Updated: Apr 18, 2020
Narrative Therapy reminds me that one of the most powerful ways to support yourself in uncertainty is to re-ground yourself in encouraging personal, or favourite stories that encourage you, or remind you of how you (or others) have overcome in the past. As we remember, we reconnect with the emotions and the images of the story, possibly if it is a family story the safe connections through which we heard it.
The story itself can give us a level of safety in uncertainty, and out of that safety, and the reconnection with the values of the story can guide us in the present unsettledness.
For me there are stories from this time that speak into the Rahui, family stories, normally told when my mum was relaxed and happy and recounting her childhood, especially the mischief that they as young people engaged in inner city Wellington, in the 1930's. Like many others they faced challenges that our Government is working hard to avoid. Her stories remind me of our values and their overcoming the challenges they faced. These stories sit in my mind with laughter, resilience and alongside the fun of cricket games in the middle of the street, of 1930's ways of avoiding school, and my mum's ever present love of reading, Remembering takes me back both to those safe family gatherings where I originally heard the story, and to the stories itself.
One tells of my Grandfather, sometime during the 30's, he watched a co-worker, another father of four, made redundant, and responded by giving up his job for the co-worker, planning on returning to sea. That choice played a more significant role when arriving home, he found his seaman’s papers had been destroyed in easier time by his beloved wife, wishing instead that he wasn't tempted to leave the family by the call of the sea. As a family they made it through, my Grandad adapted and made a living repairing valve radios his own small business. It’s after that that the stories of fun and growing up in inner city Wellington come. Of the four children, all ended up comfortably provided for as the economy strengthened, and new opportunities emerged. Those values of family, and of being aware of others still impact the decisions we make as a family today in positive ways.
Through them I'm reminded that the middle of the story is just that the middle, there is more to it, opportunities to reflect, create, flourish. The story links into the memories I have of my Pop, of birthday cards long kept, of his connection with making or fixing things way into his 80's, of visiting him and my uncle, and the repurpose, repair philosophy I grew up with. I hope as you have read other stories of overcoming have come into your mind to carry you through. What stories in your life can support you in this time? Stories of that encourage you today. I am reminded in writing this it isn't just family stories that can encourage us, Legends, Fairy Tales ( the hero, or heroine, always overcomes adversity, and generally gains a treasure in doing so) and Bible stories often do the same, those movies we go back to that leave us feeling stronger, favourite books, and songs. Story is a powerful way of remembering what we want to achieve in the present and helping us to refocus on how we want to be.
If you are curious to take your stories further, and unpack the values and hopes they hold for you, or to explore how your stories, heritage, and experiences can encourage you, or point to what you value in times of uncertainty; message me at Heart Story Counselling and book in a session.