Radical Storytelling For Radical Times

Radical= [latin] Forming the root.

2014 could have been declared as the year of the story. It was the tipping point in our understanding of the power of story in pop culture, as the advertising, entrepreneurship and leadership industries discovered there was a super highway straight into people’s hearts and souls…by getting to people through the most ancient thread of what weaves our humanity into existence: story. 

 

And then a second industry emerged, those who sold the concept that you could dissect the process of creating a story. A flood of books and instructional manuals were created that picked a part and dissected the procedure of building a story. But somewhere in there they hijacked stories, forced them into a form of slavery where they were designed to force you down a path of wanting, desiring, needing, rather than be true to their nature, which is to give something to you.

 

In the midst of this, mythology is as powerful as ever, and our modern day bards Clarisa Pikola Estes, Michael Mead, Steven Martin Shaw, and Martin Prectel, Jean Houston, and Carolyn Casey are holding down the guideposts of this lineage for our modern culture. But they hold stories in a different way, not as a rollercoaster ride that leads the mind through a process of thinking and believing and desiring, but rather, as a force of nature that courses through them.

 

The power in a story comes alive in the listener.

In a culture obsessed with consuming, when we come into contact with stories we are given the experience of sitting back and receiving…this powerful role of listening is being undermined, almost discarded. In a culture accepting of this idea that we have no influence or impact, we have nearly forgotten that the only way a story can live: is through the listening.

One of the reasons stories are magic… is because they are a vehicle for the soul to be expressed. And not just the soul of the person telling the story in that moment, but the soul of every person who has ever carried that story before them so that it can still live and breathe and affect our world today. You see…as I see it, stories are living entities.

 

But there is another kind of wild magic that happens inside of a story…we create a unified field of resonance. Ellen Schneider, founder of POV and Active Voice spoke to this as a way giving a shared experience to an audience. Stephen Spielberg speaks to the thrill of getting a group of strangers to laugh, cry and even all feel fear—together.

Stories are born of creation energy, just like you and I. And in that way, they have the capacity to have a soul, and to influence you, your thinking, your belief systems, your values, and even influence what think is possible.  

And my favorite kinds of stories (sorry, I have been known to play favorites) are the myths; the old ones that have been carried through time from mouth to mouth, absent of a named creator. And we can be with these stories in the old ways, as Michael Meade says, as an oracle to explore where we are living in our unconsciousness. 

 

So with that said…when we make a story with only the intention to sell something, when it is built from nothing but form and structure with the intent to manipulate the listener into doing something, we are essentially creating a soul less entity, a clone-- something that walks through our life like a zombie. These are dangerous stories. And you need to know them when they are coming for you so you can duck, dive, and take up aikido. One of the most dangerous stories that plagues our time is the story of scarcity. This story of not having enough haunts the way we relate to our loved ones, is threaded to our relationship to time, and lets not even get started about money, food, and resources.

 

So many within this society are obsessed with parts and has forgotten the whole. There is thinking that we can kill the elephant for its horns, and the for its teeth, and have missed out on the understanding that it is the wholeness that we are most longing for.

 

The same is true for our stories. We are longing for whole stories, that not only have structure that grabs hold of our attention, but that provides meaning and context for our lives.

 

We need to be creating trustworthy stories.

Healing stories.

Inspiring stories.

Nourishing stories.

The kinds of stories that we can call upon when we don’t know how to live in the moment.

 

As we approach uncertain times, there is a searching for the anchors of humanity that will hold us.

The trees will die.

The oceans may dry.

The land will burn.

The buildings will fall.

The damns will break.

And yet there is this mysterious thing that has been carried through space and time, that hasn’t required an object made of matter to hold it in order for it to live onward,

and this is our stories.

 

Some say we need new stories to provide context and guidance for how to survive times we are living in.  

 

But what if the first task as hand is to go hunting and excavating for the missing stories,

the lost stories,

the kidnapped stories that who long to walk among us but require our listening in order to love and live?

 

The Australians say that in order for the future to be created we must carry forward our stories from the past so that they can live there.

And the Sicilians say that words poke holes in the universe.

Hawaiian’s understand that words have the power to speed up or slow down the planet.

 

So to learn how to create a story…is no small task.

Because stories are built in the crib of chaos. 

