On Sunday 15 June, ten women met a tiger in Chester. A tiger and a shaman – and a courageous woman. Had the Circus come to town? Or maybe an animal had escaped from Chester Zoo? You’d be forgiven if you thought so. In fact, 15 June was the launch of The Story Café. The Tale of the Tiger, the Woman and the Shaman was one of the rich traditional stories told in the Café that afternoon.
The Story Café has been a dream of mine for many years – a way to bring people together in an enjoyable way, to listen and reflect, learn and share – and transform our ideas. A new approach to personal development using stories.
I first came upon traditional teaching stories in 1971. Wandering about a Cambridge bookshop, I picked up The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin by Idries Shah. I loved stories, like any child, from fairy tales, folk tales of Robin Hood, or Tolkien’s heroic saga The Lord of the Rings. But these stories were different – funny, fascinating, transformational. Shah’s stories showed me the therapeutic function of surprising anecdotes, and how these tales could reveal fresh perspectives. The seed for the Story Café was sown! Fast forward to 2011 and The Story Café is finally and successfully launched.