Monday, July 8, 2019

Courage to Claim Our Callings

written by Rose van der Berg

My mouth was so dry my lips stuck together. I felt dizzy. I was next on stage at a story slam.

I wasn’t afraid to tell. I was afraid to tell what I brought. It was a story about healing shame that called me to craft and voice it.

I expected fear of vulnerability. I was unprepared for fear of being the participant who disappointed by poking a hole in the balloon of laughter generated by six funny tales before me.

I frantically searched my brain for a jolly yarn to offer. Self-doubt

Then I remembered words from a talk given by a peace activist named Peace Pilgrim: “trust in your own inner voice…become acquainted with the things you fear”.

I whispered those words as I walked to the mic – and told the story I came to share.
Instead of falling short, my telling was well-received. People came to me and related their experiences with reclaiming self-worth.

The response reminded me of more wisdom from Peace Pilgrim: “…there’s something greater than you going on when you are urged from inside to create and express, or do, what is out of the ordinary…have faith things will work out if you follow where you feel led.”

Peace Pilgrim was an incredible example of daring to honor inner guidance to do something unusual. She stepped out in faith when she felt a calling to go on a pilgrimage for peace in 1952. She crisscrossed the U.S. on foot seven times from 1953 until her death in 1981. She influenced thousands of people with talks at schools and churches. She had no possessions or money. She was provided with food and shelter during 28 years of walking by those who were moved by her message.
You can learn about her at:

Watch the 60-minute documentary on YouTube:

“Peace”, as many called her, used stories to illustrate actions we can take to grow into our full potential to help make a more peaceful world.

The art of storytelling fosters peace by creating connection.

Here are 3 ways we can grow into our full potential as story artists from Peace Pilgrim:
  1. Spend time in receptive silence. Take breaks from mental noise and distractions to connect with, listen to, and strengthen our authentic self.
  2. Believe in instincts that call us beyond what’s safe and familiar. They’re summoning us to bless others with a gift only we can give.
  3. Make friends with fear of how the world might meet what we’re inspired to do. The forces of life will arise to meet us when we say yes to inner promptings.

Rose van der Berg is a professional storyteller and founder/director of Bridges Storytelling ™, an inclusive community arts program promoting peace by empowering people to craft and exchange personal stories.