Once we have found someone with whom we wish to share our story, we can offer this simple guide to him or her as to what they need to do to hear us:
Role of The Listener:
The role of the person listening to someone sharing his or her story is neither to endorse nor to condemn. The role is to witness the storyteller and listen. It is not the listener’s role to point out faults or problematic behavior. We listen with our full attention to every word that is shared.
We suggest that we sit to the side if eye contact is too uncomfortable to the person sharing their story. We only interrupt, gently, to ask for clarification or to murmur things like ‘Yes I know what that feels like’ or ‘Yes, that happened to me.’ Of course, this exercise can be undertaken via Skype or other online communication.
We make notes to help on guidance at the END of their story. Our role as listener is to help the sharer be clear on their part in their own story. Sometimes people genuinely will not see their part in something and need it gently pointed out, or people will take responsibility for problems and situations that aren't theirs. Sometimes they will take full responsibility for things they only had a part in. As the ‘witness’ it’s important to listen for that and help people be clear.
Once the story is completed, it is the job of the listener to offer the following:
* A balanced assessment of their strong points and points that can be worked on
* Help them understand how to do that so they can follow through onto the next section - ‘Resetting Our Path’
* Reflect on whether the person sharing their story has surrendered control and outcomes
* Have they truly trusted that their Higher Power is guiding them?
* Help them make a plan for following through to the following steps.
Sharing our story will take between one and two hours. During this time we finally get to tell another person, and our Higher Power, exactly what happened to us as children. We do this without the burning desire to deny it or warp it.
This part of A Program of Miracles is the critical point at which we finally come out of isolation.
Share Our Story
We may experience immense resistance as we break the family rule, ‘Don’t tell anyone what happened.’ We will need to summon real courage to push forward, knowing we’re about to let someone into these dark family secrets we thought were buried forever. It’s these secrets that have led us down a road of destruction and chaos. It is easier to find the courage to let these secrets out than to continue living a life full of fear, neglect and abuse.
We must also be clear about the harm we’ve done to others. Shame may follow us, but it will soon pass when we recognize the acceptance from another person and our Higher Power who understand that our harms were a direct consequence of us being harmed. Our harms, to ourselves and others, were a way of overcoming feelings of inferiority, shame or believing we were unacceptable. However, each time we harmed another or ourselves, we also moved away from our Higher Power. This brought a loss as a little piece of our soul was chipped away. If we have accumulated harms, then we also have accumulated loss, which helps us understand why we always feel on the verge of grief.
In sharing our story, we heal. Whatever it is that we don’t want to share the most is the one thing we need to share to be healed. We are terrified that the walls will come down if we share our most shameful secrets, guilt, anger, fear, and hurt. They will come down, but it won’t have the effect we think; we died behind those walls and now we have the chance to pull them down and start living in the presence of our Higher Power.
How To Share Our Story
With our trusted listener, we say a prayer to our Higher Power An example of this is as follows:
To my all knowing Higher power, I thank you for this opportunity to speak with an open heart to a trusted person about all that has taken part in my life. Please help me find compassion for myself and help me take responsibility for my actions. Please give me the grace and dignity to reclaim my hidden child within. Please help me open to your love and guidance. Amen.
We sit in a room, virtual or otherwise, and begin talking about what we have discovered in our program work so far. We can take the completed worksheets from our personal evaluation or simply speak from our self compassion. Once we begin to share we may find other memories and thoughts enter our hearts. Take time with this, because this is the Work that heals us. We don’t have to pay attention to our listener’s needs. This time is for our healing.
After sharing our story we return home and reflect, and say a prayer of thanks to our Higher Power for giving us this opportunity to share and recover.