What is the value of a story? Perhaps a story is…
keeps us in the present moment
or it transcends time
sparking creativity and activating the imagination
helping us to problem solve
and could be profound.
Stories are everywhere. There are very old ones, and new. Some have a formula and some have tragic twists or surprises that delight us. Some are simple, some complex.
In her memoir, Unbowed, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Wangari Maathai, recollects the importance of story:
“These experiences of childhood are what mold us and make us who we are. How you translate the life you see, feel, smell, and touch as you grow up–the water you drink, the air you breathe, and the food you eat–are what you become. When what you remember disappears, you miss it and search for it, and so it was with me. When I was a child, my surroundings were alive, dynamic, and inspiring. Even though I was entering a world where there were books to read and facts to learn–the cultivation of the mind–I was still able to enjoy a world where there were no books to read, where children were told living stories about the world around them, and where you cultivated the soil and the imagination in equal measure.” (pg. 52)
Many Ways to See the Sun is a collection of stories inspired by experiences in nature. The stories are meant to be read out loud, so the words come alive in the imagination, forming your own version of the experience. There is a predictive rhythm, a formula if you will, to each, with the intent to inspire you to create your own nature stories too.
If you would like to try creating your own nature story, perhaps this formula will inspire you:
1) Set the story in the present, beginning with the line: It is a warm and sunny day (or cold and cloudy – whatever suits your setting).
2) Begin describing what you might see on that particular day. Use all your senses to create the experience of your story.
3)Next create an action. It could be as simple as going for a walk.
4) After you have settled on your scene and beginning actions, create a conflict to be solved or a happening that plays out. This is where you can stretch your imagination. Describe one of the amazing encounters you have experienced in nature?
5) End the nature meditation story by solving your problem or winding down your described experience. And then finish with a final emotional thought – perhaps one of gratitude or wonder or safety.
6) Share your story! Or if you prefer, tuck it away to read to yourself another time.