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

14 December 2011

Seasonal Stories

Do you have a particular Christmas story or other seasonal tale that has helped to bring meaning to this time of year? If so, feel free to share it with me and my readers in the Comments below.

30 November 2011

KarmaTube: A Teacher in Tokyo

I'd like to dedicate this video to my friend and colleague David Keith. Over 30 years ago, David created a programme for children called Juniper. He and I facilitated this relationship/peace education programme in schools in Dumfries for several years. David has retired but his legacy lives on in my work.

KarmaTube: A Teacher in Tokyo

10 November 2011

Voices in Scotland - Folktales, Music & Ballads

I'm pleased to announce the release of "Voices in Scotland - Folktales, Music & Ballads" on Brechin All Records (www.brechin-all-records.com). I am so honoured to be included along with some of Scotland's most talented storytellers, musicians and singers, including the late great Stanley Robertson. Kudos go to storyteller and musician Marion Kenny who produced this lovely double CD set. Thanks also to the Scottish Storytelling Centre and to Creative Scotland for their support. I would also like to thank the musicians Jean-David Cailloet (guitar/xylophone), Marion Kenny (flute/harmonium) and Joel Sanderson (cello) for their sensitive and imaginative accompaniment.

CD Tracks
Vol. 1
1. Prelude
2. The Angel of Death - Stanley Robertson
3. The Baobab Tree - Mara Menzies
4. The Piper and the Maker - Mairi Campbell
5. The Curious Girl - Michael Williams
6. Silver Dust Gold Dust - Mio Shapley

Vol. 2
1. Finn and the Hero's Children - Claire McNicol
2. O Are Ye Sleeping Maggie? - Stanley Robertson
3. Black Hair - Marion Kenny
4. Mees Kees - Laurence Tulloch
5. Nanabush and the Butterflies - Chuck Warren

May these stories warm your heart, kindle your imagination, and soothe your soul.

07 November 2011

Spiritual & Healing Practices

In this video, English professor and psychologist Geri Chavis discusses her book Poetry and Story Therapy: the Healing Power of Creative Expression. Click on the following link: Spiritual & Healing Practices

02 November 2011


I've posted a FREE .pdf file on my web site entitled "10 SECRETS OF A HEART-CENTERED STORYTELLER". Please follow this link and download the file for free.


I hope you enjoy it. Please add your comments here or email me at iamthestoryteller[at]gmail.com.

25 October 2011

Robot Heart Stories

In an age where technology is both a boon and a bugbear, it's inspiring to see technology and creativity working together in a way that inspires children. This short video tells of an unique experiential learning project by Canadian storyteller and film-maker Lance Weiler. Learn how a plush toy robot from outer space will find her way home thanks to children in Montreal and Los Angeles.

Robot Heart Stories from WorkBook Project on Vimeo.

28 September 2011

The Story of Kaminik

I've recently uploaded a story to Soundcloud (http://soundcloud.com/thestoryteller/01-the-story-of-kaminik). I call it the 'Story of Kaminik'. It's based on an Inuit legend and I learned it from Scottish storyteller and puppeteer Sylvia Troon a few years ago and loved it. Since then I've created my own version (still true to Sylvia's telling) and added bits here and there. BTW, the photo is of Sylvia's Kaminik puppet with kayak.

The recording is based on my recent performance on the last day of the International Book Festival in Edinburgh at the end of August. During my performance I was accompanied by pianist Seán Pugh (former member of 80s Liverpool band The Flock of Seagulls). Our intention was to improvise the interplay between words and music. I made Seán aware of places in the story where the mood shifted but we took a sort of "jazz" approach by allowing ourselves to respond to each other to create a unique performance. It was a success.

The following week we went into Seán's studio and recorded this version of the story, again improvising the interplay between us. I love this way of working and I'm amazed by Seán's ability to improvise on my simple melody and to inspire me.

I hope you'll enjoy the story as much as we did in making and performing it. I only ask that, if possible, you set aside the 30 minutes to listen to it in its entirety rather than a bit now and the rest later. I know they say this is the age of short attention spans, but if 75 pre-schoolers could sit there entranced through the entire show, I'm sure you can too. I'd appreciate your thoughts and feelings afterward if you care to share them.

Many thanks.


