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.
The Story Café draws on an age-old tradition – storytelling. Each month, in the Story Café, you can come and hear wonderful stories, some traditional, some modern, drawn from all over the world. The Story Café gives you a perfect space to share your insights evoked by these stories. Conversations grow and flourish; new ideas are formed, and new ways of looking at what is going on in your life.
Stories are wonderful vehicles for learning. We listen with a depth of attention and engagement to stories, like nothing else. “Once upon a time …” is a powerful phrase. We start connecting at a deeper emotional level than we do in front data driven presentations or information screens. As author Philip Pullman says “Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever.”
The Story Café is a fresh approach to personal development. The stories are chosen to help you increase your self-awareness and improve your communication skills and confidence.
Stories have always helped us “meet ourselves” and understand the story we tell about ourselves. The story you tell about yourself or your business to others is determining your opportunities and success. Spend a couple of hours in The Story Café and you will feel encouraged to explore your thoughts and values, and form new insights and more empowering stories about yourself.
But what about the bottom-line? Story is also a very powerful personal development tool in business. We get the chance to step outside of our business and reflect on what matters to us. We become clearer about our direction. Stories can transform your business, by improving your decision-making and communication skills. Using a story approach also encourages right-brain thinking, leading to fresh perspectives and innovative problem-solving.
Or maybe you just want a chance to relax and re-energise at the end of a busy week? Much modern entertainment – eg computer games, thrillers, or late night parties - are all great fun, but leave us over-stimulated and exhausted at the weekend. There is nothing like a simple story to recharge your batteries, and help you begin your working week truly refreshed.
The Story Cafe is on Facebook! A place for all Story Café people to meet between Cafes and keep the conversation going. The Story Café is the place for great stories and conversation!
"Like" the page at: http://tinyurl.com/TheStoryCafe
See you in The Story Café!