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Why Story Based Professionals are the Change Agents and Thought Leaders of the Global Creativity Movement and the New Conscious Business Paradigm.
Some of us have heard that it was coming for a long time. Many of us hoped and prayed that it would arrive in our lifetimes. And for those who have lived through some pretty dark decades, we are now seeing concrete evidence of shifts toward the light.
From the technological miracle of the internet, that has brought like minded souls together from all over the globe, to the questioning of existing structures of oppression and privilege are being brought up for discussion and challenge, the social climate that we live in, is changing. We are seeing this in everything from the Occupy Movement to the Black Lives Matter campaign to gay marriage being legalized in the U.S. These human rights issues are things that seemed unlikely, or even close to impossible, twenty or even ten years ago. But these things have all happened. Amazing shifts are actualizing and manifesting all over the planet.
Of course, there are an infinite amount of issues that continue to need addressing. But there are many non-profits, foundations, conscious businesses and individuals that are doing just that. More people than ever are stepping up and being part of the change that they want to see in the world.
Perhaps you are one of those people.
Perhaps you are someone who is waking up to what is possible. Perhaps you are someone who is putting their focus on how to offer innovative, yet accessible solutions.There is no way to do this more powerfully than telling a new story.
Telling a new story offers the possibility of us living into that new story, collectively and individually. This is a story of hope, of inspiration and of overcoming perceived limitations. It’s also a story that is woven together with a vision and action plan to create a New Earth as Eckhart Tolle and others speak of. This is a story of Oneness, where we know our connection to each other and work for the behalf of all.
How do we get there?
As a professional story coach and solo performance director for over twenty years, I’ve come to understand some powerful patterns inherent in the process.
Story as Healer
Many people seem to understand parts of the process but few have put them all together. Here is my overview of what is necessary for true healing to happen via story and soul work in individuals and families for us to truly rise to our spiritual and creative potential in the new paradigm which includes the new economy.
Step 1: The individual is supported in identifying her core archetypal stories and shares them, in a safe environment with others. The stories are blessed, honored and released.
Step 2: The story of the family is supported in a safe, non judgmental atmosphere. The family stories include events that may have involved members now dead. Everyone is included in the family narrative. All members present are able to express their grief, rage and pain with each other in a safely facilitated environment. They share the family story. If all members are not willing to participate, they are represented by others who hold the space of healing for them. The family stories are blessed, honored and released.
Step 3: The story of a communities and tribes are examined in group process. The individuals have the opportunity to speak freely about their experiences as members (or outsiders) of a group. Dogma and exclusion are explored as topics. Richness, belonging and rituals are also explored in stories. The stories are shared, blessed, honored, and released.
Step 4: Ritual, meditation and reflection. Once one has contemplated their identity, family identity and communal tribal identity and has shared and released those stories, one is then deeply and profoundly free to look deeper. What identity remains, once the stories have been freed? What limitations do I have if my old stories have been seen, heard and released.
As a story coach and facilitator, I can say, after witnessing this process, there are really only two possible choices, once one has achieved this synthesis of experience and understanding.
#1) One clings to the identities of self as before (ego) but the self is healthier, happier and less weighed down by heavy feelings and assumptions from the trauma story. At this point, one may be able to create a new, more joyful, more prosperous, more creative story for themselves to live into.
#2) Once the impermanence and temporal nature of stories and how they shape our identities is viewed through the depth of the process, one’s lens changes completely. Many will begin to question the assumptions they have made about their personalities and identities as fixed. They will begin to hold stories more lightly, of themselves and others. This is when people begin to understand the nature of the soul. They can question, as the great Indian sage, Ramana Maharshi modeled to us “Who Am I?” Without the weight and burden of silenced or oppressed stories, one is able to choose to look deeper than the ego based self and receive the revelation of oneness.
STORIES ARE NOT THE END POINT, IN AND OF THEMSELVES.
But, they are an enormously important piece of the puzzle that many spiritual seekers have by-passed and overlooked. They are an essential destination on the path of true awakening.
Story As Agent for Social Change
In terms of how story is already shaping the new media, let’s look at the phenomenon of the TED Talk. Millions of people around the world have been able to share in breakthroughs in science, art, technology as well as how those breakthroughs can be used to assist humanity, to solve problems, to inspire and to create meaningful change.