You allow for the pieces of the story to fall through space and the structure and form will naturally create itself.

 

There is a earning to be taught structure,

but a baby is not grown one bone at a time.

Life in the womb of creation begins with the heart.

 

You need to feel for the heart of your story, for the soul of your story, and it will as naturally as the cells build a body, come into shape and form.

 

And then you need to listen for your story, with as much attention as you would listen to a young person, not so much as literally to their words, but for what is asking to come through them.

 

Creativity is the antidote to the paralyzing fear of the unknown and provides an opportunity to practice the skill of being able to create something from nothing. Our relationship to creativity provides a way to develop the muscles needed to thrive in uncertain times: deep listening, trust in the process and your intuition, radical collaboration, ingenuity, generosity of spirit, and willingness to embody and follow the creative impulse.

 

Once we have created a new story, we need to fill the stories that we tell, and retell, with our medicine, with that which comes through our soul to give. The resonance in which we speak, carries the medicine we have to give to this world, and is carried and delivered through the stories we choose to tell.  We speak through the realms when we speak out loud, and we bring the soul of a story, and all that have told it before us, to life.

 

And what our voice carries…is what we fuel the story with.

Is our voice fueled on fear hopelessness? Is our voice fueled by the meat of animals tortured through big agriculture, sugar made from slave labor? What do we feed our audiences when our voice is threaded with the vibration of scarcity? And therein lies the ultimate challenge: our words won’t be medicine if they aren’t riding on the currency of authenticity.

 

Speak with fear and you will speak to the fear in others.

Speak from scarcity and you will breed scarcity in others.

Speak from love, and you will wake love in others.

 

Words are magic.

There is an old story from the Laguna People that Leslie Marmon Silko shares in her book Storyteller, about how the horrors of our time were created.

 

The essence of the story goes like this: The story is about a group of witches showing off their abilities in the dark arts. While most of the witches showed off their skills using corpses and bones. One witch used her words, and she spun a tale of a time when humans would be filled with fear, and then they would kill what they fear. The story spun a tale of when people lost their connection to all when fear took over. When she was done casting her spell, the rest of the witches told her to take the story back and undo it. She refused.

 

So now it is up to us.

This is our legacy, and old story carried into our times that we are learning to live with.

 

But what story will we leave for our future selves?

It seems careless to leave behind a story of destruction.

 

What if…

We were able to create a story of a planet that learned how to love through the hardest of wars? Of humans who remembered how to sing the oceans back to life?

Of the land who welcomed us back and cradled us in her caves when the storms came.

 

So you see how meaningful it can be to understand the old stories…that provides hints and clues to how we got here… so that as we call out for this new story…we understand what old story is asking to be healed.

 

Whatever the circumstance, each moment we are given the choice of choosing which story of the world you most want to live within and breathe life into. We can serve the careless stories made from another time, we can feed on the zombie stories, or we generate the joy, love, and courage—we can choose to speak with a disciplined fierceness so that something else happens-- a life sustaining story born from generosity is woven into our times and can be carried by generations to come.

 

Ready to engage your story?

MYTH, MAGIC, & MEDICINE: STORYTELLING FOR A NEW PARADIGM BEGINS MARCH 6TH.  

Mine Was A Story of Escape

"Yell fire if someone ever tries to hurt you," my mother warned. But never yell help. People run toward fire, and away from help. And if some does grab you--act crazy. Like bat-shit loony-bin crazy."

Growing up as a young child in New York City, my mother taught me the basic skills for how to be street smart. 

"Walk on the far side of the stairs on your way into the subway," my friend Mark informed me. I was 18, and had just returned to NYC to study theater. "That way you won't be surprised by a mugger hiding on the inside of the corner."

When I wander through my own landscape of sexual trespass, my stories have been about escape. And when I listen for how I was taught by those around me, it was always in preparation for a stranger on the street. Even though, statistics reveal that the majority of sexual trespass and abuse is from someone who is known.

I was a freshman in highschool, and had just been served my first alcoholic beverage. I was on a date with as a senior who I had a crush on. And while making out in his backseat, he ignored my multiple requests to stop trying to take my pants off. He was nice, and fun, and yet something in me wasn’t ready to move at his pace. I told him I wanted to stop making out. But he refused. And without thinking I pushed him off and got out of the car and started walking home in the dark.

