People keep asking me what does it mean to be a Story Coach, as this is a very novel among professions, in Finland anyway. I will try to open a bit here my personal take on it, what does it mean for me.
I have been privileged to work with prestigious professionals along the field of socially responsible arts and design to develop new toolboxes. I know, a beast of a word, socially responsible means here simply that the aim is to better something or someone by using arts or design. Usually the methods used are participatory and immerse the participant to empower themselves to act on their behalf, to be conscious and able to take the first steps towards necessary changes themselves.
One of the professionals that I have worked many years is my dear friend professor Satu Miettinen. The collision of our minds has often been very productive, as I tend always to think out of any boxes and my mind is quickly unleashed of any constraints, Satu has a brilliant cohesive mind, which quickly and effortlessly analyses and makes synthesis of all.
We/I have been developing several tools based mainly on storytelling and drama tools, Heroes Journey being one of them. I open the this tool here now a bit more, as we have successfully used and developed it further, all over the world, with different participants and varying goals.
Heroes journey is based on the storyline used in many Hollywood films,
developed originally by Joseph Campbell as a theory of monomyth, universal story.
Campbell stated that there is a uniform storyline of a hero in every storyline ever told, that should be found in any culture, myths and rituals, story of Buddha, Jesus, or Anakin Skywalker.Before him anthropologist, Freud and scholars of fairy tails studied the subject starting from the end of 1800 century.
Our vision of Journey has multiple stages and different variations. I have integrated more drama or life coaching tools to it, and used it as a drama and play tool, based on what has been needed with different workshops or audiences. So Heroes Journey has successfully been used it as well as individual empowerment tool, personal life journey tool, strategic tool to test the ideas, or test design cases, or tool to design ones career path etc.
Nowadays Heroes Journey has reached the point where it is represented as a play field with cards to quide you forward. One can either play the stages or talk the stages, as very often the word drama or performance can scare people, so I have often approached with different terms, like body storming or playing. Body storming is an advancement of brain storming, and has specific rules how to proceed. One storms the ideas with body, and joins the wisdom of brains to the silent wisdom the is concealed in our behaviour.
Before the Journey The traveller, Hero, will first define their dreams, and image the day in the future, live thru the hours of the day, where everything is finally how it should be. Then heroes define some challenges of self, often for example self doubt and other circumstances, that prevent them to even start to reach their goals.
Then hero thinks carefully which new characteristics, inside or outside resources they need to have courage to start their adventure towards the dream. Also other forehand planning and thinking takes place. The Hero will choose also particular mentor and other characters that they feel is needed along their path, also friends to support them along the journey, Galdalfs and Yodas to assist them.
The play field is then drawn on the floor and divided to four stages, where every stage represents one or two years, and each stage has own goals. With Kimberleys heroes, SAN youth, we worked on the red sand field behind the Platfontein SAN community church on southern Kalahari. Every day we had to moist the sand with water to tame the sand, and get started. The video Heroes of Kimberley can be found on Vimeo from the link https://vimeo.com/102132331. On one journey there will usually be maybe four players, Every Hero being the star and center of the their own story to go thru all the stages and immerse themselves to the adventure on reaching their dreams.
The journey will be mostly improvised, and cards that come to Hero unannounced bring both challenges and surprises, good and bad, as in life. The group of people assisting will take different roles along the way, depending on heroes needs. Finally when the dream has been reached, we have usually made a short film or photo to deepen the experience.
Usually for the Hero in the leading role of their own Future experiences moving emotions and revelations or self and circumstances. Sometimes someone chooses just to talk things thru, and that is ok. The seed of thought is almost always planned that way too, to process has started. On the whole, because of the timeframe, it can be sensible to talk some stages thru and body storm/improvise others. The facilitator has to have responsible and professional attitude as a director, as it can often get very personal. I have found that the journey always brings people together, and ignites friendships, only once during many years I have encountered one person, who felt it was too must, she was struggling with anxiety in her life. So with sensitive eye director/facilitator can either end the journey of someone struggling or choose maybe a light version of the journey.
For a motivation for Travellers of their own future, I have often offered data of relevant brain or behavioural studies. We have also always given some thought for overall concept of a Hero, whether it is inner hero in you, what is heroic on everyday human scale, or talked about how a hero or genius must also very well female attributes.
Last time with high school students in Rovaniemi we studied first the research results
of mental training for athletes and even cancer patients, and also the anatomy of memory. Studies of neuroscience show that human brain has capabilities to create memory traces from something that you experience even that it has not really happened yet, so we all have the real possibility to create memories for the future.
Heroes Journey has become a complex structure or synthesis of all the tools and knowledge acquired from different professionals working with us. Synthesis are mostly collected from drama, video work, arts, or creative writing and story coaching.
Now we are developing a new tool which is based on particular storyline of
the Apollo 13 team, who accomplished maybe the most significant achievements in human history in developing the devices to get the astronauts safely back to earth in short period of time and under huge pressure. With my daughter Ronja, who acts, and has also worked with improvisation workshops in her school, we now are studying the possibilities to introduce a new tool which bases on building characters for plays, to use it as empowering tool to built new self identities to accomplish the challenges of future.
We hope to use it next fall in Keweenaw Bay Ojibwe Indian College Workshop.
Here is a new link to Heroes of Kimberley, https://vimeo.com/102132331
and another link to presentation of workshop WORLD IS OPEN TODAY with High School Kids up north at Rovaniemi, this I am afraid is still only in Finnish, https://prezi.com/whmv-utkg1tb/maailma-on-tanaan-auki/.
Thank you for your interest !
“ Your future self is watching you right now
through your memories”
New film & media
New film & media