Friday, 1 July 2011

"Storytelling is a God-given gift."

Listening to the radio on May 18 I heard Jeffrey Archer say:

“Storytelling is a God given gift.”

“But where does that storytelling instinct come from?” The interviewer asked.

“I think that’s God-given. I always say to young people when they say to me, ‘I want to write a book Jeffrey,’ and I say ‘well you have to decide whether you’re a writer, or whether you’re a storyteller. And storytellers -  like ballet dancers, and like opera singers, and like painters -  it’s a God-given gift. Writing you can do it on a good education, marvelous command of language, good upbringing, that all helps, but storytelling, it’s a gift.”

My ears perked up.

The storyteller is one of Stuart Brown’s player types.

As is the kinaesthete (Archer’s ballet dancer perhaps,)
And the artist creator (Archer’s painter)
And I have added another, The Musician (Archer’s opera singer.)

I am reminded of Brown’s belief that "When people know their core truths and live in accord with what I call their 'play personality,' the result is always a life of incredible power and grace." (Brown, 2009)

I’m not a Christian, but there seems to be a theme between these men’s language; would a life lived in accord with your ‘god-given’ gift not be a life of incredible power and grace?

I think also of the importance of uncovering and living in accordance with your purpose that is central to the spiritual practices of many cultures. (See, for example, Malidoma Some’s account of Dagara ideas around this).

And I think of Bill Plotkin’s writing about the soul.

Are our player types somehow our ‘god given gifts?’ God meaning what you will; that which we come into the world with, the irrepresable well spring of aliveness within us that wants to flow and causes suffering if we try to pave it over.

I interviewed the team last year in an attempt to identify our player types. Each person, when they came to the area about which they were most passionate, used the language of ‘let me’, Let me host, let me sing, let me perform, let me move, let me make you laugh, let me tell you a story.

And I wonder if our player types are somehow our soul’s preferred medium.

In the Fun Fed we think a lot about joy. At the moment we’re thinking about it in terms of softening the controlling part of you – that which tries to ensure success and avoid failure – and making space for the feeling part of you – that which loves, cries, plays, and feels joy.

I tend to call these parts the ‘casing’ and the ‘creature’; others seem to call them the ‘ego’ and the ‘soul.’

So, if our work, ideally, somehow calms the controller and brings out the soul, do our souls speak in different languages and are our play preferences what those languages are??

The preferences are as follows:

Brown’s preferences:
The Storyteller – creates, shares and relishes stories
The Artist / creator – paints, sculpts, cooks, gardens
The Joker – spots and delights in opportunities to create laughter
The Kinaesthete – plays in and through the body
(Brown also identifies The Explorer, The Competitor, The Collector and The Director, but my boss has rejected these as not relevant to the Fun Fed [with some disagreement from the team]).

I’ve added
The peformer – loves to play before an audience
The musician – finds home in sound
The engineer – delights in making and fixing things; precision, physics, timing.

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