Storytelling Performance #1

The day that I had been awaiting with excitement and fear came and went, but fortunately I can say that it did not happen without consequence.

On November 30th, 2017 I performed my story in front of a supportive crowd of about 150 people.

The day of, I could not get my stomach to settle down, so I didn’t eat too much. In the morning I packed my crystal companions that I had chosen to carry with me, they were: chrysocolla, black tourmaline, two pieces of carnelian, and citrine. Let’s just say I had my pockets full of supportive energy.

I practiced my story one last time with a good friend from work.

When I got to the event I met my fellow storytellers and we were all full of excitement and nerves. We encouraged each other and I felt better knowing that I wasn’t the only one who was panicking. Our teacher, Scott, was also very encouraging, telling us “nerves were completely normal” and to enjoy telling our story and being present with our audience. He assured us he knew we were going to put on a wonderful show. I tried to believe him.

People started to arrive for the event, we were mingling for 45 minutes before we got the signal to go into the auditorium. I saw many familiar faces, which helped me feel a little more relaxed.

When the first storyteller went up, I felt just as nervous and excited as she was. Then her story finished, and the next storyteller went up, and the next, and the next. Then it was my turn to stand up and walk to the microphone. I remember saying a quick “Please help me!” to my spirit guides and stepping down into the center of the auditorium. Scott introduced me, sharing that when asked about who had the most influence in helping me became the person I was that night, I answered that everyone I had met had helped me be who I was that night. I heard the audience say “aaww”.

The rest of the story is kind of blurry, go figure! I said the opening of my story and the words just kept flowing, I could hear myself speaking, I didn’t feel nervous. I looked into the audience and saw engaged and supportive faces. I didn’t hear myself stumble, or say “umm”, which I tend to do when nervous. Then my story was done. I said thank you. People started clapping. Scott came over to ask for another round of applause. I was feeling warm and tingly. I returned to my seat and my fellow storytellers were smiling and high-fiving me. It was done. And I was alive.

Once the storytelling ended, the Foundation who was celebrating their 20th anniversary shared some important news. They thanked all the storytellers. We went out into a reception where I was showered with hugs, compliments, and stories that the audience members wanted to share. My story had awakened stories in them.

I felt so proud of my self for accepting the invitation/challenge to tell my story. My heart was warmed by the people that came up to share their own stories with me. I knew from the storytelling workshops that this was the magic of storytelling, when you share your story, you give freedom to other people to share their own.

Having worked in that story, which was about my parents and why the work I do now is meaningful to me, had made me rethink many things. I’m still processing them and I hope to do a future blog post about that. This is the other part of storytelling, before the performance, comes the discovery, the exploration, the digging deep down to find what is important.

I have been thinking about what my next story will be. I don’t know that I will ever perform it, but you never know, maybe I get another invitation and I decide to be brave.

I uploaded one of my practice runs of my story to my sound cloud account. Click here to have a listen.  

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Maybe High School English Classes Do Matter…

Since I was a young girl I have wanted to be a writer. I filled journal, after journal, after journal. Becoming a writer is still my dream, but now that I am an adult, it feels a little more distant, like it’s something that might not actually happen.

Most of what I have written over my life time are daily reflections in my journals. In high school, I took a stab at writing short stories for my English classes. There are three classes that stand out from my high school years, two of them were taught by one of my favorite teachers, Mr. Barry Grimes.

Mr. Grimes was my English teacher during grades 10 and 12. He introduced me to a diverse range of writers, not just in styles but also in culture. His teaching style was about bringing out the life lessons hidden in the books and making us think about how the stories we were reading connected to our own life and our own stories. Of course, we were all young so most of his teachings eluded us, but he tried nonetheless. Mr. Grimes was peculiar. He carried three small notebooks in his back pocket, he used to record things through out his day. He had very sloppy hand writing, but I got used to it. He wrote on a chalkboard, when most teachers were using white boards.

In his class, I read books like The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, Farewell to Manzanar, and Braided Lives: An Anthology of Multicultural American Writing. We also got to write our own short stories, emulating the writing styles of the authors we were reading. Mr. Grimes liked my writing and ignited in me the belief that maybe I too could be a writer some day.

The other class that was formative for me was a Latino Literature class I took in my junior year (11th grade) with Mr. Bodeen. In his class I was introduced to many Chicano authors like Gloria Anzaldua, Tomas Rivera, and Rudolfo Anaya. In his class I read one of my favorite books: Bless Me, Ultima. In his class I also wrote some short stories and learned that my cultural background provided me with a lot of creative material.

