‘To have a life, you must have a story. In fact, many stories. … Your life is not like a story; it is a story. And if any part of it is to have significance beyond you, this story must be told.’ My story is not important because it is mine, as much as because if I tell it well, you will recognise that it is in many ways also yours – Frederick Buechner (cited in Daniel Taylor, Creating a Spiritual Legacy).
Sharing stories strengthens community: in this profound sharing of our lives, we nurture the teller of a story by hearing and thus affirming that person and their worth, which is a gift of healing. The teller of a story offers a gift of their life to the hearers of the story, who receive this gift as an affirmation of their humanity, and may find deeper understanding of their own story, and thus move towards greater wellbeing.
So stories encourage life.
Our passions enrich and encourage life, too, so as we consider story and what stories from our lives we might tell as a gift to others, what better place to start than with a passion that enriches our life, energy, wellbeing?
Starting tomorrow afternoon and continuing all day Friday and Monday, I am facilitating workshops in story, our stories, of passion, delight, joy, love, life.
The workshops are designed to invite participants to explore story, ways to shape it for effective sharing with others. How we tell a story is just as important as the story itself, for a well-shaped story will be more readily heard and received.
All humans have stories. All humans have a responsibility to share our stories with others, for the wellbeing of us all.
Sometimes we need help to find the stories that need to be heard. Sometimes we need help to give those stories shape. Sometimes we need encouragement when our courage is lacking.
That is what workshops like these aim to do: uncover the stories, coax them into shape so they can be heard, give courage.
If you are in Edinburgh, come along. You don't have to share your story at the Mental Health Arts Festival Café spaces at Augustine through October.
If you cannot come to these workshops, invite me to facilitate some story spaces in a community dear to you.
Stories encourage life, because a story needs a teller and a hearer, and full life comes in relationship with others.