Why Is Story Transformative?

This is the fifth introductory blog post to The Power in Storyour upcoming three-part series exploring learning and transformation through story. Designed and facilitated by Chrissie Orr, co-founder of El Otro Lado and the Institute for Living Story, and Aaron Stern, Academy Founder and President, the series is for people working with story across disciplines and applications and recognize the capacity of story to enliven and heal.

In this interview, Chrissie highlights how the practice of expressing and releasing a personal story  can activate an internal transformation that renews our personal narrative and how we walk through the world.

We’ll restart the weekly blog series in April, leading up to the second offering of the Intensive 1 workshop on May 3rd – 5th. Learn more about The Power in Story by visiting the series listing or contacting co-facilitator Chrissie Orr.

An AUDIO RECORDING  of the interview is also available.

What I have found actually delving into this idea of story as an artist-activist-sensitive-provocateur, whatever I call myself, is it has been really actually a key practice for me to engage community around change.

I have been told many times that really sometimes the stories that emerge are stories that have never been told before, and how important and how transformative that can be not only to an individual. It could be a personal story that just emerges through experiences and the way that story work is facilitated here at the Academy – how that evokes the story to come out and to be listened to, and how that can really be a moment of change for someone when that story is released. That sometimes carrying that story around with us can actually do a lot of harm if it is held tight. If we begin to express that story and release it, release the words, then we are also transforming ourselves, but we are also transforming perhaps the story. It can get retold in a new way.

There was one example when we were working here at the Academy with a group of women, very early on in some of our story work. One of the women actually said to me, she said she told me her story in a group setting, and said that it was easier for her to tell the story to a group of people that were not her family. It was a story that she had never told anyone before. I think there is something about the setting that we create that allows that to happen. It was very important for her to be able to release that story. By her doing that, by her sharing that story at that particular time, it opened up stories for other women to share. There was this incredible empathy that was created within that group. I have seen that many, many times with our Story Sharing. Sometimes it is not the whole story we share, it is just a little taste of it. It is more we develop the story for ourselves, and through developing it we can change it and transform it and move on our life’s journey in a new way.