He told me to get back in the car, that it wasn’t safe to be walking alone in this part of town (and he was right) and that he would take me home. And he did.

I am grateful,

for both of us,

that as an uneldered adolescent, he eventually listened to me, and gave me a ride home. 

After hearing so many of the stories of other women, I am grateful to this young man, who despite his own desire, and his strength, didn’t push back on me.

I was at club in NYC when I realized after having one drink that something was vey wrong.

"We need to leave right now," I told Alice.

We had a code, follow the instincts of your friend without question.

We had walked through the streets many late nights, and if one of us saw something headed our way we were wary about, we simply said, "Let's cross," and without skipping a beat in our conversation, we crossed the street.

So Alice and I left the club, even though we had just arrived.

Within 8 minutes we discovered our drinks had been drugged-- we couldn't stand upright, couldn't tell where we were, even though we were just two blocks from our home.

I am grateful that she listened. I am grateful that some part of me knew to leave. 

I was walking with another friend another night when I saw a couple of men walking toward us who were clearly not in a right state of mind. "Let's cross," I said to Faith. 

"Why?" she asked.

I wasn't used to the code being ignored. Faith and I were facing each other, leaning against a building waiting for the club to open. The man walking toward us was tearing off his t-shirt. I explained the situation and started to cross the street. 

"Don't be silly, it's fine," she said. 

As the man approached I looked down, somehow knowing well enough not to look him in the eye, but it was too late, he grabbed the drink that was in my hand, smashed it against my chest and then out of my hand.

It wasn't fine. 

I turned and walked away without saying anything, leaving my friend behind, breaking another code, but too angry that I hadn't been listended to, and too angry that I hadn't followed my instincts. 

At night, I walk down the middle of streets and avoid dark sidewalks, even when walking with friends who mock me. 

When by myself I walk with a bad-ass strut, nothing like the slow saunter when walking with others. I've hitch hiked across Alaska and Hawaii, often by myself. I always pick up women hitchhikers, only once did I pick up a man when I was by myself, instantly regretting it, fearful the entire time. He was perfectly nice. But I just couldn't get the what if scenario out of my head. I live and act from a lot of what if scenarios.

Just the other day, I watched myself change out of a skirt and into pants, when I realized I would be walking through a more remote part of town alone...well...because I don't want to have to put words to what went through my mind. 


Part of my unofficial training for how to be a woman in America included taking in an outragous amount of news, media, movies, and television repeatedly exposing me to women being abused and violated. 

As a young woman, with a full figure that attracted the attention of men, I learned to hide my sexuality as best I could. I am, as they say, a late bloomer, and it wasn't until I was in my mid to late 30's, living among a community of men and women who showed continued respect and appreciation for each other, that my sexuality eventuality emerged to be embodied, and not feared as something that would attract something I didn’t want.

As I write this, I realize I have lived much of my life acting as if I were prey being hunted. 

I can't say that I consciously feel that way. It’s just there, an undercurrent of life.

And I also can't say that it is true. Plenty of the times I crossed the street was because 1 or 3 men men were together, and living in the what if sceanrio outweighted my willingness to just walk by them and look them in the eye, acting as if I wasn’t prey.

The truth of it is, I have felt safe, comfortable, cared for, and looked after by the men in my life. 

And my mother, and my friends, never taught me to be afraid of this world, but rather, they taught me how to live in it. 

In the wake of hearing so many stories of trespass, I am shy to share these stories. And I realize I haven’t shared them before now. And this is our way. Many women don’t share these kinds of stories, they hold in them the complexity of shame, embarrassment, comparison, and more. But then I think…who am I not to share the wisdom of my parents and friends? The learning from following my instincts? How would i have acted differently if I was not taught from a very young age that it was not only my right — but my job— to protect and defend myself? These are the kinds of questions being surfaced in our times.

How can we change the cycle of fear, change the cycle of abuse and trespass, and transform what we have learned into teachings that steward the next generation of both men and women into respectful and responsible relationship with each other?


This Novemeber 10th, I will be co-teaching a course on how to tell your stories…join me if you have a story you have been holding, or want to learn how to work with hard to tell stories so that they can play a part in the change that is being calling for.