Did you take any classes during high school that had an impact on you? Share your stories in the comments!

The Power of Stories

In my last post, I shared about how in the last few months I have began to be involved with oral storytelling. I want to share how stories have been a significant in my life even before getting into storytelling.

In college I had to take a writing seminar my freshman year, I took the one called The Power of Story: Writing as Transformation. The class was rather small, maybe 10 people. Some of those people become my best friends in college.

In the class we wrote stories, then read them in class and provided feedback to each other. We shared personal and vulnerable stories; this is probably why the group became so close. The professor shared her stories with us too. I don’t remember much about the class, but I do remember learning about the hero’s journey. I  remember the stories my classmates shared. And I remember a moment when the professor shared how she felt alone, and that she was afraid that she would die alone. I remember her vulnerability, and I remember feeling what she said as if they were my own feelings.

I didn’t understand this then, but stories are powerful. The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and about the world around us have real life implications, they determine how we act and how we live our life.

Most of us aren’t aware of the stories we believe. We are not aware of the stories that we have inherited from our parents.  And most importantly, we are not aware that we have the power to change the story. I know I wasn’t aware of that before, and now I’m finally beginning to put this story puzzle together.

What about you? Have you ever though about the stories you have believed about yourself and how the world works? Share in the comments!

Adventures in Storytelling

Almost accidentally, I have fallen into a new hobby/adventure: Storytelling.

It’s not so strange that I would find myself exploring this. I remember back in college during the Day of the Dead celebrations, I went to a museum exhibit on the Dia de Muertos, and they had a real live Storyteller. She used different instruments to bring the sounds of her story to life and I was mesmerized by her performance. I secretly wished I could one day become a storyteller like her, but my extreme shines and fear of public speaking kept me from even trying.

I have always battled with fear of speaking. Not just public speaking, just speaking in general. Speaking up in class was never easy, it used to cause me so much anxiety, I rarely even talked in class. I didn’t know that speaking-up was important to my spiritual and life journey, until recently. My life has put me in many situations where I have the opportunity to work on my fear of public speaking.

I have come a long way from my younger years. I even have a job where I regularly have to speak up, do presentations, tell people what’s on my mind. It’s through this job that I’ve had the opportunity to dip my toes into storytelling.

It started with a workshop series where we learned the basics of storytelling and got to practice and actually share some stories. I received very good feedback from those workshops, but it was always very nerve wrecking. Not just because it was speaking up in front of people, but also because sharing personal stories is well…personal, and vulnerable.

Apparently, my stories were powerful because I was invited to share my story at a large event. My mind told me to run for the hills and not accept such a crazy proposal, but my soul told me I needed to be brave and do this.

This Friday, I will have my first storytelling workshop to prepare for the big event. The story I am going to tell has been trickling in little by little. I will be needing a lot of courage to make it through the two workshops and the main performance. Wish me luck, I feel afraid, but I am choosing courage. I feel this is an important step for me. And I’m excited to see where it leads me.

 

Summer Reflections

Well it has been quite a long while since I wrote a blog post. I have been active in other platforms, mostly Instagram, but even there I had to take it easy. Life feels very full and busy lately, which is not a bad thing. I just want to write a post about what I have been up to in the last few months.

In May, I hosted a writing challenge on Instagram with Alaina from ExploringlyYours. The name of the challenge was #MayYouWriteLikeTheFool. The goal was for us to take a leap, much like The Fool from the tarot, and write everyday, to develop the habit and a writing practice. I learned a lot about myself and my writing during that month. I followed one story line for most of the month, writing short vignettes every day. It was a story that I didn’t even know was inside me, waiting to be told.

I am planning to go back to that story  and flesh it out more. That will be the one story I will write to satisfy my goal of writing and self-publishing a collection of short stories by my 2017 birthday. I had originally said I was going to write 12 short stories in 12 months…that goal was very ambitious and it did not materialize. Maybe next year will be the year when I actually complete it.

In the last few months I have also been learning about the chakras with the goal of learning to balance my own and in the future help others balance theirs through energy healing. The learning has been slow, or should I say the studying has been slow. There is so much to learn about the chakras, I am sure I will be learning about them for many years to come.

I have also started to make wire wrapped crystal necklaces from my crystal collection. I am kind of obsessed with this project and I’m excited for the creative process, but also because I get to share beautiful crystals with other fellow crystal lovers. I am posting some of them on my Instagram account, but most of them are in my Depop store, which you can visit here.

Lastly, I have been thinking a lot about where my life is going. I feel like I’m just…you know…living without a direction or vision. That is probably something I will write many blog posts about, so I will not go into details here. I trust that some exciting changes are coming as a result of these inquiries :).

