Saturday, October 16, 2010

Week 4

leaves peace
for listening
to the emptiness
in silence.
Silence fills
the gap
between me
and myself.

the song
of the bird
- singing.

leaves me

 This little poem was written after an exercise where we communicated with a partner - in silence.

Week 4 has been a time og going inside ourselves. Speaking our truth, who we are, what is our voice?
The theme has been folktales.
Now we have moved from creation tales, through stories about Gods and Goddesses, to animal stories and now stories about people.
We are all moved by the stories in one way or another. And somehow it seems, that we are all getting the stories that we need for healing old patterns, unresolved problems and shadow sides of ourselves or even blind spots.

   This week I should tell about a man who was very good at counting. Anyone who knows me, also know that I'm not particularly good at algebra. And remembering all these numbers would be a challenge to me. It was an Arabian story, so of course there were camels in the story. But being who I am, from the flat land in Denmark, I couldn't really connect to this story about a man counting camels.
When I set out to work with the story, I remembered my grandfather, who was a kind man and always good at algebra. So I took the story to my home, where I was born, and added horses instead of camels.
And then I told the story my way. Then it worked for me. And I have a new story to tell, with numbers in it!

If this is the answer, what is the question?
 This week has also given more to think about. I would love to be able to do much more storytelling, work with the stories for healing.
When we find things in the stories that touch us somehow, we get a chance to reframe 'the story of our life', and tell a new story. For every knot we loosen, there is a chance of feeling better inside.
So I ask myself about how I can spead the word, that it is possible to acheive a change, to be happy, to accept who you are and to live in good contact with yourself.
I hope I myself am a proof of that by being honest about how the stories work on me.
More will follow...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Week 3

On stage
The power of words
It's not a surprise, but the power of words is getting more and more obvious here at the International School of Storytelling.
This week's theme was animal stories, and I got to tell a story about some animals that were afraid of a new, unknown sound. Very soon they had turned it into a monster in their imagination, and their anxiety grew, untill the lion came and revealed the fact, that 'the monster' was a fat old frog'.

In my work as a therapist I often meet people who have turned little things into 'monsters'.  It is so easy to just imagine and let your imagination do the work. But often it is better to face the 'monster' and find out what it really is that is frightening and limiting our freedom.

We have worked with beginnings and endings a lot this week. Some have felt the urge to alter a 'bad ending' into a 'good ending'. Because the ending or the content in the story was too cruel, too difficult to cope with or other reasons.
Our teacher in 'creative writing', Paul Mathews, said last week; 'Don't alter a story to be nice' Let the story speak for itself.'
I really agree with that. In my opinion the storyeller must do the inner work that is connected with working with the story. The story is  a mirror for the person, and sometimes he doesn't like the shadows of himself, that he finds in it. But changing it not the way out, I think.
In stead the storyteller must choose whether he wants to meet these sides of himself, if he wants to tell the story or not.
What I really like about storytelling is, that it mirrors the listener in unique ways, and every listener finds himself in the story in different ways.
A storyteller can never know what hits who.

Many of us have - very strangely - experienced some resistance towards working with the stories. We love being here, the teachers are very, very good, so it feels odd.
I personally had a wonderful breakthrough this Thursday, when I finally found a feeling in myself saying YES to all the work that is connected to learning and rehearsing a story for performance.
And I was happy to tell my story on stage Thursday evening. I did my best, used my body naturally, I was myself. I'm still strugling with the language, but it is the NOW of storytelling, so it is ok.
I felt so happy afterwards and enjoyed the applause.

The nature around this place is wonderful, all the time changing. For new inspiration and energy a visit to the vegetable garden is awesome, so I go there every now and then.

I miss my friends at home very much, so I'm grateful for Skype and Facebook to stay connected.

The kitchen is always crowded with happy people

The vegetable garden is amazing

One sun smiles to another

Friday, October 1, 2010

Week 2, Storytelling course

In one week so many things have happened, that I cannot possibly describe everything.
But I will write some examples of what we do in the course and what happens around us.

Each week we have a theme for the teaching. The first week it was 'creation stories', this week it has been stories about 'gods and goddesses'.
Already we can see what an impact the stories have on us. It is different how each person learn a story to tell. We work with learning the story through different techniques, as writing the bones, mapping the story and walking through the map. So we practice a lot. The first week we worked in groups of three, this week in pairs, and from now on we are on our own.
Noone has worked with their story without being touched somehow by the contents.

The stories are old, they have survived for many many years for a reason. We can mirror ourselves in the messages in the story on a very profound level.
Each week we pick a story, or the story picks us.

This week I picked the story about Indra and the Ants parade. You can read a version of the story here if you like.

It's about never being satisfied, always wanting more, bigger, better etc. It certainly hits something in me. It as if I often have the feeling that I never know enough, I need more knowledge, must read more books, must expand somehow.
In the light of the story I can realize it is not about knowing more. For me it is time to look at what is already there and use it some more.  I get this image of a piece of photopaper in the developing tray. It is nice to see when the picture comes out in its full potential.
I feel strong and powerful in a way that will during this work here at Emerson College bring out my full potential - for now. We are regularly reminded that the course is called The NOW of storytelling, because we tell with whatever we have right now. We're not try to be something we are not.
I am Danish, and I don't try to be English, so I tell with the accent and the words that I have in English.

Every day at the course is a rich learning process and I am very happy to be here.

Monday we started our felting class. In a way the felting can symbolize how the words come together as a story at a certain point as the wool suddenly sticks together as a piece of material.
I love working with the colours, so I shall be looking forward to the felting lessons. I already made my first piece.

College life is somewhat different from living alone. We are 12 people sharing a kitchen, but it still works out well.
We have fun and are getting used to each other's habit. In this picture you se peole from Korea, China, France and Denmark.

The highligt of this week on college was the celebration of the day for The Archangel Michael.
We had a wonderful dinner together after an afternoon of community work.
There were many tasks: Preparing the dinner, decorating the hall, weeding, harvesting potatoes, blessing the surroundings, and doing the flower arrangements. I took part of the flower arranging group and enjoyed that a lot. Such a nice earthly thing to do in the midst of the story about Indra, who couldn't get his palace big enough. :-)

We feed the spirit but we also need to feed the body.
And the food here is delicious!