Sunday, January 16, 2011

Body, Voice and skills of the storyteller

That is the title of a two weeks course I am attending now at The International School of Storytelling in Forest Row.

It is amazing to experience how our teacher Olivia Olson is working to release tensions in our bodies to make our voice come out at its best!
How can a tension in a knee influence the sound of your voice?
To people who already work with voice and body, this is obvious. But for people who are not used to having awareness of their bodies this is great news.

We're working many hours every day, and through exercises of contacting different parts of our bodies we can hear step by step how the voices change. They get more resonans and sound better, more authentic.
It is a strange experience to hear one's own vocie sound different, but I think we get used to it.

We all got a poem to work with. Olivia had selected the poem after our round of introduction the first day.

I was watching Olivia helping another participant through working with the poem release som old tension and feelings, hearing the person cry it out and afterwards sounding very different. Olivia saw the tension in the person's legs, and she grapped them, shook them and had the person rolling on the floor, gently.
One of the secrets are to giv in to the weight of the body, to let go, just sink in to the floor. And breathe!

Again I was thinking about how this work with storytelling helps transform people and actually heal people.
This course is specifically about the body and voice, but the words in the poem mean something to us.
Words are very powerful!

Why is it healing
I realized that through the poems and the stories we get confronted with forgotten or suppressed feelings and emotions, that we for many different reasons do not 'want' to work with.

When we give in to the weight of our body, the weight of the words in our mind, then feelings pop up. We may have the habit to shut them down again, and to quickly 'put the lid on the pot'.
When we break that habit and let the feelings flow freely without judgement they can rinse through our body, like a stream, and be washed out with our tears.
Thus we set a lot of energy free and softness happens in the muscles and joints. We feel more space inside the body.

Many people are scared of feeling their emotions, perhaps because it actually hurts when emotions are labelled 'bad'. But emotions cannot be labelled as bad or good. Emotions are emotions.
Taking the risk, going through the pain and do the work, let the tears come, is a very rewarding thing to do. Afterwards the body feels a lot better, the voice is softer, eyes are shining differently and we can feel more grounded in ourselves.
Then we can own our feelings and emotions in a totally new and released way.

This is at least one way of seeing why stories are healing.