A few years ago, I was at an AWSNA conference here in the twin cities. I was at a difficult point in my life, and a difficult point in my teaching career. During the conference, I attended a workshop led by Leah Walker and Kathleen Bowen of the Center for Biography and Social Art. They walked us through a day of exercises that literally changed my life. First, they read us a fairy tale; it was "The Donkey," from the Brothers Grimm. The fairy tale was the catalyst for a day of self-discovery, artwork, and sacred conversation. The images I worked with that day, and the power of the simplicity and whimsical folk tale, were the prompting for my own journey to allow my donkey skin to be burnt, and to take up the work to which I was born.
When I had the impulse to begin working one-on-one in a coaching capacity with individuals, the beauty of that workshop returned to me full force. Weaving elements of the work with Kathleen and Leah into my own work as a storyteller, adding inspirations from other sources, and then experimenting with a gracious and responsive group of women all over the globe, has resulted in Story/Reading, an interactive journey into your own story.
Here's how Story/Reading works:
First, you tell me a little about yourself and your situation. Are you looking for insight into a particular aspect of your life? Wondering how to move forward into a new expression of your life's work? Needing to gain wisdom with regards to a painful memory or a confusion experience? Perhaps you'd like to be surprised! I take in what you've told me in your email or contact form, and I let your story work itself into my subconscious as I sleep.
The next day, or after a few days, depending on your story and your needs, I intuitively choose a folk or fairy tale that feels right. I don't always know why I choose a particular tale and not another; I just look for the one that resonates as the best fit. I record this story for you and send you a link to the audio file, along with some questions for your work.
You listen to the story at your convenience, and at a pace that feels right to you, or you can hear me read of tell the story live. You work with the questions I offer, and we start our conversation. We can work by email, chat, phone, or video chat -- you choose the format that works best for you. As these conversations progress, you will find yourself unpeeling layers of your story, led by the ancient wisdom living in these tales. The rich, evocative imagery of traditional tales helps to uncover the hidden gifts and challenges you are facing, and helps you to move into the next phase of your journey as the hero or heroine of your own tale.
I have openings for this work in June, and I'm offering an introductory special. You can find all the information at the Work With Me page on this website.
I look forward to walking the path through the forest with you! Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have.
I'm learning that I really ought to be asleep by now.
That I can get a lot more done when I'm not on facebook.
That believing that people have kind intentions is way easier to deal with, than assuming they're out to get me.
I'm learning that I know a whole lot, and that there is so much more to learn.
That even if there are fantastic books and other people already saying what I want to say, someone might need to hear me say it.
That certain eating habits die really, really hard.
I'm learning to go with okay and done, rather than perfect and never happening.
That I have so many more stories to tell.
That there is work that I am here to do, and that I'm so excited to share it with you all.
What are you learning?
I'm am riding on excitement and nerves these days. My seven day storytelling course starts tomorrow (are you in?) and I'm trying to remain calm as I write emails, select stories, and generally plan to be as awesome as possible. I started my new job at The Landing last weekend, and it's so much right up my alley, I cannot express how much I love it. Dressing up in 19th century garb and playing house in historic homes, overlooking the Minnesota River? Yes please! I'm less delighted with the hoards of woodticks that seem to have identified me as a walking fast-food joint. Maybe it's my green dress?
I'm also working with several wonderful women who have agreed to try out Story/Reading, a fairytale-based exploration of our own journey through the forests of life. I've had some amazing feedback, and I'm really looking forward to offering this to the world soon.
I don't know what else to tell you today. It's cool and lovely here, and my son is listening to an audiobook about King Arthur's knights. My partner and he planted all kinds of new succulents and herbs outside, and we are feeling very springy here. I hope your weekend is splendid.
All winter, here in Minnesota, we somehow get through. I'm not quite sure, sometimes, how I keep putting on my boots and hat and scarf and mittens and coat and sweater and long johns and woolen socks and. and. and. and....
And then May comes.
The world smells like crabapple blossom. The evenings echo with robins and redwings, goldfinches and nuthatches. Flowers are everywhere. We sweat outdoors, get sunburnt, listen for thunder.
This is what we survive for, this aching beauty and scent and ease.
This week, I started a new job, doing living history at a cultural heritage site. That's a lot of big words that mean, "I get to dress up and play pretend all day long." It's only been two days, and I'm sure I'm in some kind of honeymoon period, but I love this job so very much. It's what I wanted to do as a starry-eyed twelve-year-old. Granted, the next year I wanted to play Eponine in Les Misérables on Broadway, but hey! This dream came true.
What will you add to your life in this most lovely of months? Perhaps some storytelling of your own? Join my mailing list (the button is at the top of this page, right in the middle), and I'll send you a link to be part of a little mini-e-course that I'm doing all next week, starting on May 10. It would be so nice to have you along...
Sara is a storyteller, writer, artist, teacher, wife, mother, and singer living in Minnesota. I write about storytelling, and about living a life with stories.