27 September 2011

Story Coaching & Mentoring for Skills, Leadership and Well-Being

It is said that we are made up of all the stories told about us, including those we tell about ourselves. Understanding those stories may lead to a better understanding of who and what we are.

For the past several years, I've been offering story coaching and mentoring to those interested in using storytelling to enhance their personal or professional lives. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned professional, my coaching and mentoring can improve your storytelling skills and techniques as well as deepen your emotional and spiritual connections with your 'inner storyteller' and the stories you want to tell. I also offer story coaching and mentoring for leadership and well-being. If you're an aspiring or established leader or, if you want to explore how "story medicine" can improve your health and well-being, contact me to learn more.

I offer two ways of working together: (1) If you live in or near Edinburgh Scotland, I can meet you in one hour face-to-face meetings; or, (2) if you live further afield or abroad you can work with me via one hour Skype sessions. For further information or to book a session, contact me at iamthestoryteller@gmail.com.

Michael Williams, Ph.D. is a professional storyteller, story coach & mentor, teacher, child care worker and education consultant with more than 30 years of experience working with children, teens and adults. He has been awarded five academic degrees and diplomas in English Literature, Language, Local History and Child Care Work from institutions including Edinburgh University and University of Oxford. He is a former Senior Tutor in English Literature at Edinburgh University, Principal Teacher of English at the Edinburgh Rudolf Steiner School and Secretary of the Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group on Creating a Culture of Peace in Scotland. He is currently the Editor of 'Therapeutic Storytelling', part of the All Things Healing online community, an Adviser and Assessor for the General Teaching Council of Scotland's Chartered Teacher programme and an accredited Peace Education facilitator who has worked extensively in primary and secondary schools as well as residential care centres and hospitals.

In 2009, Michael was invited to join an international group of storytellers on a 'Healing Words' tour of the Holy Land where he worked with groups of Arabs and Jews using storytelling as a means of encouraging dialogue and mutual understanding. The following year he was appointed at Storyteller-in-Residence at MUSEartspace, a community gallery in Charlottetown Canada where he worked with children and adolescents and coached adults in storytelling. In the summer of 2011, Michael travelled to Denmark to learn more about 'narrative medicine' with Native-American psychiatrist and storyteller Dr Lewis Mehl-Madrona. He is an author, musician and performed on the closing day of this year's International Book Festival in Edinburgh. He is currently working with the Church of Scotland's Christian Fellowship of Healing and maintains a busy schedule of story coaching & mentoring with groups and individuals. Michael has been supported in his work for the past three years by Creative Scotland. Learn more at www.rjmwilliams.co.uk.

30 August 2011

Our stories, ourselves

In my experience, I've witnessed the power of story to change people's lives. Change the story you're telling yourself and others about how you see the world and you open the possibility of changing yourself. If the story isn't serving you any longer, then it might be time to re-examine that story. As the author of this article states, "The tales we tell hold powerful sway over our memories, behaviors and even identities." In this article from the American Psychological Association, Sadie Dingfelder looks at some of the latest research in 'narrative psychology' and reports on how story is changing lives.


15 August 2011

Narrative Medicine Heals Bodies and Souls

Narrative Medicine Heals Bodies and Souls

Having worked with Dr Lewis Mehl-Madrona this past weekend in Denmark, I am even more convinced and confirmed in the work I've been doing for more than thirty years as both a counsellor, literary academic, teacher, mentor and storyteller that narrative is the key to good health and well-being. Read the article, learn more and decide for yourself. Please get in touch and share your experience.

'True Tales': stories to warm the heart

The famous Scottish distillery Grant's Whisky is sponsoring a 'True Tales' storytelling competition. The finalists have been chosen and all that remains is for you to watch, listen and enjoy . . . then vote for your favourite. A winner will be chosen on September 15th.

Living here in Scotland, I know that a good whisky, like a good story can warm the heart. Grant's has been sharing its story for more than five generations and is passionate about supporting the art of storytelling in others. Even if you're not a whisky drinker, you can still enjoy a good story so check out the 'True Tales' Facebook site at http://on.fb.me/mC7kew, sit back and enjoy the storytellers and their tales. Then vote for your favourite.

