Creativity As A Spiritual Response

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July = Story

The topic of story is important to me for at least three major reasons:

1. I work part-time in a Memory Care setting at a retirement facility.  The residents are mostly in middle to late-stage dementia.  They have moved beyond repetitive story telling to living mostly in the present.  In my work as an Activity Coordinator, I listen for story and attempt to provide enough engaging activities that story emerges.  I listen, make inquiries, and listen again as the person expresses to the best of their ability something that happened possibly many years ago. I inquire of their family members and staff to find out what they know, so I can see a fuller picture of the person now, and who they have been.  I believe that story is important through all of our lives.

2. I did not grow up with stories so my interest is part of an experience of loss of what having stories might have meant.  I am the third child, the youngest.  I thought for many years that the reason I was not told stories was because the stories had been told previously, perhaps to my siblings.  Later, I discovered that they were not told stories either.  As we grew up away from other family, there was no story-teller to fill in the blanks of the lives of our parents, or early memories of ourselves.  My parents had many gifts, but they were not story-tellers.  And, I did not ask.   I have found that my experience is not unusual.

3. I am a spiritual director or spiritual coach.  At my heart, I am not a story-teller, although I am working on that.  Rather, I am a story listener.  While, a therapist may listen to stories of individuals and families, I in my role of a spiritual coach also listen. The stories that I listen to may come from both individuals, and small groups.  These particular stories reflect their relationship to the Divine as these people understand that relationship to be, or perhaps long for it to be.  My vocation is to listen to stories that can be tentative and to stories that change.  These stories can also be deep, emotional, questioning, and trusting as part of a dynamic relationship.  My role is to not get in the way of the person’s relationship with the Divine, but rather to understand the Divine as being with both of us, in our present moment.  It all begins with story.

My purpose in sharing this is to invite your own reflection on story.  If stories are important to you, why are they important?  

10 thoughts on “Creativity As A Spiritual Response

  1. Beverley Golden (@GoldenBeverley) says:

    Listening is the key to actually hearing and knowing someone. I’ve done extensive training in Biography – Life as Art work and it is wonderful to see biography work becoming much more understood and used to not only understand our personal lives and its complex cycles, but also to help us understand the other and help them to tell their story!

  2. Leila says:

    Stories are treated most unique and authentic way of sharing. We craft through our words and imagination , images that leave meaningful and lasting impressions.

  3. Andrea says:

    As a therapist, one of my roles was to witness clients’ stories. Another was to help them edit — to create a different interpretation of their experience. This has, of course, informed my current writing and editing practice. I believe everyone deserves to have their stories told with love and empathy.

  4. Reba Linker says:

    Stories are hugely important to me. They entered my soul as fairytales and I am always amazed at the deep meanings embedded in them. I also relish the times that my bits and pieces and loose strings of life weave themselves into the whole cloth of a story.

  5. kelleygrimes says:

    I love this blog and your exploration of story telling. I especially appreciate your understanding that you are a story listener, As a counselor I so relate with this so much and know my listening empowers people to own and speak their truth. Thank you so much for this beautiful wisdom and insight!

  6. Rachel Kieffer says:

    Stories are an important part of my life. As a child, I fell in love with books and would get lost in worlds of wonder and fantasy, it helped me cope with living in a war torn country. Now I love stories of inspiration and use them a lot in my life and work.

  7. Lore Raymond says:

    Appreciating, “Rather, I am a story listener. While, a therapist may listen to stories of individuals and families, I in my role of a spiritual coach also listen.” I need to be more of this along with a storyteller.
    Thanks for the inspiration, Meghan.
    Storytelling is very important to me and like you, I am working on this craft as a writer. Meanwhile, I also seek to be mindful of the stories I speak during the day…are these positive and uplifting…or are they passive aggressive and negative.

    Stories heal. This I know and trust.
    My 4-hour course, “Second Blooming:Writing for Women of Silver” was just accepted at Eckerd College, St. Pete for their “Osher Lifelong Learning Institufe.” Members are 50+ years-young.
    We’ll see where else it goes…

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