Stories to Nourish the Hearts of Our Children

by Laura Simms

“Every once in awhile, we humans get it right… Such is a the case with this book by Laura Simms, storyteller… A collection of 18 healing stories from around the world printed by the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation, Inc. Share the stories with your own children and know that many other children will benefit from your kindness.” – Chinaberry

The immensity and suddenness of the tragic loss of lives from the September 11th attacks is incomprehensible. The shock of the bombing of what appeared impenetrable cuts through all our dreams of safety from harm. At the same time, it is as if a knowledge that was within us all the time, invisible and true, has been uncovered: nothing lasts forever. Nothing, no matter how seemingly solid or valuable, is protected from the reality of impermanence.

As storytellers we have poignantly, even  humorously, expressed this truth a thousand times in our tales. In the very structure of the narrative process, we have taught it experientially with the beginnings, middles and ends of stories. To know that death is real is to render us more tender and whole. To know that everything changes is to make our life more precious and mysterious and meaningful.

In response to these difficult times, my call to action has been to gather traditional stories from around the world that can provide an internal place of peace and inner nourishment — to help us help others relax their minds from the insistent feelings of powerlessness and fear.  It is my hope that these stories can provide new and rich images particularly for our children to find ways to deal with tremendous overpowering feelings, and images, as stories have always done. It is also my intention to honor the basic human need to acknowledge impermanence as a way of sustaining sanity in a time of crisis.

The stories that I am speaking of, traditional tales, are very old and have always served to bring people together and to stimulate imagination. Where fresh energy and insight arise, the heart opens from within regardless of outer circumstance. An open heart is the gateway to fruitful mourning. It is a way of maintaining both the invisible and the real connection to the living and to those deceased through memory, heart, or spirit.

These stories contain seeds of healing. The seeds are fertilized through the special act of telling. Storytelling is never a solo performance of one person speaking something at another. Thus, the dynamic process, as well as the images and meanings evoked by the unique reception of image in listening, exercise the inner muscles of intuition, and emotional intelligence necessary to function in such times of crisis.

No matter how many buildings are destroyed, what can not be destroyed is the power of our minds and hearts to find meaning, to know inherent goodness, to love and to feel renewed.  Real stories told and heard do not thrust into fantasy, but engage us in an experience of the world as it is. This is the invisible ordinary magic of the process of storytelling.


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