My personal favourite is told by Ronald. It's called 'Northern Line' and tells a tale of love won, lost and won again. Like Ronald, I'm a romantic so just couldn't resist this charming tale. It certainly warmed my heart and left me with a smile on my face.

Remember . . . drink responsibly; the story will be better for it.

24 June 2011

Political Voices: Storytelling at the Scottish Parliament

I believe communities can renew themselves by encouraging its citizens to work together co-creating stories of personal and social identity. Such empowerment reveals the citizen as a “heroic” figure in the quest to bring about social harmony. This month I had the opportunity to take part in an unique enterprise with young people thanks to the Scottish Government's “Political Voices” project.

On Friday 17 June 2011 more than 200 sixth-form pupils from across Scotland gathered in the Parliament to use art, music, dance, film, drama and storytelling to express their hopes and dreams for the future of Scotland. Entitled “Political Voices” the project aimed to convey the story of their vision to the politicians who govern the country.

My workshops used a series of storytelling exercises to help participants get in touch with their 'inner storytelling hero'. I likened their journey to the Parliament as the beginning of a 'heroic journey or quest' in which they sought an 'ideal' Scotland. In groups they shared their visions of what they wanted this Scotland to look like. What were its values and priorities? What would it feel like to live in this place? What would their role be? In other words, co-create a 'story' of Scotland's future with themselves as the central characters.

The next step invited them to join me in a game I call the “Heroic Quest” (thanks to David Campbell for this idea). In this game, a young woman and man volunteer to become the “heroes”. Two pairs volunteer to be “guardians of the threshold” while the others (the “common folk”) line up on either side of the “gauntlet” or “passage of trials” to listen and contribute to the unfolding story.

The heroes step up to the first threshold, announce themselves and the ideal they seek. In this instance it was “priority for Scottish students for university places”. The first pair of guardians question the heroes on their reasoning. Why do you want this priority? Why should Scottish students have this priority? How do you define a “Scottish student”? The heroes have to think quickly on their feet and provide convincing answers. The “common folk” shout “yea” or “nay” and may ask questions of their own. Once satisfied, the heroes are allowed to pass across this threshold.

At the next, the pair of guardians may ask more personal questions, revealing the character of the hero. What qualities do you have to make this quest? What experience do you have? How do we know you are committed to this quest? For a moment our heroes falter. “I didn't know this was going to be so hard,” says one. But eventually they address the questions and succeed in passing through the second threshold with the support of the “common folk”.

At the final hurdle, the heroes stand before two seasoned adults: a young Parliamentary Education Officer and an older senior staff member. Their experience of the political process and the inside workings of the Parliament enable them to ask some tough questions including what qualities will best see them succeed. Nervously, they consider the challenge. Finally, the young woman cites “commitment” and provides a personal example from volunteer work she has undertaken; her partner adds, “I need a voice” explaining that this exercise has taught him that he needs to speak up, to make his voice heard, to connect with others and to share his vision with passion.

The goal of the workshop was to enable young people to express their vision and to reflect on their role in such a vision. Throughout the day, I had the privilege of challenging other young people to walk the “passage of trials” and become heroes in their own story. In doing so, I witnessed how each found their voice—a political voice—necessary to the co-creation of the story of Scotland's future.

Ⓒ Michael Williams 2011. Image courtesy of the NUS 'Reclaim Your Voice Campaign'.

23 June 2011

International Book Festival Storytelling

I'll be doing two performances: 10:30am-11:15 and 3:00-3:45 on Monday August 29th at the International Book Festival in Edinburgh. My friend Seán Pugh (remember Flock of Seagulls) will be providing the stories with some musical accompaniment.


08 June 2011

eye to eye, mind to mind, heart to heart

While out walking, I watched these two swans rapidly glide toward one another then nuzzle and form this heart-shape . . . they shared a story heart-to-heart before parting . . .
Posted by Picasa

07 June 2011

Finding Love - a short film by Nic Askew

Film-maker Nic Askew's SoulBiograhies site (www.soulbiographies.com) is an example of great storytelling that heals. Each of his short films pays testimony to the courage of individual men and women to share their story of the journey they've been on. Do yourself a favour and make the time to experience these stories.


