23rd May 2018

Story telling is part of our human fabric

sounddelivery's Being The Story is an event with a difference

Being The Story Event by sounddelivery (c) KarinSieger.com
Being The Story Event by sounddelivery (c) KarinSieger.com

Workshops and events can achieve at least 6 things: engage, waste your time, teach you new skills, stretch you and make you think. Very few make you feel – deep inside, and move your heart.

For me, sounddelivery’s recent Being The Story event delivered 5 of the 6 and certainly was not a waste of time. Most of all, this one-day event about story telling left me feeling moved, deeply and profoundly.

sounddelivery offers a wide range of digital story telling services, from bespoke training for expert citizens and in-house teams, to project partnerships, consultancy, story gathering and content creation. Jude Habib and Helena Hastings champion stories that need to be told. Stories that challenge prejudice and disadvantage, and have the power to change the world around us.

My experience of the Being the Story event will influence my own work with story telling and the way I look at my own story, too.

Here is why.

In my work as a therapist and writer I help people tell, understand and own their stories.

Often at some point in our lives aspects of our stories can make us feel unwell and stuck – in depression, anxiety, hopelessness and more.

The work I do takes time. It is very personal. It hurts. It needs to do all that, in a way that is responsible and safe, so that processing and healing can start.

When we understand our story, why things are the way they are, and why we are the way we are, then we have a better chance to see new possibilities and make positive change happen.

For me, every single story telling presentation on the day talked about life-changing moments, creating options and human resilience to turn possibilities into reality.

As I absorbed every talk, a parallel film opened up inside of me: my own story and how the stories I heard could have changed my own life and might still change what lies ahead.

Let’s start at the beginning.

sounddelivery’s Jude Habib (@judehabib @sounddelivery), Director, event curator and host. You welcomed us so warmly and guided us through this magical world, that opened up, throughout the day. Thank you for making it happen.

Jessie Maryon Davies (@jmaryondavies), Musical Director, pianist, workshop-leader. I have never ever participated in a warm up like this. You broke the spell, straight-away. I wish my PE teacher at secondary school had had just a fraction of your attitude. I and many others would have started feeling more comfortable with our bodies. Thank you.

Amanda from “An Untold Story” (@UntoldStoryHull), on behalf of an all female Hull-based collective. I loved the writing, the fact you (and all the others) have stuck with it, raised the profile and now help others. Abuse, pain, loss, domestic violence and more – such a vicious cycle. Change is possible, with lived encouragement, like the one you provide. Every wo/man counts – so much. Keep going, Amanda. Thank you.

Eddie Taylor (@LivWavesofHope). New Beginnings member and volunteer. You probably have been told already, that you have achieved an awful lot in a short time. Sometimes, we need many attempts to finally make the jump that matters to make new beginnings happen. Finding a passion, like your photography, can offer tools for story telling, our own and that of others. As you said, it takes one to know one. I salute you, Eddie! Keep going, you have a lot to offer, to many of us.

Bryony Albery (@BryonyAlbery). Senior support worker, Wycombe Homeless Connection. You (as well as Onjali) reminded me when I was a key worker at a women’s refuge. There was little time to listen to stories, or for healing. It was about basic safe-keeping, bureaucracy, benefits, housing, medical assistance etc. In many ways we pulled together the information that Onjali felt remained fragmented. It is hard work and not well funded. Yet, you reminded me of what difference we make. And with all your energy I was also reminded how draining this work can be. Self care of support workers is a big topic. If we burn out, our ‘service users’ will suffer, too. Keep talking and sharing Bryony. Thank you.

Simeon Moore and Dylan Duffus (@zimbosla). Founders of DatsTV.  You both touched on a topic that is close to my heart for a number of reasons: street gangs, crime and the future of our young generation. As you said, changing the perception of a life style and its values, when there might not be very much else as an alternative, that is tough. But you have the right background and understanding to do it. You are not afraid to walk the walk and talk the talk. You have lived credibility. Right now, I live in a place where I no longer feel safe, for the reasons you have described. I feel disempowered and also helpless. Carry on, Simeon and Dylan, on and on. We need you. We all need this change. We all will benefit. Thank you.

