohio Psychological Assn) Retreat on the Union between Psychology and Spirituality, held at the stunningly beautiful Mohican State Park, near Belleville, northern Ohio. Some forty psychologists and other participated in some 14 workshops. I was privileged to lead one on Celtic Spirituality, and share leadership in another on Dreamwork: A process, led by Rick Reckman, who has pioneered in organizing and leading this new dimension of Continuing Education for Ohio Psychologists.

I was not sure how I would structure my three hour workshop when I went out the door here at home to leave for Ohio on Thursday afternoon. Someone just communicated via email of her appreciation of a creation story I did with drumming at an independent Catholic annual convention in Louisville some years ago. I have done very little storytelling with drumming, hardly none in the past three years. So I picked up the drum (a beautiful drum lent me by Mike Kavanaugh and Ann Siudmak, dear SGN friends - See Spiritual Growth Network blog)on the possiblity that I might be inspired on the way to use the drum and some storytelling as part of my presentation.

My creative brain always seems to work well while I am driving. So I imagined more concretely how I might do so in a manner that would promote the purpose of the workshop, and then, when I got there, I just did it, the next morning.

Well, there was another storyteller present in my workshop, an amazing woman who is 97 years young. She was taken with my ability to use the drum in my storytelling, as it reminded her of another storyteller she had greatly admired. She told me so at the end of the workshop.

That afternoon, Rick and I shared a workshop on Dreaming. His summons, overnight, was to address our Inner Teacher to reveal to us our heart's desire, to write it down and bring it the next morning to the group.

I awoke knowing that my heart's desire was to become a famous storyteller, not famous in terms of travel which I do less and less at three score and 16, but reaching many, touching hearts with God’s love. However, I first argued with God that my drumming was a minor talent. She agreed. I argued that my harmonica playing (which I sometimes also do and can do along with drumming) was also a minor talent. She agreed. Then she said "Your heart is a major talent." I said I agreed, tho it was not always a wise one. I then offered that my imagination was probably more than a minor talent. She agreed.

Then, there seemed to be a long silence. Finally she said, "I have given you love and amazement which you are passionate to share with others." I said I had to agree, and that was an un-deserved, unearned gift, especially the last four years. I have been living with gratitude, humility and increasing amazement at my life and relationships and opportunities. The giftedness of my life is incredible. I walk in wonder and awe at it all. Coincidence, serendipity, synchronicity everywhere.

Then she said and here is where she really spoke to my heart of hearts. "You have no choice but to share you sense of giftedness and amazement with others." And it is the very giving that is the reward, not any other outcomes. Does not matter if to some I appear silly or foolish. "You ARE a love, an amazement. That is your calling and your passion. Go do it." She said. "Be a fool for my amazement."

That last word really got me!

The next morning I am doubtful about all this. I call Olga to meet her for breakfast to ask her THE question. Has she just "kissed the blarney stone" in her warm affirmation of my drumming and storytelling. Her daughter, Ellen, a psychologist with whom she had come, said "No, she had talked much last night about the impact of my drumming combined with story telling." Olga then assured me that I was already ready, that I did not "need" her mentoring, that I had the gift. (My wife and a few others, have also told me I have a gift of storytelling, which is also common in her family, although this feedback from her has not always been complimentary, as she has been skeptically amused whether at times I have not enhanced my stories.)

Aside: Are not stories always enhanced? Is this not part of the storytelling ART?

Then Olga Boone and her daughter later go another step, at our lunch together on the final day of the retreat, yesterday when we all together for the last times, she gets up to announce that I will do my gig of drumming and tell the story I told our small workshop to the entire group of those attending the retreat. I take a deep breath. I have never performed on request for any group. My first ever performance on request. Hyphenated story, some improvisation / enhancement, spirit led for the occasion, and applause was vigorous. I truly felt affirmed and endorsed. So I will continue to envision and develop this way of healing. After all, it was Jesus' own way, and his stories still entrance us and tease us out of our ego-driven frames and cages. Should I not aspire to walk in his path and share the gifts I have been given?

I have to say "Thank you, Olga-Eva, goddess of amazement, for arranging this ordination ceremony, and affirmation for me." Your sense of adventure, love of life, have affirmed my own. This morning I created on my computer a greeting card for you to say my thank you for meeting you. Cynthia, last name lost, sitting next to me for lunch, a young woman therapist who shared earlier how she had taken an early morning walk to watch the sun rise over the awesome lake there, and had spent some two hours in amazement at the beauty outside, (and later in the Saturday p.m. workshop shared another piece of her own inner beauty) was also amazed at my ability to improvisize in the telling, which was another affirmation for this neophyte storyteling drummer.

Since this is my newest empowerment "ordination" story, I will also start a new blog on storytelling and drumming for ongoing focus and feedback, to center my energy and to invite others into storytelling and amazement.

I will admit and affirm that both the book and the audio tapes on Beauty, by John O' Donohue have primed me into readiness for this summons.

I wish also to thank Rick Reckman of Cincinnati, for organizing this event and for inviting me to lead this workshop on Celtic Spirituality. Accepting new challenges like this always seems to bring out new parts of me but better still, new awareness of this Mystery that we are all part of, and sometimes even new ways to touch others.

Overnight, Olga had looked up my home address and found it to be "Lofgren," which she said was her mother's maiden name. At this point I am more than slightly over-whelmed and do not think I remember all of that detail clearly at all.

Thank you, Lord, for today
and for all of these
amazing coincidences.
It was a coincidence that I got that email message three days ago from that person who heard my storytelling and drumming some 7 years ago, and that I picked up the drum as I went out the door to leave for Ohio.
Did not someone once say that
"coincidence" was simply God's way of
remaining anonymous, so we could live by
faith, in love?
What is also amazing is that the more I give
then the more I seem to have to give. Truly.
I find both new energies and new ways to give.
I will be a fool for God's Amazement.
This is my theme, and both the end of my story
and the beginning of the "rest of the story. . ."

Paschal Baute
priest, poet, psychologist,
author, storyteller.
September 11, 2005

"Have drum, will travel"
Lexington only, please.
(knees and eyes not good for more than this)

Other story telling work underway:
We are completing the second printing of our first book,
Hidden Lions: Pitfalls of Leadership: A True Story by a Manager
with Critical Analysis by an Organizational Psychologist

Copyright, Paschal Baute and Steve Mobley, 2003.
We shall use this in Seminar 3 course, Critical Evaluation of
Leadership, in the Human Resource Management program at
School for Career Development, Midway College,
where David Cooke and myself are co-chairs of that HRM program.
We hope to re-activate our web page / blog for this book soon.


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