I’m sharing a moment of gratitude for my storytelling community near and far. Storytellers have this way of getting to the heart of the matter and for being an inclusive band of renegades and angels. I am fortunate to have stumbled upon the art and act of visual storytelling — writing, creating visuals, and speaking the spoken word in front of live audiences.
As an artist and writer who specializes in personal narratives, visual storytelling is right up my alley. I appreciate my national storytelling exchange group via Zoom and the drafts they sat through, asked questions about, and provided constructive feedback on. The Bridgeport Art Trail Storytelling Exchange is phenomenal! Our local in-person We Rise Storytelling Collective is fun and risky and embracing. Thank you for encouraging me to tell my authentic stories in front of such an appreciative group! Then there is the national Artists Standing Strong Together that connects and weaves and advances the art of storytelling.
Recently, one of my stories “Art Saved My Life: Journey of a Lifetime” was selected for me to present in front of a live audience in a theatre alongside 12 other visual storytellers and the entire experience rocked my world. There is this vibe and connection between the PechaKucha Night Bridgeport storytellers that cut through any phoniness or pretense. The tellers shared their own true stories on the theme: Journeys: How Did We Get Here? Thank you City Lights Gallery and PechaKucha Night Bridgeport.
You can watch and listen to my 2022 PechaKucha presentation here. Please be advised it has adult content about healing and transformation.
Creativity and wellness message for today: Consider creating and sharing stories in the presence of others, it may just change your life!
In 2019 I had a nighttime dream in which whales metaphorically foretold a health crisis that I would survive in 2021. Their wisdom helped me weather a very trying and scary time because I knew to trust their guidance. I’ve been connecting to spirit animals in my dreams and in waking life all my life. They’ve never steered me wrong.
Last year I was so sick and the medical treatments so severe that I had to take a medical leave of absence from work. Due to the severity of the treatment’s side effects, I had about 5.5 non-consecutive hours a month (that’s right — 5.5 hours per month, non-consecutive) when I had functioning brain cells and a modicum of energy. I called it my “one week a month when I came up for air,” for about an hour each day for a period of about one week.
During my long stretches of down time, when I could focus, I had a lot of time to think. When I thought about what I wanted to do when I came up for air, once a month, I thought “Do more of what makes me happy.” When I thought about this I pondered . . . writing makes me happy.
Serendipity played a hand one day, while I had brain cells I was randomly scrolling though LinkedIn, and along came a call for writers from Sacred Stories Media about its upcoming book by world-renowned author, teacher, shamanic practitioner, and licensed psychotherapist, Dr. Steven Farmer, ANIMALS: Personal Tales of Encounters with Spirit Animals. The publishing company’s call was “Have You Had a Mystical Experience with Spirit?” Well, yes, I have.
The Common Sentience book series is a first-of-its-kind series that brings to the fore and celebrates mystical experiences we have. Every book is anchored by a Featured Author (Dr. Steven Farmer for the ANIMALS book) who is a eminent thought leader on the book’s topic. These teachers share both their personal stories and deep knowledge in chapters throughout the book, along with selected contributing authors. Sacred Stories Media asked people to share their true, compelling personal stories of a direct interaction with a Spirit Animal. The story that immediately bubbled up from deep within me was an experience I had with gray whales in 1988 and how they helped me overcome fear on the Pacific Ocean outside of Tofino, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.
Over the next weeks, whenever I had a few brain cells available I jotted down my memories of that profound experience. Over time my briefly drafted word sketches grew into the whole true story. During my few hours each month in which I had energy and brain power I stitched all the pieces together and I felt happy writing it. The deadline loomed. I knew I had gotten the story as good as I could. I submitted it to the publishing company for consideration and went back to sleep.
Needless to say, when I learned my story was accepted I was delighted! I am now counting down to the book launch date of January 11, 2022.
Part of the back cover states: “Experience how these spiritual allies can guard, aid, heal, and guide you in the most unexpected and delightful ways.” I’m proud that out of the 35 selected sacred storytellers that my story is one of the highlighted six on the back cover! You can find my story on page 133, “Overcoming Fear With Help From the Whales.”
Best U.S. Book Links to Use: ANIMALS is available worldwide. If you live outside the U.S. please look up the book on your favorite retailer site. A shortened Amazon link is – https://bit.ly/cs_animals A shortened Barnes and Noble link is – https://bit.ly/cs_animals_bn
Creativity and wellness message for today: Allow yourself to to guided by the intelligence of animals and the power of nature.