Onjali Q. Rauf (@OnjaliRuf @MakingHerstory1). Founder and CEO, Making Herstory.  As I said above, Onjali, your talk brought back memories of my work in domestic violence. But it also brought back more personal moments, when I would have liked to have a home like your mother’s to come to. And as you said “we cannot go back to a state of not knowing”. I wish you well with your work. May it cause many, many ripples, small and large. Keep shining your light, Onjali. Thank you.

Marina Cantacuzino (@ForgivenessProj @MCantacuzino). Founder and Chief Storyteller, The Forgiveness Project. You said “stories reach across rifts” – definitely. Forgiveness is a journey and a process. It is hard to get there. But there can come a point, quite unexpectedly, when forgiveness happens -‘just’ like that. In my work, forgiving others (often within the family) is a key feature. But when you peel it all back, what emerges is the struggle we often have with forgiving ourselves. Understanding our own story and feeling compassion for ourselves and the choices we have made is hard, but necessary. Keep spreading the word, Marina. Thank you for your project and exhibition.

The Geezers. Older Men’s Network. www.ourbow.com I wish my father had had your inclination to go out, join in and make things happen. He like many others did not cope well with retirement. Many of us in the audience will have parents your age (younger or older), and everything you said rings true. Well done AgeUK East London and Action for Bow for the user lead initiative, to find out what activities men want to see in their day centres. And well done The Geezers for advocating and working across the generations. Our time will come when we will be glad to have networks like your own. Keep enjoying what you do, you deserve it. Thank you!

Dom Raban (@DomRaban). Managing Director, Corporation Pop. Your innovative idea of a Patient’s Virtual Guide to help children with their hospital experience is much needed, for children but also for adults. Having been treated for breast cancer and supporting people affected by cancer I know very well how little, or misleading, or inconsistent information there is. Even for us adults. I was too unwell, too overwhelmed and not with enough time to read and understand the myriad of leaflets, we should read, and questions we should ask, and understanding the answers we get, if any. I would gladly have had a healthcare app to help me understand a scanner or radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Or just say “Hello, how are you? … Well done … Keep going.” I could go on. I hope you will get further funding. And I hope the idea can be scaled up and across. Thank you, Dom, and my very best wishes for your daughter Issy. I am glad she is doing well!

Nick O’Shea (@ignitionbeer). Founder, Ignition Brewery. – I no longer drink beer, but would have loved to taste yours, brewed by members of Lewisham’s Mencap’s Tuesday Club. I am glad you talked about the difficult times, the stumbling blocks, the courage and determination it takes, the darker moments and reconnecting with self belief. Why do great ideas struggle, even when they make financial sense? We need to keep pushing. Thanks for making it happen. And thanks to your team. Rooting for your all. Thank you.

Ric Flo (@ricflomusic). Creative Director, Rapper. www.aboycallederic.com. You delivered aspects of your own story with such openness and so calmly, that one might be forgiven for forgetting how tough you have had it. Using your own story and creative talents through video, poetry and music you are well placed to help other children in foster care find their voice. That’s healing and inspiring therapy. Most of all, it is so clear, Ric, that you feel what you say, and that you mean what you feel. We need more of that. Keep your self belief and integrity and keep going. Thank you.

Rachael Gibbons (@RachCatherine92). Programme Lead, Power at the Periphery & Working Class Heros, www.reclaim.org.uk. You reminded me of my own university days in the mid / late 80s. Differences come in many shapes and sizes. At least one of my otherness is not class or race but nationality at birth and with that culture and language. My first degree was in politics and history. I did not get a grant and had to work throughout to make it all happen. Now I am proud of it. You made me think whether I should have been more politically active, and like you get involved in making change happen. Even now, there are many causes. Alas, it’s not me, not like that, not like you. I am doing it my way, in line with my own story. Listening to you, I felt fire in my belly, and that is good! We all need that. Keep pushing, Rachael. Thank you.

The Missing People Choir. Choirs with Purpose (@ChoirsWPurpose #MissingPeopleChoir). www.choirswithpurpose.com.  I had heard of you but not heard you sing before. At one point I stopped holding back the tears. You moved me. I have people whom I miss – but not like that. And I don’t know, how I would cope, if at all. What can I say? I am still speechless. Keep singing and warming our hearts. Thank you. I wish you well.

Thank you all, Jude and Helena.

I am inspired, with fire in my belly, with new focus, with a lot more hope and with re-newed energy for story telling.

You might also be interested in reviews by Madlin Sudn: Cathartic and powerful storytelling and Gemma Pettman: Being the Story 2017 

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