From our Operations Director, Susannah Cole
Q: Does it matter if I don’t have a “significant” story to share?
A: Everyone has a story to tell. There is no such thing as a story too small or insignificant to share. More importantly, sharing a story and being listened to reverently is both healing and community building. Our training is less about the performative aspect of story and who is deemed a worthy story teller and much more about how to discover the stories you hold within yourself and the complexity of everyone around you. There is instruction on the art and craft of storytelling and you will learn what makes a good, compelling story, however the larger focus is on how to become a more attentive, curious listener to those you encounter in your life including yourself and your own experience. How to invite someone into your shoes and show them “this is what it feels like to be me” and vice versa.
Q: Can I use this training with groups of all ages?
A: Yes! Mark has worked with people of all ages to discover and craft their stories and the skills you will learn in the training will be the same tools regardless of age. For example, in 2021 we were asked by the Oregon Healthy Authority to help young people share stories to reduce anxiety and depression at Phoenix High School. These students were affected not only by covid isolation but the devastating Almeda Fire as well. You can read more about the outcomes of that experience here.
Q: Does this training focus solely on The Hearth’s model of storytelling? (Storytellers in front of an audience)
A: During the training you will be presented with many ways of using story in community with The Hearth’s traditional model as only one example. The vast majority of our past participants haven’t used The Hearth’s model as a map for their projects. If you’re curious about what kinds of ways folks have used this training, I highly recommend you read some profiles on our blog of past participants. The types of projects are vast and while many end up using story in their communities, we have also had powerful examples of folks bringing story questions to the dinner table at their family holiday gathering or mother’s 80th birthday party and how they have deepened their relationships and changed family dynamics.
Q: What is one of the most surprising outcomes of the training that participants least expect?
A: What I’ve frequently heard from participants of our trainings is that they certainly took away skills and tools to use in their unique context back home, but even more profoundly they gained a community during the week we spent together and learned the power of asking good questions and being a curious, attentive listener. The healing and personal growth aspect of this training is what I hear folks are pleasantly surprised by each year. There are a few videos on our YouTube channel of folks that came to the training last year describing what surprised them most about taking this training. You’ll also meet many others just like you who seek to help their communities or deepen their personal relationship to story which is inspiring and connecting in its own right.
Have questions about if this training is right for you? Send us an email!