We are ALL on a sacred journey of healing and wholeness, liberation and redemption, hardship and grace. And the ideas we share to create stories are the threads of darkness and light that weave the tapestry of our lives and the lives of others for generations to come.
“How long? Not long. Because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Whether read or spoken, a story is an efficacious means to access unconscious societal myths, which influence our lives, our culture – and our world. We will learn and use specific, universal archetypes to create a ritual comprised of mini-stories in ways that are compelling, engaging, life- enhancing and more enjoyable.
The so-called “age of Trump” offers us the opportunity to take on basic rights and embrace the congruent responsibilities of using story to heal societal divisions by blending art and ceremony. Then we can move this meld of creative conversation and unity into becoming a more interconnected community.
Our intention is to create a main story and supporting mini-stories, to create a sustainable model for moving beyond hostile thoughts and actions, originating in F.E.A.R. — or — false experiences appearing real and its ensuing emotional chaos. When we engage in open-ended conversation, we plant the seeds of unity. This moves us toward embracing more cordial, healthy behaviors and encourages us to seek out and maintain more beneficial relationships. Today our greatest challenge is to see the good in each other and discover creative ways to realize a vision of peace through storytelling. Your voice is important, so please use it!
As each of us is “subjected to forces that test ourselves in order to bring about change”, we will discover that all art forms, including storytelling, are indeed strong enough and creative enough and flexible enough, to facilitate our life journey together during this present period of discord, conflict and disagreement. We can and will move forward — together — into a new era of understanding, acceptance and vibrant discovery – truly a time of creativity and harmony.
A Sample Discussion Topic: “The Hero and Heroine” Nietzsche defined heroism as “simultaneously going out to meet your highest suffering and your highest hope.” Share your thoughts and more importantly, your feelings about this definition. Questions to consider: What makes a person heroic? What makes you heroic? Why is being heroic or taking a heroic stand or action important today?
Almeta Whitis is a storyteller, actress, poet, writer and teaching artist who has taught elementary, middle and high school in NYS and Arizona. A former assistant professor of Theater at SUNY Brockport, in 1997, she received their “Distinguished Scholar Public Service Award”. In 1995, Phi Delta Kappa awarded her “Lay Educator of the Year” by unanimous decision. As Chair of ALLOFUS Art Workshop’s Dance Department, a MAG and UR outreach program, she expanded a Saturday class of eight children to a year-round program serving over 450 children and adults. In 2000, National Endowment for the Arts and Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation awarded her “Most Skilled and Experienced Community Artist”-Artists and Communities: America Creates for the Millennium. In 1993, Governor Mario Cuomo awarded her the “Decade of the Child Award” for “her valuable, sensitive work with the children and families of New York State”.
(Photo: Jeff Hamson)