This afternoon workshop immersed us in story and in nature. Our three workshop leaders at Place to B – Eve Demange, Eloi Saint-Bris and Yvan Rytz- all led varying parts of the session. We started with a game, the beginnings of thinking about nature. Following that, we engaged in telling our stories. After analyzing the common elements in our stories, we ended with Joseph Campbell’s archetypal rite of passage. And we were given homework!
The game was fun, originating last week in the Creative Factory. Cards were paired and we had to respond to the combination of cards in some way. For example, is there a story you can tell when you hear the words “crying” and “bird”? The other combinations were “rock” and “music,” and finally “swimming” and “grass.” The activity quickly involved us all, giving everyone a chance to speak with a couple of others. No pressure, just fun.
This activity followed with a number of instructions for the next phase. We joined “counsel,” sitting around a symbolic fire and holding a story stick. We were asked to share from the heart, to listen from the heart, to do this with spontaneity, and to capture the essence of the story, to make it lean.
The question to which we responded was: how did you become involved in climate change, what brought you to this point; was there a moment? The responses to this seemed, at first, to be varied. The arctic, refugees, British Columbia, a lack of sense of place, growing close to nature, despair, growing up, feelings of power versus feeling so small, and many others were told. Each story was personal. Many were very emotional. All were moving.
Following the telling of our stories, we looked, in small groups, at what were the common elements within these stories. The group I was in started with the concept of metastory in the middle. Elements that many of the stories had in common were travel, the journey, family, use of specifics, a specific experience, nature, a determination or choice, emotions, and convergence, the coming together of people and stories. One other group focused on childhood memories, nostalgia, a connection to nature, a personal story, the need to share, the momen when it all clicked, the environment and watching that change.
The group was also led to see both the power of the story, the emotions of that story and how that story leads to a new story. These stories are more complex than originally thought.
At the end of small group and large group discussions, the rites of passage in mythology were considered. Our group leader had lots of references to films and books as he examined the Heroe’s Journey from Joseph Campbell’s work. Some of these elements include a call for adventure; a refusal to take on the quest; a meeting with a mentor, recognition of allies and enemies; the undertaking of tests and challenges; a reward; and the road back with gifts to the community.
It was interesting to spend some time redefining community. The community may be where we live, but it also may be an online community. Our assignment grew from this discussion: Return to community and give a call for adventure. Who will be joining us as we continue the journey?
Overall, the group seemed totally involved in the workshop and in telling our stories. It is definitely a community-building experience within the community concerned with climate change. Well done, Place to B.
Pictures: Michael J. Laiho