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Christina Baldwin on the Power of Story

Posted Jul 22 2008 8:23pm

Excerpts from the book Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story, by Christina Baldwin:

StorycatcherStory — the abundance of it, and the lack of it — shapes us. Story — the abundance of it, and the lack of it — gives us place, lineage, history, a sense of self.

Story — the abundance of it, and the lack of it — breaks us into pieces, shatters our understanding and gives it back over and over again, the story different every time.

Story — the abundance of it, and the lack of it — connects us with the world and outlines our relationship with everything.

When the power of story comes into the room, an alchemical reaction occurs that is unique to our kind: love or hate, identification or isolation, war or peace, good or evil intent can be stirred in us by words alone.

The power of story is understood by the powerful, yet the power of story belongs to all of us, especially the least powerful. History is what scholars and conquerors say happened; story is what it was like to live on the ground.

~ ~

Dusk, and the room glows only in candlelight for no one has wanted to move toward the lamps. Though twilight sits at our shoulders, we do not want to disturb the delicate attentiveness that hangs suspended between us.

There is a palpable sense of compassion and respect in the room. Eyes glisten with tears and laughter. This is story space. This is what happens when people set aside everything else and listen to each other with such quality of attention that speaking and listening become like meditation. Our whole way of being with one another subtly shifts: we become the ear in the heart.

~ ~

There are two modalities of storycatching explored in this book: oral tradition and personal writing. In the modern world, both speaking and writing are vital components in reclaiming and preserving story.

Both oral and written tradition is experiencing a renaissance in the modern world. Though we are under incredible pressure to fill our time with chores and distractions, to just keep moving in the race of our days, and to fall exhausted into bed, story remains our companion.

People keep claiming the value of personal stories… Story is loose in the world and the people of the world are communicating as never before.

Excerpts fromStorycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story, by Christina Baldwin, fromstorycatcher.net— “share your own story with the Storycatcher network.”

Related:

The Inner Writer

Myth & story

Nurturing mental health : writing

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