You can learn more here.

Long Distant Relationship: Love, Distance, Romance

I'm in that moment of returning

It's never easy to come back after 5 days away in rural Canada, in the company of a community committed to scholarship and wondering with a man who has committed himself to eldership, culture, grief, community, and flirts with making sense of the times (as in all of the times) we are living in.

I am, as they say at the Orphan Wisdom School, wrecked on schedule-- with not much desire to speak out loud as all of the words spoken outloud and within settle in. 

But since I have, afterall, reached out to you on this day~ I will share this.
It wasn't discussed, explored, or wondered about, but for me...the worst of the most unimaginable thought form entered my mind and now that I have it in my grip...I'm wondering out loud about it's unwelcome arrival.

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I was walking through a field...watching the tall grass waved by the wind as it  fondled them so, taking in the generous scent of the Indian Paint Brush, in a state of awe of how blue the sky was, how vibrant the green of the trees was...how almost unbearably beautiful everyone was against this backdrop...
...and this is when it happened.
...and I'll never be able to take this experience back....
...and you see this is why I am so devastated today.


For a moment, 
the part of me that had been tamed by the cities, 
the part of me that had allowed for white and polluted skies to become normal,
the part of me that has gotten used to living among starving and famished trees and grasses, 
allowed this thought to make it's way past the guarded gates.
Here's the thought: 
 
All of this beauty...
didn't look...
...real.

For all the time I have spent in the wilds...I didn't think this could ever be possible, (not to me at least).

That my mind would on its own accord create a calculation based on the number of times I had seen this and that, and then present me with an equation that would make me question which state of environmental health and wellness has a more valid place on the planet.

Something announced that no matter how hard I have attempted to escape the consequences of our times...no matter how many times I have run to the edge of the earth and placed myself at her shores for months and sometimes years at a time, there is no where to run.
No place is safe from what is happening.

And as my plane descended into Toronto, it was impossible to ignore all of the houses with pools painted blue, mimicking the ocean they might not have realized they were trying to remember they missed, while just a stones throw away, lived their neighbor, the river, appearing ignored as she shriveled in her loneliness.

It would appear I have finally come to terms with what it means to be in a long term long distance love affair. But it has been going on for so long...the quick thrill of being reunited can no longer hide that relationships aren't built in fragments scheduled here and there, but over time and by weathering the storms of many seasons. 

May the stories that come to you be gentle and kind,
and may the old stories that are ready to be laid to rest do so with ease and grace,
and may the ones still aching to be heard because they have a gift worthy of giving find generous ears to receive them. 

all the best, 
Leah

Teachers VS Wisdom Keepers

"Whatever you're trying to do over there-- you're not going to do it that way."


I was trying to figure out my whole life.
While filling my car with gas at the gas station.

My brows must have been furrowed something fierce because the guy pumping gas beside me was inspired to reach out to tell me life doesn't work that way. Man oh man was he right. What an act of generosity. What a teaching.

This much I understand today: anyone who declares themself a teacher, and then tells you to pay them for the experience of giving away your self authority... isn't to be confused with wisdom and knowledge keepers.

My teachers are the ones woven so finely into the thread of life that they sneak up when I least expect them. And they rarely require that I pay them for the luxury of learning from them.

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Some of my favorite covert teachers slip in without rhyme reason, and usually without bells or whistles. Such as the woman who sat next to me on an airplane at a turning point in life when I thought I was about to abandon a path committed to youth.

Just last week, a homeless woman sat next to me at a coffee shop and struck up a conversation. As you might imagine my first inclination was to focus on my ditrac-o-gadget, but for one reason or another what she said engaged me, and then she asked me a big question. A really big question. A declaration to universe question. Which invited me speak something out loud I had never been willing to speak out loud before.

The teachers I work with are the ones who live close in.
Interwoven in the day to day.
My family.
My friends.
My beloveds.

And just when I think I've figured out how to spot them, they sneak in disguised as a story that has taken up residence between myself and someone I care about.
They live inside of every conflict.
Inside of every rub.
Every yes. Every no.

And then there are the super covert operators, who teach just by being, their teaching so strong the student has to not only have the lens to see them, but the tools necessary to metabolize and digest them. 
Ahhh~ this school of life is so much fun.

