How Stories Can Heal Our Wounded Places #WorldStorytellingDay

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Perhaps it is because I come from an Irish tradition of the seanachai, the story-teller, that I hold the art of storytelling in such high esteem.

In times past, neighbours gathered around the fire to listen to the seanachai tell his stories.  I like to think of the blogosphere as our virtual fire and for me, the Weekly Round-Up is a chance for us all to gather around that fire together and hear each other’s stories.  The very act of sharing our story with others counteracts the isolation we so often feel. It also carries within it the seeds of community and connection which are lacking in so many of our lives.

I firmly believe that there is an alchemy that happens in the blogosphere when we share our stories. When your story is received and witnessed by others, the stories themselves change as they are told and heard, creating a social fabric around which we care for each other. Through sharing stories, we create empathic bonds between ourselves and our listeners. Those who listen to our stories, tell others, and in this way, the circle of shared experience widens.

The Wounded Storyteller

Cancer takes so much from us, not just our breasts and our hair, but indeed the very story of how our lives were meant to be. When we become ill and that story that has previously guided our lives is taken from us, we need to find a new story.  Stories help bridge what sociologist, Arthur Frank, in his book The Wounded Storyteller,  calls “narrative wreckage” – the point at which our old life plot is no longer valid, and we need a new story to continue life’s journey. Frank believes that seriously ill people are wounded not just in body but in voice and that we need to become storytellers in order to recover the voices that illness takes away.

Our stories help us access the hidden places within our souls that are wellsprings of healing.  We tell our stories in order to heal; in listening to the stories of how others have walked their path, our own journey of discovery and healing can be enriched.

Our stories are immensely valuable. We have so much compassion and wisdom to share.  So please continue to share your stories here.  “These stories and compassion”  have the power to unite us and hold us together in a profound and healing way.