Episode 97: The art of storytelling and the need for silence

ashley_bluebellsIn this episode I connect with storyteller and founder of the International School of Storytelling Ashley Ramsden. He starts out by sharing how he ended up on the path of storytelling, pointing to the importance that stories have on our lives. We go on to explore the essence of storytelling, seeing it as a profound vehicle for self understanding, comfort and connection with others. (12.00) We then go into to the act of receiving a story and the art of listening, seeing how both the giving and listening aspects of storytelling are connected and interdependent. We especially dwell on the principle of connection, exploring some of the key points relating to why this principle is so important for both storytellers and human beings in general. Following this we explore what it means to enter “the stage” without an agenda, and how the act of storytelling can create a nourishing space on many levels.

(24.30) Following this we explore the possibilities that emerge through storytelling, for instance for children (not to mentioned the “dried up” child buried inside many grownups!) and how stories open towards the unconscious; could it be that we need to open ourselves more towards the non-rational aspects of our being? Our rational minds are highly active during daytime and are often overloaded with information and answers. Stories, on the other hand, open towards wonder and the powerful experience of not knowing. This might sound strange, but could it be that we really need more of this not-knowing? (34:20) Following this we inquire into the notion of inner stillness and what it means to have a “fresh” thought, or to tell a fresh story. How can we suspend the seemingly relentless barrage of inner and outer noise, and from a more still place offer something which is novel? What happens when we drop into and connect with the deep current which always flows inside, and how can we cultivate the capacity for letting this happen?

(43:06) We link the preceding discussion into the overarching intention of this podcastshow, which is to investigate different approaches to personal, relational and societal transformation. We also explore a possible paradox related to the value of stories and storytelling, namely, that we need to both hear and tell stories, and at the same time, we also need to be able to let go of all our stories so that we can be truly present to life as it is.

(56:36) One of the most interesting points for me (James) emerges as we point to the importance of developing our egos. Many teachers, healers and spiritual traditions point to the possibility of transcending the ego, however, could it be that we have a greater need for strengthening our egos, and if so, how does this play into the role of storytelling? (1:01:01) In the final part of our conversation Ashley brings in a couple of poems from the Norwegian poet Rolf Jacobsen, and he ends of with an interesting reflection regarding a more feminine principle to meaning-making and action in the world; could it be that listening, stillness and a more participative consciousness will be the way ahead?

Episode links:
Ashley Ramsden
The International School of Storytelling
The Need for Silence, public dialogue 27.03.2014 with Ashley Ramsden, Hilde Johanne Aafoss and James Alexander Arnfinsen, being held at Annas Kafé in Trondheim.
The Song of Silence, international performance 02.04.2014 with Ashley Ramsden and Hilde Johanne Aafoss, being held at Thomas Angels Kapell, Trondheim.

James Alexander Arnfinsen (redaktør)
James Alexander Arnfinsen (33) er lærer og arbeider ved Åsvang Skole i Trondheim. Han har i tillegg en variert opplæring innenfor dialogbasert prosessledelse, nærværstrening og konflikthåndtering. I fritiden trener og instruerer han aikido. Han er oppvokst i Oslo, men har studert og arbeidet i Trondheim siden 2005. Ta kontakt med James på følgende adresse: james.arnfinsen @ gmail.com
James Alexander Arnfinsen (redaktør)
James Alexander Arnfinsen (33) is a teacher, his subjects being geography, religious studies and sports science. He is currently working as a teacher in primary school. In his free time he practices Aikido, a Japanese martial art that in it´s essence is about creating a healing relationship towards oneself and others. James lives in Trondheim, Norway.
  • James Arnfinsen

    I would like to point out that there are some really interesting synergies between the themes that emerged in this podcast and the issues I explored with my dear teacher in Social Presencing Theater Arawana Hayashi. She has for decades explored what it means to “make a true move” and this fits nicely with what Ashley and I discussed around stillness and how to tell a “fresh story”. http://www.levevei.no/2014/02/episode-94-embodiment-and-presence-as-a-way-of-life/