The story of young people being betrayed and trespassed upon by people who claim to be their teachers is overwelming in my field of awareness today.

i know I'm winning when I see the upset with someone as an opportunity to learn something that is being offered to be taught. And I know I'm losing when if I think I'm right and they're wrong. 

And I do wish that as a collective we could help younger people, younger women in particular, learn how to make the distinction between someone who claims to be a teacher, and someone who is a bit further down the path, knows how to wield a tool or two, and is committed to either teaching you how to use the tool they learned how to use, or supporting you to identify your own tools of self mastery.

And don't get me wrong, there are a lot of wisdom holders and knowledge keepers I love studying with. And those teachers...who teach through betrayal...well...if we were to weave a mythic story about the gifts they ultimately offer if the student can distance the lesson from the messenger, well then, that could be a fine story to weave into being.

May the stories you tell be kind and generous teachings, 
Leah

Powerful Kindness & Radical Acts Of Gratitude [newsletter]

I'm going to tell you a story about how a
hostage was returned. 


Perhaps you're thinking: "Leah, it's the holidays...can't you bring us something more season appropriate?
 
I’m asking you to trust me.
 
But even more than me, I’m asking you to trust this story, because it has been banging at the door asking to be shared. It begins like this...
 
Laura Ling was a journalist who was held captive by the North Koreans for 5 months.

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This story has nothing to do with how or why she was kidnapped. 

It has everything to do with what she did while she was being held captive, facing a sentence of 12 years of hard labor. 

I worked with Laura at Current TV, not closely, but close enough so that at nearly every gathering, every meal, every hike in the wilderness during those 5 months I thought of her, alone in a cell. It’s weird when you know that someone who is humble and kind and makes self-deprecating jokes is being held captive by North Korea.

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Laura was released after 5 months. 

Kim Jong-un agreed to release Laura under the condition that Bill Clinton would meet with him.
 
You see, when Kim’s father died, Bill Clinton was one of the first to call him with a condolence.
 
And ever since receiving that phone call, after recieving someone reaching out under and over the story of politics and into the story of human connection, Kim had always wanted to meet Bill.
 
Kind of mind blowing when you consider what one little act of radical kindness would eventually influence.

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RADICAL: 
A medieval philosophical sense, from Late Latin radicalis "of or having roots," from PIE root *wrad- "branch, root"
  
Meaning: "going to the origin, essential"


“Gratitude is what got me through”

It was a few years later when Laura and I were meeting for tea talking about a few story concepts. I don’t know how it came up, but when someone starts telling you that gratitude is what kept them from going coo-coo while being held hostage in North Korea, you pay attention.
 
“But I had to be grateful for what was actually happening in the moment, it wasn’t about being grateful for another time, it was being grateful for what I had in the moment. Sometimes it would take real effort to find something, such as being grateful to the guard who decided to whistle when I hadn’t heard music in months.”

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Laura's story reminded me of my own experience of experiencing radical gratitude. 
 
Gratitude introduced itself to me when I was walking the rings of a large circular garden I built while in the six months of recovering from thyroid cancer. Every morning I walked into the center of the garden with my gratitude, and walked out with my prayers. I wouldn’t say I was particularly spiritual or prayed before that event. I don't even know how I knew to do it. I just know that it changed me.

When I wasn't looking or trying. Gratitude wrapped its arms around me when I needed it most. 
 
It would appear that extreme situations can provide insight on how to live in normal times.
 

Want More Story In Your Life? 

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Here are a few ways we can play...
 
A grand last minute gift idea (If I don’t say so myself) is a SOUL STORY.
(Gift certificates can be emailed within a few hours of an order)

A soul story is a one of a kind story that is created for the receiver of the gift. It is a mystical form of storytelling that helps one see their life and how they are experiencing it through symbols, myth, and metaphors.  I do them for individuals, couples, and groups.
 
