Narrative Workshop Exercise
Excerpt from Soulfulness of Everyday Life Radio Program.
“I am now going to illustrate how you that you carry much of the wisdom that you need to take back your story in places where you would not have thought of looking. Like Aladdin with his magical lamp, many objects in your life and memory seem quite ordinary and even useless or damaged but they actually contain great magic. There are metaphorical genies that live within those objects all around you. Those genies are the unarticulated stories about those objects that lead you to the unlimited treasure within the stories and memories that they embody.
The alchemists of old spoke about the idea of, through the alchemical process, turning base metals into gold. As you release the stories from these previously un-re-searched areas of your life, you too are, through the re-search process turning the ordinary base substances of mundane objects in your life into the gold of wisdom and reflections about who you truly are as a person.
Hopefully in going forward with this process you are re-claiming the richness and knowledge about what in your life has been precious and dear to you as well as re-discovering the ways that you have made a contribution and been precious and dear to others in your life. You will now be able to keep this knowledge alive inside you and draw from it, as it more and more becomes a source of encouragement and inspiration, helping you to stay close to what you really value and find important in your life.
Many of those treasures are objects that you have in your possession that you have held onto for years. Many of those objects you no longer have any use for. Many you do not even particularly like. Maybe other persons that you live with do not like them, for example and ornament or painting, but keeping it is one thing that you will not compromise on and will keep in the object in place regardless of the objections or teasing about your crazy taste. Some of the objects may be broken.
You may wear clothing that belonged to someone important and you will not stop wearing it no mater how shabby it looks to others. Some of your treasured or half-forgotten objects may be stored in a box or a draw that never gets opened unless you move home. And yet you would not dream of getting rid of those objects.
Some might be treasured objects that were lost or stolen but have never left your pained memory and when you think about them they evoke a sense of sadness, longing or regret.
Think of objects that you have displayed publicly and which are the ones that you have kept in private places or even in secret? What do you still possess from childhood? What have you always taken with you when moving home but maybe never used or even looked at in between moves?
What objects do you remember from the distant past that you were inspired by coveted or longed for as a child or even now?
I suspect the reason that you hold onto all of these objects, as strange as the holding on may seem to yourself or to others is that these objects carry, literally or mentally, stories in them that you need to re-call and re-claim because they are necessary and valuable parts of your life-story, your personal narrative.”
Choose some of the items below, then write down in mind-map or other form all of you associations with the item. Tell the stories of your memories, and the history of your relationship with these items.
|Advice received or given|
|Aphorisms and sayings|
|Collections or hobbies|
|Compliments received or given|
|Deeds or traits|
|Dreams, hopes and fantasies about future life|
|Family myths, legends, stories, jokes|
|Family or religious occasions|
|Favourite songs or pieces of music|
|Handbag contents you don’t turf out|
|Heroes and heroines in history and literature|
|Objects d’ art|
|People who inspired you from afar|
|Photographs phrases pieces of advice|
|Qualities of character|
|rites of passage|
|Rituals of giving|
|Rituals witnessed in other families or friend homes|
|Specific meals or mealtimes in general|
|Stars and celebrities|
|Statements made about gifts|
|The drawer you never open but also never dispose of the contents|