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Posted on:  May 21, 2016 @ 10:55 Posted in:  Podcasts
Posted on:  May 21, 2016 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Power/Leadership
Our primal, natural place in the great weaving of life on this planet is not dominion, but sacred communion and protection. Of all of the Earth’s life forms, we have been given the gift of creative expression to give voice to the beauty and wonders of this world.
This is what my deep dreaming tells me.
I wake up in the early hours of the morning, still half in my dreamscape. In my dream, I am writing about the country walk I had taken with my partner the night before.
I record the sensual minutia of the natural world: the slow track of a jet-black snail, with a thin band of shiny, silver slime marking its passage; the nuanced scents of the surrounding forest and farmland with hints of resin, flowers, and sun-warmed earth; the gun-smoke gray of the twilight sky juxtaposed against the rich chestnut of a horse’s coat; and a weighty silence that marks the fading of day into night.
As I slowly emerge from this dreaming, I bring with me a fierce, full-body love and awe that speak to my primal communion with the living landscape, and inspire the writing flowing from my heart onto the blank page.
And I see, with the soulful clarity that sometimes slips through from the dreaming to the waking world, that we humans are the storytellers and stewards of the beauty and wonder of this place, the Earth, we call home.
I invite you into my dream world to experience this fierce, full-body truth for yourself.
Posted on:  Aug 9, 2015 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Everyday Magic, From the Tale
My feet lead me to the weathered boardwalk that meanders alongside Ganges’s waterfront. A salty, moisture-laden wind dampens my face and hair, and serenades me with a melancholy, clanking tune strummed on the sailboat halyards. The slate gray sky, congealed into a cloak of mean-looking vapors, extends downward to the choppy, black-tinged ocean waters; each seems to be vying with the other to perfect their expressive malaise. Gulls swoop and screech in the threatening shadow of an overhead bald eagle.
I walk a short distance and then stop to rest my elbows on the walkway railing; its surface is cracked and faded to a dull, gray-brown from exposure to the unrelenting elements.
Everything in nature was beautiful to my Opa, from the yellow-on-yellow of a dandelion basking in the summer sun to the brown sludge of rotting, late-autumn leaves. Even the tufts of grass reaching through the cracks in the schoolyard pavement elicited his admiration.
“Look, Sarah,” he said one afternoon when I was playing hopscotch at a school near his home, “Under this hard, hard concrete, little seeds dig their roots into the brown soil and stretch their green arms to the sun. All around us Mother Nature gifts us with Her acts of beauty. Even a tiny blade of grass can remind us that life is lovely and good, and can make us feel better when we are hurt or sad.”
What would Opa Kass notice if he was here with me now?
With renewed vision, I take in the subtle shades of smoky gray and mauve in the textured folds of the clouds. From the boat riggings, the staccato cries of a blue-crested bird ring out before it dives headlong, streaking downward, like a feathered bullet, into the frothing waves. Close to shore I spot schools of tiny, silver fish, flashing like bits of captured sunlight, and a large, blue-purple crab scuttling sideways between rocks festooned with starfish in hues of soft purple, pink and orange.
Posted on:  Aug 8, 2015 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Everyday Magic, Pathwork
I am sitting in a coffee shop. There are two older men beside me, lost in conversation. They lean close to each other. Their hands are gesticulating, their bodies are moving and their faces are animated. This is not an exchange of facts; they are sharing stories. What they are saying, how they say it, and how they hear each other, all these things are inseparable from their personal, meaning-making bubbles.
This week, bring this insight to the exchanges in your everyday life. Focus on the people you know well, such as a best friend, partner, parent, child or co-worker. Understand that their words, body language and reactions spring from their personal story-telling reality. Listen well, not only to their words but your own reactions.
Choose one of your trickier relationships, where something the other person says or does generates a strong reaction in you, either positive or negative. Rather than going into your typical reactions, shift to a place of neutrality and curiosity when you are engaged with this person. Let yourself feel and sense his/her story, not so much the words themselves but the energy behind the words.
If you find yourself reacting, take a couple of deep breaths and let it go. Accept that you don’t live inside someone else’s reality so you can never truly know their personal story, and why they think and act as they do. Your reactions are about yourself, not about the other person. When you are lost in your reactions, they dampen your compassion and lock you into existing dynamics. Only by stepping outside your reactionary stance, and listening with an open heart and good intention, can you shift the troubled places in your relationship.
Practice this exercise with the person over and over; see if it can change the interpersonal dynamics and your personal, meaning-making stories with this individual.
One of my most powerful experiences of this exercise was with my father. Mostly my relationship with him was very positive, but every time he shared stories, laced with lavish praise, about my older brother or his son, I would plunge into negative reaction mode. After one such exchange, it came to me that my father deserved better from me, and I was wasting our precious time together.
So I decide instead to listen to him, with my heart wide open, when he told these stories. I didn’t try to understand or analyze. I didn’t judge or react. I just listened from a place of love and curiosity. What I heard between the lines was my dad’s struggle with getting older and losing his male strength. What I felt was an older story, a deep reason my dad needed this part of his meaning-making bubble, that had nothing to do with me and everything to do with his own soul’s journey.
In this opening and deep listening, I let my own story melt. It lost its power over me and its taint of my relationship with my dad. In its place, there was clean, pure love between us. Without these distortions, I could hear and receive my dad’s lavish praise and respect for me, my child and all the rest of my siblings, nieces and nephews, each according to our gifts and measure.
Have I replaced one story with another? Absolutely, but by changing the source of my meaning-making, I put an old, painful story to rest and let a new one blossom in its place, based on my adult experience of my dad in all his complexity and beauty.
Related Post: The Power of Story
Posted on:  Aug 5, 2015 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Everyday Magic, Pathwork
To change our lives, we need to step beyond the blinders and restrictions of our personal, meaning-making bubble and begin to reclaim and retell the stories that inform our lives.
Our personal, meaning-making bubble is elusive; it is everywhere and nowhere at the same time, seamlessly woven into our every belief, thought, word and action. Yet we can catch its outward markers by the tail and pull them closer for a critical examination.
This week, begin to track how you story-tell your life. The first step in this work is to embrace the notion that everything you experience is subjective. Even if there is such a thing as an objective, indisputable reality, you can only ever connect with it through the lens of your personal meaning-making. You need to become genuinely curious about the stories you tell yourself about your life. If you are attached to your stories, it is harder to bring them to the surface of your awareness.
Next, pay close attention to the stories inside your head and the ones you say out loud. Story, in this context, shows itself in the extra layer of meaning and interpretation you put on a situation or person. Think of yourself as a tracker, following the clues your personal bubble leaves behind through your thoughts, words and choices. Start with the moments when you feel an extra flush of emotion or an overreaction. Also look for repeating stories or themes. Dreams or synchronistic experiences may come to you that provide additional clues.
Write down the words you hear in your head. Write down the story you tell your best friend after an agitating situation. Write down the conversation you had with your mother that sounds just like the one you had last week and the week before that. Write down the things you tell yourself you can’t do, you want to do, and you are great at doing. Write down the dreams that wake you from a deep sleep or that haunt you through the rest of the day.
It is essential not to judge yourself, because this just adds another level of meaning making. Don’t overly analyze what you are observing and finding out about yourself. Just track and gather clues that can help you know yourself and your personal bubble reality more clearly.
Related Post: The Power of Story