Storytelling, for me, can be a form of meditation. Stories can transport us into other worlds weaving a magical journey of the soul stimulating our imagination, our senses and interestingly leading us to finding solutions in our everyday lives. It is also an invitation to be “part of” by the storyteller.
Children will often want to hear a story time and time again, remembering every word and then suddenly want to hear a new story. Usually, it is because they have finally digested what they needed to from the story and are ready for a new adventure. At other times, hearing a familiar story is comforting and evokes memories of when it was first heard, revisiting the connection between the storyteller and the listener.
Storytelling was originally an oral tradition long before we learned to write. It was used to entertain, to teach, to record history, to transmit news and as a guide to help us find our way through life and sometimes literally as a map. The Australian Aboriginals use storytelling to describe a route from one place to another, often using rock art and giving names to certain features in the landscape as extra signposts. The repetition of the stories helps to remember the way. We sometimes do the same, but we have lost the sense of it being an essential survival tool, i.e. “turn right at the Church and then left at the Dog and Duck” leaving out the story and spirit of place.
When we become the storyteller it can help us find new perspectives on situations and it can also help others understand who we are, a little bit like a visiting card. There is something very healing about being “heard” and therefore “seen”.