Friday, January 31, 2014
I Love Stories!
I love stories. I love to read stories, to hear them told and to tell stories myself. I love to make up stories. "Where did it happen and when did it happen? Where and when did it not happen?"
Stories are so enriching and nourishing. In a story I can experience other people, other cultures, other worlds, - all that is other - and that gives me perspective on my situation. Stories inform my own reality and experiences and help to give me context.
What is a story? In the most basic, a story depicts a sequence of events. There is a situation and it unfolds over time. But much more than that, I think a story is a teaching, a token, a symbol, and an essence for something that is much larger and all encompassing. It is through story that we can find meaning - perhaps story is the mechanism by which we attribute meaning to our world
And we all have our own story. It is how we view ourselves in relation to the world. We rely on that personal story as our guide to interpreting our experiences. The amazing thing about us human beings is that we can change our story to help our self to overcome old patterns and habits that we no longer find useful.
Rewriting one’s own story can be easy to do. It is much hard to decide to rewrite, and commit to a new story. But we all have inside us an amazing, creative and powerful storyteller that is waiting to be allowed to speak.
"Once upon a time..."
There is a hunger in us for story, for the flow of images that describes transformation of situations. Our culture is full of traditional stories, published books, movies, and more. The advertising industry relies on us hungering for story so they try and write our story for us. ‘This is what you need to accomplish these goals’ (the goals also are instilled by advertisers, but that is another story).
Our soul yearns for the information we receive from the flow of images in stories - and we are continually asking ‘are these images true?’ Is this true for me? That is how we exercise a thinking of the heart. In our time of the exalted god of left-brain, analytical thinking, the thinking of the heart is undervalued and underused yet the heart determines if imagination is true. Arguing with someone is a clash of ideas and uses the intellect. To truly change someone’s mind, we can change their heart. Story is a tool for this. Many great teachers over the millennia have used stories as teaching tools. The magical power of story is that it is received by the heart, not the head. And stories that the heart feels are true become part of one’s reality, part of one’s structure, perhaps even all the way down into the physical body. Seriously. This is powerful stuff. It can be medicine!
A practice involving the writing of stories, the creating your own stories, can be a tool for self-development, and we can learn how to help others heal by the stories we create and tell to them, both adults and children. Wouldn’t it be incredible if we could know just what story to tell a child, or a friend, to bring them the images they need to lessen their suffering and allow them to remove some of their own obstacles?
Here is a link to a story that flowed out of me while contemplating a particular situation that I knew called for a story. There was a kindergarten festival coming up, and there were the children in the group that year. And then this story came.
Making up stories can be scary. Part of our own story might be the voice that says; “I can’t create a story.” “I’m no good at it.” “I am not imaginative enough.” Do you hear that voice?
There are some people who can make story-making less daunting and more accessible. One of these is Nancy Mellon, story making encourager extraordinaire. Nancy has written several books which are fantastic resources in this work. (http://www.healingstory.com/)
And for those folks near Santa Cruz, California, we can discover the joy of storymaking at a workshop she is offering on February 22 called ‘How the Body Speaks: the Healing Power of Story.’ (more info at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/565380)
I have gone to a couple workshops already with Nancy and can only say that you will be glad you went. Nancy is my hero in the land of story making.
He who understands the sense of speech,
To him the world reveals itself as picture;
He who hears the soul of speech,
To him the world unfolds itself as being;
He who experiences the spirit of speech,
To him the world bestows the power of wisdom;
He who can find the love for speech,
To him the world imparts its own true might.
So will I turn my heart and mind
To the soul and spirit of the word,
And in my love for it
Begin to wholly experience myself.