The Storyteller: Anker Grossvater, 1884, Museum of Art of Bern
Storytelling for the Common Good: Telling our Stories, Sharing the Wisdom
A GCGI Project to be inaugurated on Friday 2 September 2016 during the 13th GCGI International Conference and the 3rd Joint GCGI and SES Forum at Waterperry House
First Call for Stories
As it has been observed, “For the first nomadic peoples who had no written language, storytelling was the only way to pass on knowledge of the world. Storytelling was their history and their science. The first cave paintings are visual records of the stories that were told at that time.
"With all the books and recordings available today, all the visual and aural records we now have, more stories are preserved than have ever been.
"But preserving stories does not keep storytelling alive. Books and movies and CDs do not create communities. They do not bring people together. It is only through storytelling – the interaction of the teller and the audience – that stories live and touch people. What the ear does not hear will not move the heart.”
Moreover, as it has been noted, “Once upon a time one way-back day, long ago and far away, before the beginning of time, before the beginning of everything, before there was a beginning, there was a storyteller.
"Storytelling is the beginning of everything. Storytellers were our first teachers, artists, philosophers, and priests. Stories told us how to understand the world. Stories are the roots of everything we know – our culture, our philosophy and our religion.
"Stories explained the inexplicable, from how the world was formed, to why the loon (diver) has a necklace. Stories provided our first entertainment. And stories brought us together to create our first communities.”
And as I have noted in my own story Coventry and I: The story of a boy from Iran who became a man in Coventry:
“Storytelling has the capacity to touch our deepest emotions and it can allow us to peer at beauty. We glance at our own creativity and breathe our own thoughts. But more than that: Storytelling is also a wonderful path to set ourselves free, by opening our hearts to others and letting them in; becoming one with one another.
Because, after all, as many have reminded us, the best way to know truth, wisdom or beauty is to try to express it and share it with others.”
I firmly believe that storytelling - opening our hearts to others - is instrumental in enhancing inclusion, social justice, cultural life, and improving physical and emotional health at the individual, local, national and international levels.
Moreover, storytelling nurtures both the young people and the older generation by providing a spiritual path to a meaningful and rewarding intergenerational dialogue, benefiting each group equally.
Storytelling also builds community. Storytelling, as has been noted, is a means of bridging gaps of cultural difference. Hearing another person’s story promotes empathy and recognition of a common humanity that is a basis for respecting human rights. Knowing and celebrating one’s own cultural stories builds self-esteem. Knowing and celebrating others’ cultural stories creates cross-cultural awareness and understanding.
So, here you have it. And now, with this project, I wish to invite you to share your story with us, open your heart and let us in, and watch how your friendship grows stronger and deeper, and experience enhanced physical and emotional well-being, as I did, when I wrote "My Coventry Story".
How to Submit your Story
A Common Good Story is an inspirational, true story about ordinary people having extraordinary experiences. It is a story that opens the heart and rekindles the spirit. It is a simple piece that touches our readers and your listeners (when presented orally at our GCGI Conferences and gatherings) and helps them discover basic principles they can use in their own lives. These stories are personal and often filled with emotion and drama. They are filled with vivid images created by using the five senses. In some stories, the readers feel that they are actually in the scene with the people.
The most powerful stories are about people extending themselves, or performing an act of love, service or courage for another person.
Your story must be true. No fiction, no creative writing.
A magical storyteller in the woods: Once Upon a Time by James Christensen