In Hawaiian tradition, there is something beyond normal conversation. It is called talking story. It means creating a meaningful conversation with others by sharing stories from your life and their importance to you, or discussing things that really matter to you in a truthful and open way.
It is an exposure of aspects of who you really are, an intimate form of relating to others.
I love it – I have always preferred ‘big talk’, and this is big talk, with a built-in respect for each other’s points of view and differences. When someone talks story with you, there is an understanding that their openness and honesty is received as a gift and the listener is non-judgemental, respectful and reciprocating, sharing their stories too.
During my recent visit to Maui, I was honoured in this way by Normand, a friend who lives there. He sat with me to talk story before dinner one evening, and chose to trust me with the stories of some very significant events in his life, ones that had changed his view of what life is about, and who we really are. The stories fascinated me, delighted me, moved me, and expanded my view of Normand to the fullness of what a lovely man he is – and I already thought he was lovely!
As I responded to his stories, so he took me further into them, showing me ‘treasures’ associated with them, and showing me his soul. It was genuinely heart connection: a sharing of our human-ness, our divinity, our uniqueness and our commonality.
This experience reminded me again that when we open our true selves to others, we share a richness that ordinary conversation just doesn’t give us. Talking story connects us to others in a loving, compassionate, honest way, and helps us to appreciate the wonder of human beings.
I received a gift beyond any price, and it will stay with me as a significant moment in my life, something to treasure. Thank you, Normand!