A few years ago, I started letting go of many films in my ritual because, as someone pointed out to me, I ostensibly wanted to bring change into my life and perhaps doing the same thing over and over again was not serving that purpose. And, hello, watching He’s Just Not That Into You on Valentine’s Day was perhaps not the most efficacious way to find my semi-permanent dance partner.
Some people will talk about community advocacy work as “empowering,” or even that they are “giving voice to the voiceless.” I like to think that every person I work with–every kind of person I work with–has their own power, their own voice.
There once was an island made up of seven kingdoms, evenly divided by high rock walls that emanated from the center of the island and ran all the way to the sea (kinda like a giant Trivial Pursuit piece). Unfortunately, there was no source of fresh drinking water on the island. Each kingdom hated and feared the next.
Despite all that, my most visceral memory from that year will always be sitting in a car on a cold, rainy, fall afternoon with the mother of one of the shooting victims. We formed a friendship during that season and had gone out to a local school to talk about resilience. When we got back in the car to leave, she checked her voicemail, had gotten a call from her son who was refusing to go to school. Again
In my curriculum where I teach people how to cultivate and tell their own stories, an approach I affectionately call, ‘The Story Sandwich,’ I always refer to the importance of finding the change in our storytelling. I call it the meat (or spicy tofu) of the sandwich. In workshops, I break out these two figures side-by-side and talk about that moment in English class when they would talk us about the “beginning-middle-end” of a story (blah-blah-blah), and especially “exposition-climax-denoument” (again: blah-blah-blah).