Connecting local responses around the world
Place of stories in SALT
Some learning about stories for SALT
Telling and listening stories is not a new phenomenon. Story telling has been around forever, it seems. It is not difficult to recall stories heard during childhood. As adults too we hear stories and tell stories, but when do we start reflecting on them ? While like fish in water we live with stories, we stop being a fish in water when we start thinking about them , and wonder what they do to us as listeners and as narrators. A host of questions emerge – whose story ; what story; who interprets them; and on and on. All this can be said to be looking at stories simply, so how is one to look at them deeply ? For a deeper perception, it becomes necessary to experience story telling and listening in a systematic and thoughtul way. This happened on Feb 6, 2021. An immersion in stories took place as all members of a learning group recalled a place they liked in their childhood. This place was to be described in as much detail as possible – what is the place, what are the colors, what are the objects in the place; any smell ? What is the color of the sky… of the floor. Who is there… but no account of what you are doing… it is to be a description and description alone…with as much detail as possible… and call upon all the senses to construct the description.For example :
‘there is a tree in the rectangular courtyard..’.
How big is the tree ? where is it in the courtyard ?
What is the ground like of the courtyard..?
There is the train that goes bye at night…. Cant see the train… only see lights of the compartments that zip bye
On emerging from this immersion in description, there is sharing of this experience. What did it do to you ? participants were asked… and responses began to flow… rich with insightful phrases…discoveries and learning presenting themselves. What does all this mean for understanding SALT, it is asked and another flood of insights:
SALT is about moving from ‘I’ to ‘we’… and in listening to stories this starts to happen, as the images that are triggered in the listener connect to the story teller; the narrator also connects with their past in a positive way. In this connection is also the end of isolation, of being alone. The division between ‘I’ and the ‘other’ recedes. Moreover, when the listener responds, potential stories begin to surface, and they too can be heard, and thus strengthen the connections.
L of SALT represents listening and learning. Stories are about listening and learning; which in turn help people experience their strength, it connects people, and this connection is that of being human.