If you don’t know the trees you may be lost in the forest, but if you don’t know the stories you may be lost in life.
Quality stories told skillfully and thoughtfully can nourish the soul while fostering imagination, emotional resilience, moral values, and critical thinking. The level of concentration required to follow an oral story is very high, yet the magic of stories with a strong structure is such, that both children and adults can still sink deeply and effortlessly into them. Even very exciting stories can generate a feeling of relaxation because they create such an intensity of focus or ‘entrainment’.
Storytelling is currently enjoying a healthy resurgence worldwide. People are rediscovering the power of storytelling in education, business, therapies, and the arts. The power of stories is currently being related in TED talks, discussed on blogs, twitter feeds and in university storytelling courses. Read more about storytelling at my blog.
About the Story Tree
The name came from an ancient fig tree which grows on a rainforested property inland from Bonalbo. This tree has the most magnificent buttress roots, tangled hair roots that hang down form the branches and mossy, mysterious alcoves. When our children were quite young, we came to refer to it as “The Story Tree”.
We would walk through the forest to it, play under it and sometimes, sit to tell stories under it. But strangely, for me at least, stories rarely came when we sat under the tree. The tree evoked mystery, wonder and silence. Sometimes ideas would well up days later. When I came to set up my own company, my ex-partner Max suggested the name ‘Story Tree’. Feeling indecisive, I asked the people on my email list to vote for their favourite of name from three choices. The Story Tree won, which was lucky, because by the time the vote came back I was completely-down-to-my-roots in love with the name Story Tree!
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Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, the power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts.
If you keep telling the same sad small story, you will keep living the same sad small life.
Thanks to Patti J. Christensen for some of the above story quotes.