STORY - BASED WORKSHOPS
It is said that when you really need to get a message across, there is only one real way to do it: tell the story.
As an experienced student, practitioner, and fan of the power of story for over ten years, I have found story to be an effective and inspiring way to help people move into their "transformational state"- and in "Harvesting Wisdom," this is exactly the state which we strive to bring about.
I am offering four types of workshops that utilize the medium of story, each in a unique way,
and welcome you to find what calls out to you to look and explore further!
"Stories Grandma Never Told Me…"
The complex reality forced upon us by the Covid-19 pandemic worldwide has brought with it an era of "social and physical distancing," which has left many older people alone in their homes, feeling emotionally and physically lonely and remote from their beloved relatives. The project I named "Stories Grandma Never Told Me," was born during the initial Covid-19 times in Israel as an effort to create a model and mode of qualitative communication between grandparents and their grandchildren. It was based around the fascinating life stories of the grandparents, along with the power of reflection, authentic inquiry, and storytelling.
The reception of participants in the projects has been so positive that I have decided to go ahead and offer this service around the world!
How does it work?
After making the initial connection with me and arranging the logistics, the grandchildren (or children) initiate a (recorded) zoom call with the grandparent and myself. During this call, in which I interview the grandparent for about 45-50 minutes, the grandchildren are on the line in "mute" in listening mode only. The grandparent has already seen the questions, but the grandchildren have not. All this makes for keen and deep attention as I invite the grandparent to reflect on stages, decisions, and developments in his/her life and the "words of wisdom" they wish to pass on to future generations.
About a week following the initial interview, we come back for a "wrap-up session" in which the grandchildren, grandparent, and myself share our thoughts, emotions, and experiences. The project allows for a unique type of intimacy between generations, an opportunity to respect the stories of the elder generation, and a touching and memorable experience for the younger generation. (Note: participants can be as many as the family desires).
Telling Personal Stories for Generations to Come
On Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 21, 2020, I spoke for nearly an hour over Zoom to 100 people around the world, most of whom I did not know personally. I told the story of my father's survival during one of the darkest times of history. I had never imagined that I would do such a thing. It was not something I ever thought to share publically: the pain, the trauma, and memory of how his family, the Polish Jewish community, and an entire generation were murdered and obliterated by the Nazis.
Then I realized how important it was to do just that. I realized that there must be many people like me who also feel the internal drive and responsibility to "tell their personal or family story of trauma" for generations to come - about life-altering events and experiences, about resilience, about the sacredness of memory and the importance of redeeming their lives – for the sake of others and future generations. It is with this purpose that I have put together this unique workshop.
This 4-session workshop seeks to expose, highlight, inspire, and encourage participants to pass on their life stories to future generations in a public sphere. Meetings will be devoted to understanding and experiencing the principle of personal storytelling, encouraging participants to identify and brainstorm those "difficult stories" which with they wish to engage and tell others; journal and share thoughts on how to approach the content of the story; put together a plan of action and take initial steps towards telling such personal stories to private and public audiences. (Suitable for individual work, small and large groups alike)
"Writing and sharing personal stories in a group": "Guided Autobiography."
Perhaps you might find that being a part of a positive group that encourages you to write and share your life stories is the most suitable framework for you? The Guided Autobiography method is such an approach, joining an intimate and supportive group with which to get out and write short pieces of your life story that are respectfully and confidentially shared with others.
I have undergone training from the Birren Center for Autobiographical Writing in the US, which has been promoting this method around the world for more than 40 years. The proven format is as follows: 8 weekly, 2.5-hour sessions in a group of up to 6 participants; each week is devoted to a different theme for which each participant writes and shares a 2-page story. A diverse array of personal growth and "memory triggering" exercises enhance the depth, intimacy, and reflective effects of the group.
It is a wonderful, empowering, and productive experience for all those who seek the power of the group along with the intimacy of personal writing and reflection. No need to have any special writing ability to bring to the table!
"Building Bonds Through Story": How 'Story' can help build your team, community, all for one and one for all!
Are you looking around for a type of activity that builds an authentic connection between people, gives them the secure feeling of "being at home" and among friends? Then I would say that you might be looking for people to come together to tell and to listen to each other through the medium of story.
When people take the time to open up to what they are really about, to talk honestly, and to listen respectfully, genuine human connection comes about naturally. That is what this workshop is about: a casual, open activity to learn about each other and listen to what makes us "us," and what drives us to get up in the morning and do our best during the day that awaits us.
We, who are in the second half of our lives, have much to share and much to reflect upon. Sometimes all we need to harvest our wisdom is to get out there and share what we are all about and to listen to others do the same. This too, is part of the opportunity of aging. (Suitable for organizational and group activities of all sizes)