THOUGHTS ON STORY AND STORYTELLING from BOARD MEMBER REGINA RESS

Storytelling connects us to each other and to the deepest parts of ourselves.

I am so very pleased to have been invited to join Healing Voices-Personal Stories. I have told stories professionally in venues as diverse as homeless shelters and prisons, the White House and Carnegie hall.  I have taught storytelling to children in schools and I teach classes on storytelling  as a teaching tool in universities. And I have facilitated workshops for adults using traditional stories to draw forth, explore, celebrate and/or help heal our personal stories.

I have had the delight and privilege of working in and with story for more than twenty years. The more I work with it, the more I am astonished at its power to open hearts and minds, to teach, and to heal. I have worked with adults and children in formal and informal settings. I have worked with groups and I have sat and listened to individuals who simply wanted to tell their story, to be heard.

This I know about story and storytelling:

Storytelling is one of the most basic activities of human beings. It is through story that we communicate with each other. It can be as simple as telling a friend about how our day went, or as complex as telling the story of a major life experience, good or bad, devastating or transformative.

In telling our story, we articulate who we are, where we’ve been and where we are going. In telling our own story, we come to see ourselves in context, to know ourselves with more clarity, and ultimately, to find compassion and forgiveness.

In listening to someone else’s story, we are touched at the deep levels of the heart and mind. We come to know them, yes;  but also, self-awareness is awakened.  The listener is not simply drawn into the specifics of another’s story, but internal stirrings are strengthened by knowing others have faced and felt similar experiences and emotions. We realize that we are not alone.

Beyond this personal connection to the wider, communal human experience, for those needing encouragement and help to change the trap of a negative personal story (situation) there can be a glimpse of open paths, possibilities and helping hands out there if only the first steps are taken to walk out of and to change the story.

I am very excited to now bring my storytelling skills and knowledge to film and video, to be a part of the Healing Voices-Personal Stories Board.

Regina Ress

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About reginaress

Storyteller, Educator, Author. Board Member Healing Voices-Personal Stories; NY Metro Liaison to the National Storytelling Network; adjunct, NYU; member Storytelling Center NYU;
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