Stichting E&E Nederland
E-E visie
Bijzondere Leerstoel

EE 2000 event





Special Workshop: "The Healing Art of Storytelling"

The Power of Personal Stories

Once Upon a Time... a barely lit room in the woods, a group of eleven gathered to learn about the healing art of storytelling. A lady, dressed in black, with a special talent to express herself, told us a story. She made use of her hands, eyes, and voice to make a connection with each one of us.

...Storytelling Provided Hope...

During the workshop, host Mary Sue Siegel (The Netherlands), a storyteller by passion and profession, identified several purposes of storytelling. She explained that storytelling provides a means to preserve the history of a community. Storytelling can also be used to teach moral values. But stories can also be used to reveal the inner pain we share in our human experience and to confront ourselves with these feelings. Because tales are often less harsh than the naked truth, tales can provide hope to the storyteller and the audience.

"People are losing the authentic connection with their own story, but it's vital that people connect with their own stories. Storytelling is the DNA of human existence." - Mary Sue Siegel

...To Each Unique Listener and Storyteller

Because each one of us has a unique background, energy, and focus, our stories will be different. On the one hand, technique plays an important role in the skill of the teller to increase the attention and understanding on the part of the receiver. An important guideline is to capture the audience within the first minute of telling the story, otherwise, cautioned Siegel, "one may have to resort to an explosion to wake up the listeners." Training in storytelling will add to the professionalism of a narrative. On the other hand, technique will never be able to replace stories that have their roots in the heart. And such stories can only benefit from storytelling skills.

During the workshop the participants experienced this firsthand. At one point, they were asked to close their eyes, breathe slowly, and allow any story to enter their minds. After this short meditation session, Siegel shared a very personal story to inspire the rest of the group to do the same. The participants offered their own story, each with its unique theme, varying in dramatic content. After the stories were told, the participants closed their eyes once more and meditated upon the deeper meaning of each other's stories.

Thus involving the participants in their own personal stories and those of others, Siegel demonstrated a powerful argument that storytelling is still a wonderful and subtle means of transferring knowledge and emotion at the same time.

And as far as the story goes... they all lived (happily) ever after, of course.

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