To help you understand this out of the box interpersonal storytelling session I'll share that Clarissa Pinkola Estes references how a sect of mystical storytellers use El Duarte (the wind) to blow the soul of the person into them, and Michael Mead says that behind this dimension, is the mythic dimension. This is exactly how I understand a Soul Story to work. It's esoterical and magical and mysterious in the best of ways. Here's how a few people explain the experience:

“Receiving my sacred soul story was truly a gift of great proportion. I thought at first it would be a fun idea. Little did I know how greatly transformative the whole process would actually be for me.” ~ Marta Maria Marraccini
 
“Leah's story was the sweetest medicine to my soul. I felt not only reflected in my essence but lifted up to enjoy the greater story unfolding in all of us.” 
-Dominique Lando

Other ways we can play in the realm of story include these upcoming workshops;
Online: Myth Magic and Medicine
In CA: Temple Woman (1 day event) & The Story of The Witch (5 Day Retreat)
Jan In Kauai
Feb In Maui

Green Gift Ideas Part 4


Welcome to the last installation of green gift ideas. As always, I receive no benefit from sharing these aside from the pleasure of sharing good things and good people. And in this case: some shameless self promotion. You can catch Green Gift Guides parts 1-3 here. 

A Date With An Artistic Experience:  Season tickets: think global act local: another great last minute gift idea. Support your favorite local arts organization by purchasing season ticket for your loved one. Museums, theater, film festivals..

A Date With An Artistic Experience:

Season tickets: think global act local: another great last minute gift idea. Support your favorite local arts organization by purchasing season ticket for your loved one. Museums, theater, film festivals..

Mojo:   A DIY guide to planning and strategizing magic in your life.  Kat Teplyan’s new age planner is using old school ways (pen and paper). It’s like Franklin Covey meets Martha Stewart in the planning of house and home and even includes reflection and gratitude. A great gift for yourself in prep for the new year.

Mojo:
A DIY guide to planning and strategizing magic in your life. Kat Teplyan’s new age planner is using old school ways (pen and paper). It’s like Franklin Covey meets Martha Stewart in the planning of house and home and even includes reflection and gratitude. A great gift for yourself in prep for the new year.

Myth, Magic, & Medicine A 4-week online class connects you to an online community dedicated to exploring the art of sacred storytelling. Gift your loved one an opportunity to explore the myths they live with, the medicine that runs through them, and the magic them make when they consciously tell stories infused with the medicine they came to give.

Myth, Magic, & Medicine
A 4-week online class connects you to an online community dedicated to exploring the art of sacred storytelling. Gift your loved one an opportunity to explore the myths they live with, the medicine that runs through them, and the magic them make when they consciously tell stories infused with the medicine they came to give.

Bow Glass An ancient art form, hand crafted just for you or your beloved. (True confession, Pierre, the creator of Bow Glass, is my brother, so I come by my awe of his creations honestly.) He hand blows and designs decanters, bowls, glasses, and many other beautiful things.  Follow him on instagram  or order a work of art at  Blowglass.com.

Bow Glass
An ancient art form, hand crafted just for you or your beloved. (True confession, Pierre, the creator of Bow Glass, is my brother, so I come by my awe of his creations honestly.) He hand blows and designs decanters, bowls, glasses, and many other beautiful things. Follow him on instagram or order a work of art at Blowglass.com.

Laughter, Big Moments, & How To Bring More Storytelling To Your Hometown [newsletter]

“I can't die. Bill Clinton needs all the democrats he can get.”

The air was pungent, filled with the sweet and soft smells of a southern summer as we sat on Kelly’s front porch watching fireflies light up the darkness.
 
Kelly was telling me the story of how her mother almost~ or rather did ~ die while giving birth to her younger brother. “She said she was hovering above her body, watching the doctors and nurses rush around, and when she realized she was thinking of politics (it was right before Clinton’s first election) she started laughing. And that is what brought her back into her body.”

Laughing at herself.
 
“My mom told me that story in a really dark moment in life. Sometimes you just need to look at what there is… and laugh,” Kelly eyed me. “Are you thinking about death a lot?”
 
“It’s hard not to. We’re living through the 6th mass extinction after all,” I answered.
 
“Even my 6 year old is thinking about it, she said. "Last week he asked me if I thought humanity is going to end soon. And when I asked how he thought it would end, he answered we’d either die from climate change or nuclear war.” 
 
It seems in right action to pause when we discover that our children are considering the end of humanity.

On that note… might I suggest a beauty break and that you open another window to listen to the glorious music created by the one and only Arianna Savall while enjoying the rest of this storyletter? (click here in case you missed the cue.)

Big Moments.