You’ll notice a through line with every powerful and moving TED talk, as well as with every great solo show, every great memoir, or even website for an inspiring entrepreneur. They all use stories to connect, open the hearts of their listener, reader or audience member and they all link their soul based stories as a tool to present their message and vision. This technique is called the narrative arc or The Hero’s Journey. And, this is the tool that has finally being given it’s proper due as the key to awakening humanity and planting the seeds for social change.
These inspired stories affect listener’s brains. Research out of Harvard University has show that when the brain is affected by empathy by listening to authentic stories, a direct connection happens and the listener is much more likely to take inspired action. This is great news for leaders and visionaries who are working on behalf of creating meaningful and lasting change in the world.
More research on stories is being implemented by visionary entrepreneurs, non-profits and foundations to create organic brands that attract like minded others instead of trying to manipulate someone into buying a product or service. These organizations and brands have the power to change the world, one step at a time.
Story as Inspired Art
Memoirists and Solo Performers are breaking all the rules of writing and theater. Readers and audiences are love it! Why?
Old school writing as well as old school theater had similar rules. Each had to do with formality and artifice being incorporated into the artistry of any work. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that they were shamed by an editor for not putting their writing into third person.
Twenty five years ago, my mentor, the late Spalding Gray, who was not only an amazing intimate storyteller, but a brave and rebellious soul, faced enormous criticism for his work at a time when few were doing anything similar. The New York Times reviewer, as I recall also laid on a heavy dose of shame. His conclusion was that intimate storytelling was not even a legitimate art form.
What these old “rules” about writing and theater have in common are shame. There is nothing wrong with a play, written by a playwright and acted by others. I’ve been in many. My roots are in the theater. But I can tell you, that for both the actor, as well as the audience members, artifice is always present. It’s coerced and contrived even at the top of it’s form.
And, I still enjoy seeing a great play. I love the universality of themes and the craftsmanship when done well. But, no matter how well done, it lacks the intimacy that solo performance can provide. And intimacy, vulnerability and transparency is what this world is finally recognizing, that we humans crave, more than ever.
Hence, thousands upon thousands of solo shows are finding their audiences every year. Some are better than others, but all, if done in earnest, allow us to sit in the theater, listen to each others stories and practice being human together.
Memoirs, which were once “not allowed” have broken taboos, offered healing balm to other souls, educated about brutality and injustices in visceral ways, allowed us to take voyeuristic journeys into what it’s like to be a working chef or a single mother putting all the pieces together in the first year of her son’s life.
These new paradigm works of art are every bit as significant as any other. And, they are what the culture is calling for. We are all learning how to live, a bit more, by reading and witnessing them in these forms.
Story As The Tool for Change in the New Millennium
Old patriarchal structures are crumbling. They must hate the break out of personal narrative in public spaces that has happened over the last few decades. If we all are sharing ourselves with transparency, the Big Banks and Corporate American cannot get away with pretending that they are Big Daddies who will take care of us, all the while, killing our planet, humans and what is sacred in nature.
There have always been leaders (even if they don’t know it) who foresaw the coming of a new paradigm. They saw the possibilities for new ways of doing things that will lead to more joy, more happiness for an individual and a culture. Throughout time, there have been so many individuals, who stepped out of the conditioning and perceived limitations of their time to jump ahead decades or even centuries to foretell or foreshadow what was possible for the experience of humans. They did it under circumstances that were often seemingly impossible.
These unique beings have come forward from all different walks of life and experiences. They have been writers, scientists, artists and spiritualists. They have created and led movements that would improve the living conditions of countless others. From WEB Duboise to Frida Kahlo. From Katherine Hepburn to Martin Luther King. From Joan of Arc to Nicolas Tesla. From Buckminster Fuller to Paramahansa Yogananda. From Alice Walker to Jesus. From Nelson Mandela to Steve Jobs.
These people have demonstrated and modeled to us what it is to live in one’s authentic potentiality. They have all, also been excellent storytellers. They have told stories through out time of their experiences. Most have told their stories with words. Some have told their stories through visual storytelling. All have taken their place as wisdom based leaders who have called others to rise to a place of true potentiality manifested through their actions and deeds. Each one made their impact and moved a particular aspect of the culture forward.
Story has always been woven through the fabric of culture and human lives. But at this critical time in human history, with so much at stake on the planet, it is critical that the Story Leaders, those who understand how to heal, awaken and call people to action step up and take their place.
Whoever knows how to utilize story has power to affect change. You can change the world with this work.
If you feel this is your calling, our online programs here at Global School of Story, like S-School.
The world need us. We are writing into the story of our children’s future.