03 June 2011

Storytelling in June

This month sees Michael return to the National Museum of Scotland to share stories and the Museum's 'mystery collection' with wee ones from local nurseries and primary schools. Later in the month, he will engage groups of teenagers at the Scottish Parliament where his mission will be to encourage young people to share their vision and story for Scotland's future. And, in recognition of Fathers' Day, he's co-facilitating a workshop with storytellers Tim Porteous and James Spence which will help fathers discover their 'inner storyteller' and share tales with their children.

7, 8, 9 June: Stories for Wee Ones, National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh.

17 June: Political Voices, Storytelling at the Scottish Parliament for young people, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh.

18 June: Storytelling for Fathers, Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh (www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk)

06 May 2011

Mythical Yoga

Sue and I have decided to offer this first 'Mythical Yoga' workshop for free (donations welcomed). The focus is on the elements--earth, water, fire, air and spirit--through storytelling and yoga. Utilising creative activities and drawing on stories from a variety of traditions, we will open the door for you to explore the meaning of the elements within your own life. Sue continues the experience with gentle, yet deep reflective yoga practices exercising body, mind and spirit.

All levels of yoga experience (or none) are welcome. Please bring a journal, pen and a sense of adventure Mats and blankets provided.

VENUE: The Yoga Room, 5a Forth Street, Edinburgh Scotland EH1 3JX
Saturday 28 May, 10am-1pm

FACILITATORS: Yoga/holistic therapist Sue Powell and storyteller Michael Williams.

Other dates to be offered in the autumn.

COST: FREE (donations welcomed to help cover our costs).

CONTACT: To register or for more info, contact Michael at iamthestoryteller[at]gmail[dot]com.

22 April 2011

Freedom Theatre, Jenin Palestine

In 2009 I had the privilege of travelling to the Holy Land with a group of international storytellers. Over the next few weeks we worked alongside Arabs and Jews, Israelis and Palestinians - using storytelling as a means of encouraging deeper dialogue with one another.

I was so impressed with the commitment and passion for peace on both sides. I met many like Juliano Mer Khamis, whose passion for freedom and peace was leading a new generation of children toward a better, more positive life.

Sadly, Juliano was murdered a couple of weeks ago. A friend of mine from Palestine informed me and asked that we open our hearts to his vision and to the challenges that remain. I wanted to highlight this video produced, directed, shot and cut by Ben Aylsworth, Lisa Fender, Tareq, Mustafa, Ahmed and Muhammed. May it be a tribute to Juliano and the children of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin and a reminder of the importance their (and our) stories. The expression of our stories is a fundamental right and cannot be silenced.


09 April 2011

Remembering Storyteller Brother Blue

Everytime I see or hear Brother Blue perform, I am inspired. He was a very special human being--like we all are--and he is sorely missed. I wish I had met him, but his story lives on.

08 April 2011

The Power of Words

Shot in Glasgow, this short film illustrates the power of words to radically change your message and your effect upon the world. At Purplefeather we provide powerful, optimised web content to get you noticed online. Homage to Historia de un letrero, The Story of a Sign by Alonso Alvarez Barreda Music by: Giles Lamb http://sonicdesignagency.wordpress.com Filmed by Glasgow-based www.redsnappa.com Director Seth Gardner

01 April 2011

The Call of Story

The Call of Story examines the power of storytelling through six of America's finest storytellers as they share powerful family tales. Each story is framed by a short testimonial explaining the narrator's impressions and feelings about the significance of story in their family lives. Approximately an hour in length.

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

16 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.

28 February 2011

Old Stories / New Stories: Transformational Storytelling for Peace and Well-Being

Friday 4 March 2011

Event: Day Workshop: Old Stories/New Stories:
Transformational Storytelling for Peace and Well-Being.