I don't know about you, but all of the big moments I have experienced have been made up of little moments that didn’t feel like much. It wasn’t until later, when we dressed the moments up with context and meaning that they became big moments.
 
The big moments are minutes are waiting on a clock on the date you place a lot of expectation around, and you really want them, more than any other, to be good moments. But some of the most impactful big moments really suck…in the moment…and only become the ingredients for legacy when you look back.
 
And yet, there are so many great moments that saunter by when you aren’t looking for fabulous, have no expectation for epic, and so they can fly by… under the radar…under appreciated.

I had the pleasure of seeing The Art of Courage a few months ago. Of course now it carries a different round of meanings in our most recent state of affairs since the film tells one of the stories of the creation of the 100% Renewable art piece created at the Paris UN Climate Talks from last year. I think you can see my hand in one of the scenes. 
 
It was a big moment by any standard.
 

These are listening times.
When you need to read the signs and look for what’s living between the lines.
 
So soften your focus, escape the confines of literalism, and act like a tracker might when she or he is trying to catch the scent of wild animal on the run. Best I can tell, that is where the path to sanity might be found.
 

Want To Bring a Storytelling Event or Workshop to Your Hometown?

I’m planning the fall schedule and now is a grand time to tell me if you want to bring a storytelling event or workshop to your community.
Let’s get the conversation started here.
 
To wet your whistle here are a few things that are available:

Workshops:

  • Myth, Magic, & Medicine Storytelling for a New Paradigm A 2 day workshop
  • How to Tell Stories Designed To Transform The World: This workshop has been done in corporate settings and classes. 
  • Good Old Fashion Storytelling Skills: This class is designed for people who want to master the art of storytelling

Storytelling Events:

  • Storytelling Alchemy: These gatherings use story combined with a unique group process to improve empathy and build community. Examples of topics that have been worked with in the past include rights of passage, love & betrayal, and forgiveness. These work for intimate gatherings as well as office trainings.
  • She Rises: A New Story for a New Paradigm explores the state of climate and politics through a mythic lens.
  • Soul Story Oracle Circles: Easier to explain once you’ve experienced one. A story is channeled in the moment as the participants unpack and apply the symbols and mythic context to their life circumstances. Great to do with a community, yoga studio, birthday celebration, or any other purpose you dream up. 

Sweet Treats:

Solstice Soul Story Special

In honor of the longest day of the year, I am offering a 1.5 hour Solstice Soul Story Special for $111 (normally $250). This special is available for sessions that are booked by June 21st.  You can learn more about these one of a kind story created just for you at medicinestories.com.

White Ally Tool Kit:
This tool kit was created by David Campt (aka the race doctor), advisor to Clinton's race relations committee. “Research says there are ways to reduce racial bias. Calling people racist is not one of them.”

Griefwalker:Documentary Film

This documentary introduces Stephen Jenkinson, who has been at the deathbed of well over 1,000 people. What he sees over and over, he says, is "a wretched anxiety and an existential terror" even when there is no pain. Indicting the practice of palliative care itself, he has made it his life's mission to change the way we die - to turn the act of dying from denial and resistance into an essential part of life.

Men Explain Things To Me:

A small book filled with sharp tongued essays and insights about what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women.

May you find your way to laughter through the big and small moments, may you remember to return to your body when you are needed most, and may we cross paths again sooner than later,
 
Leah

www.leahlamb.com
www.medicinestories.com
@leahlamb

A word (or two) about Patreon... Want to play a part in bringing more art into the world? I’m working away on The Whale Dreamer~ and am traveling with a small but mighty group of people ~ sharing the intimacies of what it is to write a book and create a campaign designed to engage the next generation of ocean and land stewardship. I share special treats with Patrons, such as the latest story recorded on audio, The Day I Married A Polar Bear, recorded at CDM Studios.

Dumb Guppies, The Story Of Scarcity, & Crowdfunding From The Heart [newsletter]

On singing, scarcity, crowdfunding, and more! 

“Some of the best opera singers are dumb as a doornail."

They don't let their mind get in the way of their breath." My voice teacher, Tamuz, is teaching me how to breath.
  
(psst. If you clicked for the free guide on crowdfunding-- skip to the bottom of the page. Now back to this regularly programmed storytletter)
 
“You have to let the mind get out of the way. Just act like a dumb guppy.”

