One of the most important lessons I learned from the five week storytelling course with the School of Storytelling (www.schoolofstorytelling.com) was that a story, told well, will take its listeners to where they need to go. And you, the storyteller, are merely a vessel or channel through which the story wisdom can flow. So, in theory a story workshop, facilitated well, should also take its participants to where they need to go.
This was my feeling as we prepared to use storywork in the isiXhosa Cape Town communities with Ikamva Labantu (www.ikamva.org). Although we worked with the same story, “Stone Soup”, each group responded differently. As facilitators we needed to be
sensitive to where the group needed to go and create a safe space for them to go there. One group felt uplifted by the message of community in the story, and this led to an unplanned but inspired gratitude exercise in which the group gave thanks to each other. This was wonderful to witness. Whereas another group was overcome by their difficulties and many tears were shed. And that was okay, too. Through sharing their difficulties and bringing them into the light of the community, the group came through their sadness. And with some gentle encouragement, the group was soon singing and dancing.
I felt overwhelmed by the joy in the room and it reminded me of a saying from The Prophet that has carried me through the difficult times in my life. “The more the sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain”. That day I truly felt carried out of the building by the joyous singing and dancing of these remarkable men and women.
– 12 March 2012