Facilitator: Michael Williams, Ph.D..
Venue: Meeting Room, Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh, EH1 2JL.
Time: Registration: 9.30am-10am. Workshop: 10am-4.30pm.
Event Description: During my time working in Israel and Palestine last year, I heard many stories of fear, anger and revenge leading to violence, imprisonment, injury and death. Such stories get repeated and often go unchallenged, becoming embedded in the tellers' personal and cultural history and belief systems. They become the 'scripts' by which we choose to act. They harden into the stories we tell ourselves and others about who we are and why things have happened to us. The challenge, I believe, is to revisit these stories, their meanings and their emotions, to explore alternative tellings, to empower their tellers with 're-authoring' their scripts, to renew and revise their meanings and, where necessary, discover other more peaceful and healthy possibilities. The 'truth' of one's experience lies not in any one story, but rather between the various versions which could be told.
This workshop invites participants to work with a story from their life experience which they would like to re-examine with a view to exploring alternative versions. Through storytelling, listening, dialogue, artwork, and role-play, participants will engage in the process of re-authoring one's own stories. Old stories are made new, tellers are empowered and transformed.
Transformational storytelling draws on my experience as a storyteller, peace educator and counsellor. It is informed and inspired by the work of Paula Underwood, Richard Stone, Nancy Mellon and Alida Gersie, among others. Although I work with a therapeutic intention, participants must take responsibility for their own well-being. This workshop should not be viewed as a substitute for professional therapy or counselling. If in doubt, please feel free to consult with me before registering.
Michael Williams, Ph.D., is a storyteller and education consultant based in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has worked with adults, young people and children for more than 30 years as a qualified social worker, teacher and therapeutic storyteller and workshop facilitator. He has recently completed a tour of the Holy Land working with Arabs and Jews, Palestinians and Israelis as part of the international ‘Healing Words’ storytelling group from Emerson College.

Cost: £20/£15 (Concessions). For a Registration Form:
Contact: Neill Walker, mesp2011@hotmail.co.uk, 0131 331 4469.

21 February 2011

"Art" by Tanya Davis

Tanya's such a beautiful soul. Her music touches me so deeply. Her video 'Art' is such a testament to the power of art to heal. Enjoy.

20 February 2011

Transformative Storytelling and Journaling - Sunday 6 March

A Lapidus Scotland event with Michael Williams, Jayne Wilding & Allison Galbraith
Sunday 6th March 2011 at the Maggie Centre in Glasgow
The Gatehouse, Western Infirmary, 10 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow G11 6PA
Workshop fees: £24 each (Lapidus members £18 (concessions by donation) Further information: 07968487994 or 0141 332 0547 (Christine) Full details at
Transformative Storytelling Day (PDF document)
The day includes workshops exploring the transformative power of storytelling, the Russian fairytale 'Vasilisa' who travels from childhood to womanhood, the experience of living in the foothills of the French Pyrenees for three years and our personal relationship with animals.

More at http://lapidus.org.uk/groups/scotland.php

15 February 2011

Stories for Health Day, 12 March 2011

Join us at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh on Saturday March 12th for a 'Stories for Health' day of workshops and performance.

Details of the workshops and performances can be found by clicking on this link: www.storiesforhealth.org

The event is a fundraiser for 'Stories for Health', a non-profit-making organization with a desire to promote understanding of Storytelling as a Healing Art. We work at developing different projects based around this theme and aim to be inclusive of all art forms.

11 February 2011

Storytelling Leads to Better Health

This week the New York Times carried a report from the Annals of Internal Medicine entitled "When Patients Share Their Stories, Health May Improve" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/10/health/views/10chen.html). In it the author describe how a recent study showed that listening to and telling stories--particular personal stories--helps to improve a patient's health. In a study of patients with high blood pressure they discovered that "listening to personal narratives helped control high blood pressure as effectively as the addition of more medications."

According to Dr Thomas K. Houston, leader of the study, stories help patients makes sense of what is happening to them. He states, “We learn through stories, and we use them to make sense of our lives. It’s a natural extension to think that we could use stories to improve our health.”

And, according to the more than two dozen respondents who have already replied to the story, most would agree with Dr. Houston. Here are just some of their comments:

"Storytelling lies at the heart of how patients communicate with their physicians and nurses." (a doctor)

"I want to add that the arts in healthcare is just that at many levels and much of it is about storytelling, narrative and ways understanding the ‘new’ story unfolding. It helps process at emotional, intellectual and I believe, the Soul/Spirit level." (a coach and counselor)

"This is nothing new. Aristotle told us this in “Poetics,” that the art of storytelling is what gives us a shareable world. Health, dis-ease, illness, death–we have been telling each other stories of these since the beginning of time. Perhaps what is new is that US-based medicine is catching on that human communication through narrative is important for health and health care." (Associate Professor of Nursing, University of Washington)

