Monday, January 21, 2008
THE POWER OF STORY IN MEDIATION
A couple of weeks ago, I had an interesting meeting with an actor who is interested in Storytelling as a tool for mediators. Last weekend, I accepted her challenge to write out a two page "story" of my own history. It was a self-reflection in which I rarely indulge.
Over the past two decades, I have succeeded in maintaining a home and marriage, and, together with my high school boyfriend, and husband of almost thirty years, raised three extremely competent, wonderful human offspring. So it was not so easy for me to look inwards at my own professional accomplishments for this purpose and to put them into a publishable perspective. My surprise, however, was not from the story, but from how powerfully the exercise itself has affected me. Somehow, putting the "story" into writing has given it a loud voice in my head and on my computer. I've yet to share it with anyone, but still can't put it away. I can only imagine how powerful such a tool could be in a difficult, personal and emotion-laden mediation!
In the meanwhile, I read an interesting account of a gentleman who is engaged in just such a process with prison inmates. By giving them the tools and space to write their own accounts, he can set them free to atone, to revise and edit, to grow and to earn peace within and outside the prison walls. It is an awesome tool and if she'll allow me to do so, I shall gladly reveal the individual who has inspired me after a more formal gathering we have planned in early February. In the meanwhile, I encourage you to give storytelling a try. Begin with your own story and see if it has the same effect on you that I have shared here. I'd love to get your feedback!