"Become aware what is in you. Announce it, pronounce it, produce it and give birth to it." - Meister Eckhart

22 March 2011

Roopaantar - metamorphosis by Radha Pandey

Radha Pandey's short film adapted from a Japanese folktale entitled 'Green Willow'. Powerful, healing story.

change your stories, change your life

Kate Swoboda is a life coach, teacher and writer. Her blog 'Your Courageous Life' encourages reflection on your 'life stories' and reminds us of the creative and healing power within each of us. Check out change your stories, change your life

17 March 2011

World Storytelling Day & Helping Japan

March 20th is World Storytelling Day. Storytelling organisations all over the world are encouraging people to tell stories and get out to listen to other storytellers tell theirs.

Michael Margolis at Get Storied is sponsoring a crowd-sources storytelling event. He's asking that you create a 3-minute video of yourself telling a personal story that touches on this year's theme of 'Water'. To get all the details, go to www.worldstorytellingday.org. For every video submitted, Get Storied will donate $1 to Mercy Corps who are assisting with the Japanese survivors of the earthquake and tsunami.

Global Voices

Thanks to the website globalvoicesonline.org, stories from ordinary people around the world can be read and heard. Global Voices is a network of more than 300 bloggers who report on blogs and citizen media from around the world.

In Japan, for example, this online community is working to translate stories from Japanese survivors into English and other languages so their stories can be understood and appreciated by a larger global community.

14 March 2011

Taster Tales: Scotland to Canada Storytelling

Tale Tasters
Venue: National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, Riddles Court, Level 3
Times: 13:30, 14:30, 15:30 (25 mins)

Join Canadian Michael Williams and local lass Fiona Campbell to hear all about the journey of an eighteenth century family emigrating from Scotland to Canada. A performance filled with traditional stories and music which have transcended national boundaries. With songs to join in and objects to handle, these sessions are suitable for all ages.

More at http://www.nms.ac.uk

12 March 2011

Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Stories

I'm writing this less than two days after a massive earthquake literally shook and shifted Japan eight feet across the crust of the earth and for a massive tsunami to wash over the land, destroying everything in its path. Homes, offices, buildings, cars, trucks, trains, ships were literally uplifted and pushed miles inland. Cities, towns and villages smashed and drowned and smeared with tons of debris. Human life left in chaos.

The images we have seen beggar belief, the reality of human order rendered senseless: ships, trains, vehicles, houses and buildings tossed about like toys. The ocean racing relentlessly across fertile fields and farmland drowning everything in its path. The aerial views belie the speed at which the tsunami sped across the ground. Racing at over hundred miles per hour, there was no chance of escape.

It seems too soon to even attempt to makes sense of it all; yet, we try. Geologists are brought on tv to explain how the earthquake and tsunami were created. One explains that the very forces within the earth that helped spark life are the same forces that ended it. Another tells us that such quakes are inevitable and to be expected. Still other pundits talk of 'acts of God' and the 'power of Nature'. We're reminded how fragile human life is, clinging as it were, to this thin crust of a dynamic, changing earth. We may think we are 'lords of the dominion', yet such natural calamities reminds us how fragile and tenable is our grasp.

The experiences of people caught up in the disaster also become an important part of its telling. Journalists report on the facts as well as their experiences 'in the field'. Survivors are brought on to share their stories and videos. Words like 'unbelievable', 'incredible', and a whole host of superlatives are used. Yet many still seem traumatised, not quite understanding fully what has happened to them, their loved ones and neighbours. In many instances, words are inadequate. The tellers are rendered speechless.

Yet the fact remains that we need to tell our stories and to encourage others to tell theirs. By sharing them, we can begin the healing. Stories are in integral part of the grieving process. By attempting to make sense of our pain, fear and loss we can better understand and contextualise what has happened.

Even those of us who are living this experience vicariously through the medium of television or internet need to share and re-tell the stories to one another. Facebook and other social digital media enable us to share from one end of our 'global village' to another. Sharing stories with one another reminds us that we are part of a human community, that we need one another to survive.

Yes, natural disasters have happened many times in the past and they will continue long into the future. They can happen anywhere and anytime to anyone. And when the earth shakes in one part of the world, we are all shaken.

But by sharing our stories, by listening compassionately to one another, we can all begin the long journey ahead toward recovery and renewal.

Blessings on our sisters and brothers of Japan.

Testimonials

"We have received only very positive reports of your workshop, and must thank you for being so flexible and responsive both before and in the course of implementing the workshop. It has been lovely to work with you. . . . We are hopeful this project will give rise to future storytelling endeavours, and would be very happy to work with you again if the opportunity arises!" Muireann Crowley, At Home in Scotland, University of Edinburgh, May 2014 ("Storytelling, Research and Public Engagement" workshop)

Michael Williams is a a storyteller of compelling skill. He is also a fine human being who engages in all situations and draws people into the warmth of communication and shared experience." Donald Smith, Director, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh Scotland

"Michael's understanding of storytelling within a leadership and business context has helped us provide a great service in helping leaders determine their personal and organisational destiny and legacy. Working with Michael is inspiring and fun; and pulls you to be fully engaged from start to finish." Norton Bertram-Smith, Managing Director and Leadership Consultant for On Purpose.

Kamink: the little boy who grew into a giant of a man

Blues and Roots Radio

Blues and Roots Radio
Check out my weekly storytelling radio show, The Teller and the Tale on bluesandrootsradio.com.

Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland
I'm grateful to Creative Scotland for its support.