World Storytelling Day
Today so many of the people who travel write a blog. Over the last four years of traveling the world, I have noticed a growing trend in the emerging stories of those that travel. The story is actually missing. I am not saying that there isn’t a market or a need for knowing the top ten things to do in Budapest, or the best air travel hacks, but the essential ingredient missing is the Story. In fact, many people have forgotten the significance of stories and storytelling in our lives.
We are all taught at school how to do our sums, how to read, how to write, the importance of science in our lives, but rarely if ever do young people encounter a class that is centered on Storytelling. Many of us don’t even know how to tell stories or the significance of why it is a necessary skill for the future of our world. Storytelling or the oral tradition of sharing stories in the indigenous cultures of the world are perhaps the singular most important aspect of human social development, of social cohesion and societal connection. Our highly geared focus toward the theoretical application of learning in western societies has left us unable to re-member or rather put together a good story told amongst friends. We have forgotten their power.
Storytelling in and of itself is an inclusive activity. Today so man of us find enchantment in that which is Exclusive, that which excludes others and we wonder why we have such discord in our world, in our opinions and particularly in our empathy and tolerance of others. It disturbs me greatly today to see that all people can think about is how much worse their little worlds will be, when ‘those others’ will come and take their jobs, their homes and change the way they live their lives.
We don’t sit even for a moment to listen to the stories of others. We don’t take the time to sit one on one with another human being and really hear their story. Instead, we have become conditioned and willing to accept the bite-sized cynical horror stories that are delivered to us electronically every evening at 6:00 pm. These cold calculating stories have become the new oracles in our lives and we willingly accept whatever it is they say as the undisputed truth.
World Storytelling Day gives us an opportunity to reconnect with the power of stories. It is a wonderful authentic idea which started in 2002 that now carries its clarion call to share stories all around the world. Today, I decided that I would go down to a wonderful local bookshop Readings in the inner city Melbourne suburb of Carlton to see what they had planned. In fact, it will be the bookshop where I will launch my book Dawn of The Guardian from, and they had some wonderful storytellers sharing their stories for children and adults alike.
This year’s official theme for storytelling is Strong Women… a wonderful theme to tell stories about. It is interesting how these themes weave their way into real life, as later in the day I was invited to share in another story, that of a strong woman, a cultural community leader here in Melbourne for the local Hungarian community, as she celebrated her 80th birthday. Earlier in the week, we had been invited to their cultural group with my brother to share our story with the community and to listen to their stories while they sewed their intricate patterns in the brightly colored Kalocsai Hungarian style. Stories told in this way transcend age, age groups and the imagined divide of the generational gap that popular culture tries so hard to instill in our psyches’. When we listen, we get to hear and connect to another person. We relate and see the commonalities between us, rather than highlight the differences.
For me, stories get to the very heart of how I see this world and the meaning I derive from it in my life. The more I go and the more we travel, the more I can start to see their intricately weaved carefully created patterns and it leaves a warm feeling in my heart. So take the opportunity on this World Storytelling Day, to talk to somebody, hear their story and you will get to know and see your very own story in a different and interesting light. Please come back and tell us about it in the comments below.