So there we were. One hundred and five of us. Give and take a few. Oil rig workers, corporate lawyers, physiotherapists, opera singers, dentists, florists, doctors, dancers and DJ’s. Some stay-at-home-mums like me and some coaches, too. There we were in a very important looking conference room in an important looking Hotel business centre.
And there at the front of that very important looking conference room stood a world class trainer, asking us to get into groups of three, to each choose a random object like a hat, a mouse, a truck. Just an object. Just a word.
“For the next hour or so” the world class trainer said, “you will first pass your word to the person standing on your left and then that person will proceed to tell you a story that involves your object in some way”.
Give and take a few, one hundred and five hearts skipped a beat. Did he just say tell a story? Did he really say ONE hour? And the room filled up with a peculiar sound, a bit like a huff, like ha and ohh expressed in one breath. Surely, he didn’t say that!
But yes he did. And because we all knew this man to be very wise, we did as we were told. We got into groups, we passed our word and we told stories. And, give and take a few, one hundred and five of us loved it!
To have someone tell you a story….. it feels like that one time you were reunited with your so-very-missed best friend, like the time someone gave you that special little trinket, you didn’t know you would treasure forever.
And to top it up, we agreed, there was something completely liberating about creating a story without any preparation. Without a plan or a plot, without predefined characters or a fixed context. A free flowing story that not even the story teller knew until the words were spoken. The trick was to not try. To just let one word, one sentence follow the next. Without any filters or editing. Just move your lips, follow the word and let be. Magical. And even more magical, when one hundred and five bankers and DJ’s and teachers and dentists let go of a long held belief, that they couldn’t possibly tell a story just like that. Give and take a few, of course.
So if one day you are being asked if you want to listen to a story, shout yes and pay close attention. And if one day your are being asked if you would like to tell someone a story, leave the books on their shelves, begin to move your lips and simply follow that first word with another. And another. And another. No filters. No editing. Just be…. a story teller.