Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Aspects of a coherent Story

Narrative is pretty powerful and I have overly high standards for my story and the way I tell it. (Which is why I haven't totally told it here). What does it have to be like? It needs to have the following elements:
  • Details (where was I, why, what happened...)
  • Use of feeling words (shame, sad, angry joy....)
  • Tell what it felt like in my body (eg. My chest felt tight and it was hard to breath, my legs felt like jello)
  • Tell what I did and/or what I wish I would have done to get back to a state or rest of emotional equilibrium. (eg. What I wish I would have done was to call someone to remind me who I was).
  • If possible eye contact
These types of stories help model how to get from feelings of anger, shame, sadness back to a state of rest. This is something kids typically are supposed to learn from their parents. (Read a bit of a redundant post to this I wrote last week here). This type of story telling/modeling is like a mini-mental download. Because of hearing many stories told this way I have a much quicker trajectory in getting from feelings of anger, shame... to rest.

Stories can lead us emotionally. Even though I have put off writing some mini-stories here I've been telling them verbally with ever greater coherence. In fact I'm kind of proud of how fully I was able to articulate my story when I came out to my long-time friend em recently. It seemed to help her to hear the fullness of my journey.

And I think this is why I appreciate books like Mel White's Stranger at the Gate, and Waiting for the Call by Jacqueline Taylor. They have some aspects of this coherence.


M said...

I've been contemplating telling my entire story (as I never have fully and completely). However, I'm not so sure anyone wants to hear the long-winded, dramatic thing. *laugh* Of course, then I go and advocate others to tell their stories. hehe

just me said...

I get that. The other thing about this is that stories evolve and I really don't want to set my story or myself in a permanence. Story tells more about who I am today than who I am in general....