Blog

Great Storytellers We Have Known

When I heard this topic suggested by Anne and Alberto, I was intrigued and also not sure how I might go about presenting it to the group.  Where to start?  Storytelling has come to mean such a lot of things!  

My first thoughts had me reflecting on the heritage of oral storytelling, particularly the variety of traditional stories we grow up with.  I also started thinking about people I know who are great at the skill of telling a spoken story.  Then my mind jumped to how all modern entertainment, including films, games, t.v. and adverts all use storytelling to deliver a message or way of seeing the world.  Finally, I found myself pondering the many ways that psychologically, spiritually and culturally, we tell ourselves stories all the time, about who we are, where we come from and what the meaning of this often confusing thing called life is.  

I had no clue how to weave these thoughts and more into a brief intro. Instead I chose to start the session with the beginning of a poem called The Storyteller by Mike Jones. I followed this with a couple of simple questions, trusting that the group would perform its usual magic and inspire each other and me into deeper reflections which we could then connect through. The following blog is a testament to the group’s magic which I was right to trust, what great storytellers they all are and how yes, I am truly grateful to know them.

Continue reading “Great Storytellers We Have Known”

Spring and Easter

We had such a joyful time sharing our thoughts and memories about spring at our Zoom meeting on Easter Saturday morning.  We hope you enjoy seeing our photographs and reading our writing inspired by the session. If so, we’d love to read comments and reflections from you too.

I love the spring, the feelings and the memories it brings.  My partner and I have shared some wonderful early holidays in Crete, Cyprus and Spain: walking in places we’d find too hot later in the year, along coasts and on hillsides, seeing orchards of apple and almond trees in blossom and cyclamen growing wild. 

Continue reading “Spring and Easter”

Toys and Games

Listening to the group this week as they recalled their tales of childhood toys and games, I was struck by how important and impactful play really is.  Amongst other things, it has brought us joy, connection, freedom, learning, imagination and many precious memories. 

I heard of stories of objects that are long lost, but still wistfully longed for, games where play became a serious business, the creation of quirky characters and whole inner worlds as well as daring deeds of daftness/ bravery (depending on how you look at it).

With every snippet of story shared, I found myself going back into my own past and reliving happy, exhilarating moments of learning and play.  I hope you have the same experience as you read this and can take some time to add some of your recollections in the comments below.

Continue reading “Toys and Games”

About us

Jolene asked us to picture someone from our past, asking us about our lives since we last saw them, a long time ago.  What would we say to them?  In the break out rooms, she asked us to share our responses, and also to discuss what drew us to the Stories of our Lives group.  What do we gain from being part of it?  What do, or can, we give to others?  What do we want to say about ourselves in the “About us” section of our blog site?

Continue reading “About us”

Silver linings

Was I deceived or did a sable cloud turn forth her silver lining on the night?


John Milton, Comus, 1634

Gently, Jolene posed a series of questions for us to consider privately, in silence, before we split into smaller groups to discuss our responses.

 “How are you being challenged or stretched by your current circumstances?  What moments of hope and joy do they nevertheless contain?  What silver linings can you see?  What about any past circumstances that you have been through? What silver linings were there? How can you bring self-compassion and kindness to your current experience of the challenges we collectively, and you individually, are facing?”

Continue reading “Silver linings”

Winter

This week’s winter and Christmas themed session, led by Lucy, revealed so many similarities between different people’s experience, despite any variations in geography or date of birth.

Other people’s recollections helped me recall many things I had entirely forgotten about.  Most of them were food related! Christmas “treats” I didn’t enjoy but didn’t want to miss out on, like Turkish delight.  The special hostess trolley that was wheeled out heavily laden with a Christmas tea in front of festive TV specials at my Nanna and Grandad’s house.  I also was reminded of some more recent winter holidays involving lots of snow, and in the breakout room during the meeting, had a lovely laugh with my friend Sue. We giggled about how, one winter 10 years ago, our tiny little cars managed to somehow get us to work up two separate, very icy hills.  We both remembered the surrealism of the moment, seeing much larger, newer cars abandoned roadside due to their ABS literally putting the breaks on their trip! Both of us ended up being sent home again once we got there, but it was worth it for the memories.

There are some rich and scrumptious pieces of writing in here for you to savour, suggested accompaniment – cup of tea (or even something mulled!). We hope you enjoy reading this lovely blog and it helps you remember times you have enjoyed and remember.  Let us know in the comments what memories came up for you!

Continue reading “Winter”

Getting around

Joe led us in a second great session on journeys and transport, this time concentrating on the ways in which we regularly got around, whether on foot, by bike, train or in the cars we owned.  There was so much to talk about!   We shared stories of travelling to school, holiday outings, regular commutes to and from work, some within Manchester and some far away.  As well as vividly re-living those frequent journeys, the people we were with, or were on our way to, featured strongly in our fond memories.   

Continue reading “Getting around”

Memorable journeys

Our topic of journeys was such a hit that we could have chatted all day!  We decided that we would meet again to carry on the conversation, so this blog post is the first of two on the same theme.  In this one, our stories centre around journeys that especially stand out in our memories, including those in which we felt exhilaration when travelling that way for the first time, or under our own steam. 

Come on our journeys with us, hear our laughter as we recall those adventures and thrills, and listen to our reflections on the past, and regrets about what might have been.  If our stories trigger memories of your own, we’d love to hear them too.  

Continue reading “Memorable journeys”

Sayings and phrases

The prompt I gave to the group this week meant the sayings of loved ones emerged as a strong theme.  After the session was over, this got me reflecting on my own family which led to a great chat with my mum and stepdad about memories of phrases that they remember their parents saying.  (The best ones contained swearing but I won’t share those today).  Here are some other great ones that they came up with.  

Continue reading “Sayings and phrases”

Autumn

Most of us said “leaves” when Lucy asked us to say one word we associated with Autumn.  We talked of their vibrant colours on crisp yet sunny autumn days, the feel of them underfoot, watching them fall and their distinctive Autumn smell.   Despite some wistfulness at leaving Summer behind, we shared memories of poetry, new starts at school, college or university, walks in parks, bonfires, days out, holidays and excitement at the start of the football season.  

Our recent experiences of Autumn included the joy of seeing a much-loved toddler pick up a leaf from the pavement and gaze at it in wonder, and the happy sound of children twittering like birds as they returned to school, after such a long time. 

Continue reading “Autumn”