Tamuz let her mouth go slack, allowed her eyes to wander up and to the left as if staring into nothing, and showed me what it looks like when you just open your mouth and trust that all the air you need will come and provide what is needed to belt out the next note.
 
I’ve been singing till I’m depleted and out of air, then gasping, sucking it in with desperation before the next note. My voice has become a critical part of the performances and Soul Story work, the resonance creating a form of magic that I can’t begin to explain, so I knew in my bones that I needed to address this running out of air piece.

I just didn’t know why.
Until now.  

I’ve been studying scarcity. 
It was no surprise that it showed up in my conversation with money.
I didn’t realize it was so pervasive in my relationship to time.
Or that it lived in my relationships.
Or whispered to me in the kitchen.
 
But it never occurred to me that it could be living in my breath.

“You’re working too hard,” Tamuz explained.
 
I couldn’t help but think about how our whole planet is working too hard, and the harder we work, the more resources we use as we stay up late, use more oil as we commute longer hours… We are using so many of our planet’s resources to depletion because we are working too hard.

A few years back I got an idea for a book called, “Dangerous Stories.” I liked the title. But I didn’t know what kind of stories would go in it.
 
Now I know.
 
The story of scarcity is a dangerous story.
I really wouldn’t recommend diving in without a belay.
 
“You aren’t really trying to do this on your own?” Matt asked rather incredulously. Then I realized that this idea that I had to face the darkest parts of my navel gazing on my own was even woven out of the threads of scarcity. Then he showed me a piece written by Tad about how our current model of self reliance and the village making (link below).

I’ve been asking a uncomfortable question: Do I need to blow up the whole foundation and structure that has been built out of scarcity consciousness and start from scratch?
 
Or can I just build a new platform of prosperity consciousness on top of this foundation?
 
And I started to realize…I’m not the only one grappling with this question is living deep inside of our collective unconsciousness as we  try to imagine what it will take to create a sustainable mode of living on this planet.

Do we need to blow the whole thing up and start again from scratch?
 

Or can we build on top of an infrastructure that was built and designed based on a depleting resources model-- and find a new way to find balance with the inherent prosperity that this planet is created from?

CROWDFUNDING FROM THE HEART
Meanwhile, I’m putting together the next cohort of crowdfunders. After I ran a couple of kickstarter campaigns people started approaching me for consulting. I love it. I get to put all of my knowledge about online engagement, online communication and strategy, writing and long term community engagement strategy to good work while supportying activists, social do-gooders, and artists manifest their dreams into reality.

I put together this rad video interview series (if I don't say so myself) with some stellar human beings and social good entrepreneurs who have raised from 30K to over 100K and share their systems, techniques, and tricks of the trade. After hosting 6 of these conversations, turns out every single conversation is threaded with the same keys to their success: Love and generosity. I kid you not.
 
You see, the trick to crowdfunding, is that is has very little to do with asking for money, and everything to do with cultivating a massive field of generosity. 

If you want to know more about the logistics, as part of my storyteller community I would love to offer you my 23 page Action Guide on how to crowdfund as a gift. Just email me and I'll send it along. 
 
 And if you knowof anyone who is getting ready to launch a campaign, I’m putting together a group of people who can support each other in the process.

Because friends don’t let friends crowdfund alone.

Allison sent me this photo~ inspired by some of the art in the past newsletters. I love it (and her). 
 
A few really great resources out there if you want to keep exploring scarcity: 
The Soul of Money (an absolute must read and is also on audio)
The Art of Ask by Amanda Palmer (available on book, audio and a Ted talk)
On Village-Making: The Means and the Ends of Our Personal and Collective Redemption (mentioned above: by Tad Hardgrave)

And if you are in the bay area, Tamuz is one of the most extraordinary voice teachers I know. 
 
May you breathe with the ease of a dumb guppy,
Leah

@leahlamb
www.leahlamb.com
www.medicinestories.com

PS: Tamuz swears that the dumb guppy metaphor was created in my honor. It made me laugh so hard it was really hard to sing. 

PPS: Thank you to everyone who responds with a little love note after receiving this wild experiment in storyletters. I appreciate every single one. 

PPS: Illustrations by April Wilson