Two friends talking: Childhood stories, Skype and swimming

Picture the scene; Rachel and I, a cup of tea and a conversation over Skype, two friends talking, exploring in a wondrous sea of meaning and affect together a range of complex ideas, submerged in recognition and gratitude for how love resides at the core of all things. Together, we were appreciating moments from the past and how alive they can be here and now in the present. In tender tears and laughter filled moments of a bright sunny morning we meandered through some of the innumerable and at times seemingly unfathomable threads of parts of each of our stories. We delighted at how much we have each changed and how challenging it can be and is to do work on the self, to write new chapters in long held stories and yet how extraordinary, liberating and profound in equal measure it can also be. It can even be fun sometimes too!

The unparalleled part of working on your own story as an interventionist or coach is when you realise you are out there doing your good work in the world and that your childhood story experiences are playing a part but you have control over them. Through doing the work on self and with others we gain the deepest understanding of what humans go through in the hands of other humans. In knowing our own stories and how they impact, we deepen our capacity to understand the darkness in others and to do extraordinary work in enabling astonishing change.

In striving for such transformation, there are many critical turning points that can be characterised by what at times feel like inconvenient truths requiring the deepest and broadest imaginable exploration of the self. An inconvenient truth is the one that everyone would rather remained hidden or unspoken, including sometimes you! But as you try hard to conceal the same, you continue to suffer for fear of it being revealed or voiced. Paradoxically, over time the concealment becomes like trying to hold an inflatable beach ball under water and, if you are fortunate enough, you get tired of the effort and eventually fail. The alternative to letting go and allowing the ball to come to the surface is that you risk drowning yourself in your attempt to conceal. This is the context for why story work is so, so imperative. Why drown when you can rise to the surface and swim like never before.