Positive Lives Blog

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Story Harvesting

What a rich word "harvesting" is! In itself a metaphor for richness, for yielding abundance, and of the notion of "in due season". Harvesting is both seasonal and opportune, not to be put off, and it is hard work! Team work, in fact.

So why Story Harvesting? Recently I ran a workshop for a Gurteen Knowledge Cafe and gave a presentation at an Adult Community Learning conference on Storytelling in Organisations. A question which I am always asked is "Where do you find your stories?".

More to the point, where do you find your stories? Whether you are harvesting stories within an organisation or, perhaps working with a coach, harvesting your own stories ... where do you look? What's the process?

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A Beginning, A Muddle and An End

When did you last listen to a Story?

I ask this of adults who come to my workshops, Story Cafes and training sessions.  Many adults cannot remember listening to a story - told in the traditional oral way, storyteller to storylistener - although they will say "I read a book" or "I saw a film".

Yet, if they pause and recollect, they can bring to mind stories that were told to them 10, 20, 30 years ago. Such is the power of story to impart learning, values and knowledge.

Stories have a familiar pattern - a beginning which establishes Context, a middle (or muddle) that reveals the Conflict, and an ending which brings Resolution.  Stories are our original way of learning about the world and passing on knowledge and values. They may also be used for spiritual and personal transformation (Sufi and Jewish Teaching Tales, for example).

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Under the Spell

I've come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.  Tony Robbins

All that is necessary to break the spell of inertia and frustration is to act as if it were impossible to fail. Dorothea Brande

Frustration – we’ve all felt it. When nothing goes right, when every plan fails. When do I get my Lucky Break? When can I stop banging my head on that very inert and unmovable brick wall? In that frame of mind, you might find yourself saying, "Typical, that's the Story of my life."

Have you found that when you are out and about networking there are two topics of conversation? One is that everything is just marvellous, wonderful, splendid (the new British “Mustn’t Grumble” with an American flavour!). And the second is how frustrating it is right now for businesses to make any headway.

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Spiderman's Tears

Last Saturday was exceptionally hot. On my way home from town, I saw a little blond haired boy being dragged up the hill by his long-suffering mother.  He was red-faced and bawling. And dressed from head to foot in a Spiderman outfit.

“Why can’t you just stop crying?” sighed his mother.

Of course, I am always thinking of the Back Story. Did our little hero wake up early, eager to save the world, confident in his magic powers? Did he get taken to a kiddies’ party, bounding in to the room looking for adventure? Did he find out somebody else was in charge, marshalling him to the games, getting him to calm down? Did he find out that he couldn’t actually fly or transform himself?

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The Metaphor of Me

The Metaphor of Me

"Learning to read the language of symbols has a positive effect on your self-image and energy."  Caroline Myss

I’ve just been reading a book on Mindfulness. One sentence really struck me.

“Who is the creator of all your self images?”

This got me thinking like this ... If I am the creator of my self-image, then perhaps I am “authoring” myself, writing my own life story with myself as heroine, villain, warrior, orphan or whatever. Perhaps if I become more aware of my Metaphor of Me, I can also choose to be the narrator of a better life story?

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