A number of The Stories Of Our Lives group helped me host an intergenerational event on the theme of Winters and Christmases past at Ascension Church Hulme recently, as part of Hulme’s Winter Fest event.Continue reading “Winter and Christmas Intergenerational Story Exchange at Ascension Church Hulme”
As a follow-up to our last theme for discussion, Small Joys, local visual artist, Su Vosper, came along to share her skills and inspiration with the group. You can listen to the audio of that previous meeting, shown in two parts below.
Su and I brought along a selection of materials for the group to experiment with as we explored how to express what brings us happiness, contentment and gratitude.Continue reading “A Joyful Visual Arts Event!”
The group shared two entertaining and meaningful sessions this month. The first was online where we enjoyed reflecting on then discussing our reading-related memories. Many laughs and coincidences emerged as well as some beautiful pieces of writing you can find below.
For the in-person session, which was part of the Chorlton Book Festival, we co-hosted with Professor Sophie Woodward. The event was sponsored by the NCRM (National Centre for Research Methods). As these beautiful photographs, taken by Rachel Bywater, show, it was a lovely, connecting afternoon, where guests and regular participants shared stories and thoughts on memories prompted by reading related objects. As one attendee said, “This is a place where stories can evolve, often in real-time. Where strangers can quickly become known to one another and find common ground by laughing and listening.”
Read on to see if any of your own memories of reading are evoked and to also see pictures of the objects on which our writing was based.Continue reading “Reflections on Reading”
Our first session this month involved a discussion about when we have experienced novel endeavours, whether on purpose or by necessity. It was a beautiful, funny and connecting chat and you can listen to some of it here.
Our second meeting, in Chorlton Library this time, was led by a fantastic guest facilitator Steve Beal, who got us trying practical activities designed to boost creative thinking. He used a range of thinking prompts, objects and writing exercises to get us exploring new ways of seeing things. Read on to see the reflections that emerged from the sessions.Continue reading “Trying New Things”
Both sessions this month were particularly enjoyable, as someone leading the session seeing the group and the relationships within it grow, but also as a participant, hearing other’s relatable, moving stories, and getting to share my own. In the online session, there was a small group of us. Gathering in a cosy cluster lent itself to a wonderfully open, supportive and joyful conversation about the situations, people and moments which have shaped us. One participant said that it felt “safe” and “like an extended family” to be in this group, connecting the way we do.
In the other in-person session we did later that month on the same theme, there were lots more participants but just as much trust. For me, the golden thread that united us during both sessions was that everyone has learned and grown from the often challenging things they have been through, which reminded me of this quote I shared with the group.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Read on to accompany the writers on their journeys of change, as shaped by key events in their lives.Continue reading “Events that have shaped us”
Community, what it means and when it helps us to thrive, is a source of fascination for me. So, during the past two sessions, I asked the in-person and then online gathering the same question, “What does community mean to you and when have you felt a sense of it in your lives?”
Here are some voice clips I recorded during a meeting, followed by some written pieces we came up with on the topic. We would love to read your thoughts too in the comments below.Continue reading “Community”
On the 22nd of April, 4 members of the Stories of Our Lives group and I led a session at Withington Library for their regular over 50s club. It was really lovely to widen our reach to more people, connect with them and hear their memories. This blog post is a record of what was shared, both for them and for you, the reader, to get a better idea of the shape of our sessions.Continue reading “Working with Withington Library”
I picture creativity as a constant companion we all have, one who can always be relied on, even though how they appear is sometimes not as we expect or want them to be.
An example of this is worry. Sometimes I have found myself catastrophising over terrible things that might befall me or my loved ones, and the detail has been so vivid that I have had a physical reaction; heart racing, clenched stomach, tension in the shoulders and given enough time, tiredness. As much as I don’t enjoy these side effects, I acknowledge and welcome the creativity that caused them as a loyal friend. It is doing exactly what my brain requested it to, painting pictures in my head, so well that I believed them for a minute. I also embrace this form of creativity because it has a conjoined twin who, guided by intention, brings me the ability to visualise positive possibilities for myself and others. When I combine this form of imagination with the energy of hope, I can turn what I have pictured into moments that bring intentions to life.Continue reading “Creativity”
“The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven’t changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don’t change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.” Doris Lessing.
I led two sessions this month on the topic of ageing, and this blog captures the participants’ thoughts and memories on this fascinating theme.Continue reading “Ageing”
This session took place on the 18th of December at Chorlton Library where we were joined by special guests from The Migrant Destitution Fund. We shared some mince pies and brews as we got to know each other, then swapped memories of times spent walking in the wintertime. In this post, you can hear recordings of some of what was said during the session, read the reflections written after it, as well as see some contributions from some members of the Stories of our lives group who were not able to attend on the day. This blog contains a wide scope of tales from the poignant, inspiring, funny, personal and evocation that will likely get you thinking and remembering your own recollections of strolls in the cold. I recommend you get comfortable and cosy with a warm drink before you start to get the maximum benefit!Continue reading “Memorable Winter Walks”