Published on May 30th, 2019 | by Paul Chen, Publisher0
Share Your Story!
Last month in this space, I penned an appreciation for our outgoing columnist Lucretia Robison, who, for one issue shy of two years, anchored the last piece of content in each issue, “Walking Each Other Home.”
It is a column that we have consistently published under one contributor’s byline, despite the fact that, at the end of the column, we’ve been gently requesting readers’ own stories of personal awakening all along.
Well, it’s time to raise the visibility of that request!
As originally conceived, “Walking Each Other Home” is intended to serve two purposes: The first is to be the embodiment and voice of the magazine.
To borrow a sports analogy, it’s like the difference between the play-by-play announcer and the color commentator. If philosophy, point of view, editorial scope and writing style make up what we think of as the play-by-play of our magazine, then “Walking Each Other Home” offers the distilled essence, its “color.” And thankfully, as I wrote last week, Lucretia has been reflective of that color. She has been our “quintessential reader—a woman … awakening in multiple ways and who is constantly striving to evolve.”
The second purpose of the column is to provide a space to simply share.
As I took on the role of publisher two years ago, I knew two things about sharing. Most important, by sharing, we remind others suffering in the same way that they are not alone. And in sharing and discovering that we’re not alone, community begins.
Community is a big deal to me, so much so that I helped build a physical one: East Lake Commons. Evolving a readership into a community is going to take a bit more time. But the starting point is building an awareness that Natural Awakenings is a platform for sharing.
By inviting you to share your story of awakening, whether that awakening is one of the heart, the body or the soul, we understand that is no small thing and that doing so in front of 50,000+ Atlantans can be a very scary thing. It takes immense courage just to be vulnerable with one human being, much less an entire city. We understand that the experience can be terrifying.
Which is why we say that while Natural Awakenings is asking you to share your story, you shouldn’t do so unless Spirit moves you, for when that happens, you can be assured that someone out there needs to hear your message and will benefit from it.
At the same time, we realize that showing up and being fully authentic can be healing. Indeed, we wrote in January 2018 about how Theresa Ward shared her story on stage: “There is no version of this [story] where I’m anything but the villain.” Ward comments further: “When you don’t out yourself, when you don’t admit your mistakes or when you don’t share them enough, then shame has a way of growing. They say time itself heals all wounds, but I think it has to be more than time.”
We believe that if you’re moved to share, the sharing will help you heal, and others will benefit as well. But we’ll not minimize how vulnerable and exposed the experience can be or how much courage might be required to share. That said, here are some words about vulnerability by Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, as a reminder of its role in our evolution:
Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.
Have a story of awakening to share with our readers in our “Walking Each Other Home” column? Contact managing editor Diane Eaton at editor@naAtlanta.com.
Paul Chen has been owner/publisher of Natural Awakenings Atlanta franchise since January 2017. He is a practicing Buddhist and a founding member of East Lake Commons, a cohousing community.