An inspiring story can set us free, and a worn out tale can trap us. Storytelling is a powerful way to learn. Through story, we can also track our own personal growth and evolution. Who doesn’t love a good story?
I have learned over the years as a teacher that engagement in the learning process always skyrocketed if I started to tell a story. Well, at least most of the time! As human beings, we are intrigued by story and usually find this a more entertaining way to gather information and learn about something. It certainly beats being bombarded by technical information, data, and graphs.
There is something about Storytelling that helps us to make the information personally relevant and meaningful. As a means towards recognizing and embracing our personal growth and evolution, storytelling provides the opportunity for insight and revelation through the process of sharing our experience. That is, of course, as long as the story we are telling has us at the center of the action.
Have you ever had that experience of sitting with someone, sharing a story, when suddenly you are struck with a profound insight which is your version of a light bulb moment? Through talking it out and reviewing what happened, you were able to see something in a new light and embrace the emergence of a fresh perspective. Perhaps, you find yourself answering your own question.
The power of story has the potential to unite us, to help us find common ground with each other and make sense out of our experiences. Story takes information and makes it relatable. Story connects us.
Storytelling can also be used in a detrimental way when we find ourselves spinning the same old tale, yet again and forming an identity around what has already happened. This is where self-fulfilling prophecies are born and bred.
It is true that we all have a story. It is also true that we are the authors of that story. We have developed the plot, attracted the characters, and we have the opportunity to choose our own ending.
Storytelling in Service
For many of us in Vocations of Service, personal story is a central focus. We meet with people and learn about who they are and where they are at as they share their personal stories with us.
At times, the repetition of a story may be part of the process towards healing, releasing and integration. I think especially in terms of loss, trauma and tragedy. During times like these, telling the story can be a helpful way of working through grief and bewilderment. We need to hear ourselves speaking out loud about what actually happened so we can realize that it did. Being witnessed in that process can also help us to feel that we are honored in our experience and held in a safe place in which we can explore its meaning in our lives.
When the story stays stuck on a certain track and becomes a means of identifying ourselves, we have moved into a less helpful and potentially dangerous zone. It is in this place that people find themselves trapped inside a mental box, which may result in feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
“Well, this is just how I am.”
“This is the way it always turns out.”
“This is the story of my life.”
And I could go on and on. These expressions are laden with giving up and giving in and repeating those stories that uphold these beliefs can be very detrimental.
Making the connections between what happened before and what is happening now is one of the first steps we can take in re-writing the story. This is the point where the new chapter begins.
So, what’s your story? Are you sticking to it? You are holding the writing instrument to the inside of your own heart. What’s the first word?
In your Service to others, consider how you might act as a muse to the creation of their new story.
The next episode of Serving Consciously airs live at 12pm (PST) on Friday April 28, 2017 at www.ctrnetwork.com. Our theme that day will zero in on the fine art of Storytelling as a means for Self-Connection and the creation of Transformative Relationships. I am honored to introduce my guest for that episode, Gyda Chud.
Gyda Chud has near a 40 year commitment to the Early Childhood sector as former Co-coordinator of the ECE Program at Vancouver Community College and Dean of Continuing Studies. She also served as the chair of the Child Care Human Resource Sector Council
While partially retired, she remains as a faculty member with the Program and also as the chair of the ECE Faculty Forum, a pan- Canadian gathering of ECE Faculty.
Gyda is an author of several books on Diversity and Inclusion in Early Childhood and has also lead several BC Provincial Ministry guided Curriculum Development Initiatives.
And she is a Master Story Teller! Please plan to tune in.
Elizabeth Bishop is the creator of the Conscious Service Approach designed to support helping professionals to reconnect with and fulfill their desire to make a difference in the lives of those they support. Following the completion of a diploma in Developmental Services and a degree in Psychology and Religious Studies, she completed a Masters in Adult Education through St. Francis Xavier University, providing the opportunity to test and refine the elements of the Conscious Service Approach. Elizabeth is the host of Serving Consciously, a new show on Contact Talk Radio. Simply tune in to www.ctrnetwork.com and click Listen Live at 12pm PST every 2nd and 4th Friday.