How to facilitate the "My Story" Process
A process for:
- nurturing community through auto-biographical story-telling
- developing listening skills, compassion, empathy
- strengthening relationships
- seeing ourselves in each other (a gateway to ubuntu)
I write this in my personal capacity as a contribution and response to the Muizenberg Can Emotional Support aspect during the COVID lockdown March - June 2020. It is part two in a series, the second of which can be read here: Council of Wisdom
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO THE ANCESTORS
Also known as the My Story Process, I first encountered this process as part of the Art of Living Organisation's part 1 course in 2003, (now called the Happiness Programme) - which I highly recommend for anyone seeking greater peace, strength, wisdom, community and love in their life. I have found this process to be extremely simple yet powerful in the other context in which I have found it, or in which I have used it.
I having scoured the internet for any sign of an open source guide, and finding none, I decided to share the process from my perspective. I believe this archetypal structure of wisdom, advice, counsel and feedback to be ancient and of universal heritage.
- Quite simply it involves someone telling their story of their life, just the facts, the bare bones! This may include emotions, or feelings that accompanied parts of the journey, but it is not a counselling session or a detailed description of a short period.
- for about 5-10 mins, or based on time allowing and group size
- The others in the group listen, without any interruption.
- No questions are asked, no feedback or commentary is given afterwards, just a simple thank you for listening and a thank you for telling.
- The next person shares their story. Ideally, EVERYONE shares their story, and everyone listens.
- Many people have stories to tell and time is limited in this busy world.
- People can always go and ask each other questions and continue conversations when the process is over for everyone.
- If time is short and the group is large, break people into groups of minimum three (or four or any number time allowing), and each has a turn while the other two listen.
- All of the GOLD in this process is in two simple dynamics: being able to share your essential life journey AND perhaps more importantly, listening without interrupting to someone else sharing what is unique to them and their experience of breathing air on this planet.
- I have been surprised every single time I have been part of this process, whether I knew the person or not. There is always something more I did not expect about their lives, always something I have in common. It shatters my expectations and preconceptions, and even judgements of a person.
- It is a great process for developing empathy and relationships.
- The experience is tremendously enhanced by following this process with eye-gazing. Read more and instructions here, but perhaps even better experienced if part of an Art of Living Course, or elsewhere with loving and experienced guides.
I very much hope this brings great support, comfort and advise to you and your group, family, community!
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Craig grew up in Cape Town and after training temporarily as a Sangoma in the early 2000’s, went on to found UBuntu Bridge, a social entrepreneurship building culutral, linguistic and spiritual bridges, primarily through teaching Xhosa. Besides running the organisation, and volunteering in men’s work circles, he produces edutaining content to inspire and empower people relating to living as more conscious, harmonious, healthy and happy beings.
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