"People make sense of their own experience and the world around them through storytelling. A narrative gives a sense of control that is a valuable resource in the healing process." (organisational psychologist)

"This is not surprising at all – storytelling is an essential part of what makes us human. I have long believed in the value and power of the story in medicine and healing." (a doctor)

"Story telling is CRITICAL in helping patients with cognitive impairment and brain aging in general. It provides a great release and helps in the treatment of depression much less verbal communication skills." (Doctor specialising in Alzeihmer's)

What these and the many other comments reminds us of is what many of us know intuitively: storytelling transforms and heals. We've been doing it for as long as humans have gathered to share their experiences. Neuroscience tells us that we're 'hard-wired' for story, that we make sense of our experiences by reforming them into narratives.

I've even read that there's some evidence to suggest that brains of soldiers suffering from PSD are actually having difficulties processing the horrendous experiences into narrative form. Once transformed into story, these experiences can be assimilated into the memory storage area of the brain rather than remain caught in a horrible loop of pain, fear and haunting devastation.

Of course, I'm not suggesting that PSD or any other illness can be cured just like that by telling or listening to a story. But a growing body of anecdotal and now empirical evidence is supporting the idea that the sharing of stories helps us feel better and improves our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

I look forward to your comments and stories.

06 February 2011

Storytelling at Christ Church, Morningside Edinburgh

Story Telling with Michael Williams

Sunday 6 February

10am Eucharist and 11.15am in Church Centre

Michael Williams PhD is a professional story teller, coach and educational consultant. He is also the editor of ‘Therapeutic Story Telling’ – part of the All Things Healing online community.

Michael has practiced in many fields of work down the years, including the academic world, but he is concentrating now on being involved in extending the practice of story-telling both in this country and abroad. Recently he was in Palestine and Israel. His time there made him even more deeply aware of the transforming power of sharing stories experienced by individuals and groups within that fiercely divided country.

Now forget the credentials! Just come to meet the story teller and find out that the stories are at the heart of the matter.

04 February 2011

"Taught by the Pen" 2011 Festival

Saturday 19th Feb
Nelson Hall, Macdonald Rd Lib 2pm to 5pm
CHILDREN'S DAY with story teller and peace educator Michael Williams

Radio Ramadan Edinburgh Presents:
"Taught by the Pen" 2011 Festival
in Association with Muslim Women's Association of Edinburgh
The aim of this mini festival is to bring together Edinburgh communities to share culture, traditions, writings and history of the Muslim people that have contributed to our lives.

24 January 2011

Living Every Day of Your Life

We have all lost someone dear to us. . . . Yet, it's often as if we live in a world where death never happens, or at least never gets talked about, or mourned or lamented in a collective manner.
Born from a shared experience of bereavement, this event offers a celebration, tribute and exploration of dying and grieving and what it means to live every day of your life.
Hosted by the Kilgraston School for Girls, Bridge of Earn, Perthshire Scotland.
Friday February 11th, 6-9pm: 'Leave to Remain', a powerful and poignant performance and discussion by writer Jo Clifford, actor Suzanne Dance and cellist Harriet Davidson.
Saturday February 12th, 10-5pm: 'Living Every Day of Your Life', a creative time for reflection and discussion with psychotherapist Martin Williams, storyteller Michael Williams, and lecturer Ruth Cave.
Saturday February 12th, 7:30-11:30: a celebratory meal, concert with Mary Mac and friends and ceilidh featuring the Kev Murray Ceilidh Band.
Join us at Kilgraston School on Friday February 11th and Saturday 12th for this unique event.
To register, contact Ruth Cave at r.d.cave@dundee.ac.uk or on 01382 370768 by 31 January 2011.

02 January 2011

Eastern Encounters

Sunday 2 January 2011 @ MUSEartspace, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island:

Eastern Encounters: stories of blessing, hope and transformation. Enjoyed being able to perform these four stories again after their premier at Edinburgh's International Festival of Storytelling in October. The four stories were "The Blessing", "Baked in the Fire of Love", "The Freedom Bird" and "The Tea House".

MUSEartspace is a great space and my thanks goes out to owner Renee Laprise for her support.


"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.