I would love to live
like a river flows,
carried by the surprise
of its own unfoldingJohn O’Donohue
As the telling of a story deepens, it becomes more therapeutic. As I journal, I notice there is a quality of depth, a feeling of descent as I continue to write. As the descent continues, the practice of just writing what comes to mind becomes more therapeutic.
Is this the value of free association that Freud was originally advocating? Let the person talk until they land into a depth of feeling that speaks some significance or meaning.
Can story still be in the here and now? Story in a coaching or therapeutic relationship has often been looked down upon as a ‘resistance’, or a ‘projection’, a defence against an interlocution that might reveal unwanted truths. And yet our mythology, our novels, our poetry, our erotica, they all make you feel something vividly.
The drama of our stories – their contradictions, fantasy, horror, absurdity, lustfulness, hatred and self-centred heroism – drive our feeling. We project the dramas within onto the canvas of our novels, our poetry, our erotica; they are personal mythologies that collectively infuse the cultural narrative.
The images created in these forms and the effect they have, impact our feeling and our sense of who we are. They become not just stories but visceral exchanges that unfold our depth and realisation of the self.
The challenge for us are the nagging internal questions of “is it real?”, “does it matter?”, can I grasp it? Our desire for certainties can lead to stories that close us down, make us rigid, snuff out potential. The desire to grasp, to understand, to have some kind of final destination kills the vitality that kindled the story in the first place.
Stories are the tremor of our day-to-day experience of the world. They are the winds that whip up the oceans of our emotion and drive the clouds of thought and feeling across the sky of the mind.