What have you been up to this summer? I’d love to read about it in the comments.

Much love,

Dianna

 

Beltane Reading

I did a Beltane reading using a spread by Lisa over at Angelorum.co. Click here to read her blog post describing the spread.

I used the Dark Tarot for this reading. You can print your own copy of this deck by downloading the images from their site, here. I purchased mine through makingplayingcards.com, if you would like to have it professionally printed, go here.

And now onto the reading.

  1. Chi/Life Force: Page of Coins
  2. Holy Beltane Fire: Ace of Cups
  3. Fire Proof Container: Page of Swords
  4. This is Burning Away: The Lovers
  5. The Fire Feeds This: 2 of Cup
  6. More Information on Card 5: Knight of Wands
  7. More Information on Card 5: 8 of Wands

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My life force for this season of Beltane is the Page of Coins. This Page is practical and cautious with his material assets. I am not the Page of Coins, but it would seem this is what I should be focusing on. Fostering this practicality and cautiousness with money and other aspects of material life. Which for me translates to cutting back on the wanting to buy things (read: decks and crystals).

Card 2, the blessing that I can receive during Beltane is the Ace of Cups, to focus on relationships, to focus on how full my cup is instead of how lacking it is. New beginnings for relationships and emotions. New ways of processing and dealing with emotions.

Card 3 is my protective energy, and not surprised to see the Page of Swords, another Page and one that uses the power of his mind to problem solve and is ready to both attack and defend, what ever the situation needs.

Card 4, what is burning away by the Holy Fire of Beltane. I got The Lovers and that could not be more confusing. Ace of Cups is the Fire, so how can Ace of Cups burn away The Lovers? Well, come to think of it, it could mean parts of my relationships that are no longer necessary will fall away, so it’s the new beginnings I was talking about earlier.

Card 5, the fire feeds this turns out to be 2 of Cups, hmmm, lots of cups energy, this must be a season for strengthening my relationships, with people around me, and with myself. Looking at the positions of the cards, the Page of Coins, my current life force, is facing towards the 2 of Cups, which is a card of partnership, and love, and friendship. The Page of Coins is walking into this partnership with an offering of his most precious coin, the one that he has been safe guarding for all this time, he is ready to let it go. These cards seem to have a message about a conflict/tension between relationships and what one wants to get out of life. I gave up on material success and possessions a long time ago, more than gave up, I guess I came to realize that they were not important, what is most important is experience and relationships. These cards are driving home the same message.

Cards 6 and 7 are additional information for card 5, my cards were Knight of Wands and 8 of Wands. While the 2 of Cups is all about relationships, these two are all about creativity and passion. The Knight of Wands is an active card and is looking at all the other wands, which presumably he has to pick up and carry somewhere. I see these cards represent my creative activities for this season, one of which is a writing challenge I am doing in May with Alaina of exploringlyyours.com, feeling excited for that!

Did you try a Beltane spread? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

#tarotthursdaythree 3/02/2017

Another Thursday has gone by! This one was the first Thursday of March and that days #tarotthursdaythree questions are quite juicy! The questions were provided by Julia over at Spiral Sea Tarot, check out her post here.

1. What was it that initially sparked your interest with T? 

It all started when I was reading A Course in Miracles. I followed a few people on IG who were also students of ACIM, two of them were Alex Henry and Lyna Jones. At some point they had shared pictures of oracle cards and the Wild Unknown Tarot. I didn’t really know what they were, but my curiosity was picked! So I went down the hashtag rabbit hole and found more people to follow so I could learn more.

Deciding to purchase a deck of cards happened after a long period of soul searching. Even though I wasn’t religious, I did have apprehension about the purpose of the cards, and what if I was going the wrong way in my spiritual path? Eventually I decided to give it a try and I am so glad I did.

2. Is it what you expected it to be and if not, in what ways were your expectations defied?

Tarot is way more than I expected it to be. When deciding to buy my first deck or not, I knew that the tarot could be used for self-reflection and guidance, and also for divination and fortune telling, but I knew I wasn’t interested in the latter.  I has been a little over a year since I bought my first deck and I have learned so much and met some wonderful people, whomI would not have met had it not been through the tarot community. At the same time it does get a little overwhelming, because there is so much to learn! I know I haven’t even scratched the surface, but having more to learn is a good thing in my opinion.

3. How do you primarily use T? I.e. for divination, self-reflection, analysis, shadow work, ritual (or something else)?

I use tarot for self-reflection and guidance from my Higher Self, Spirit Guides, and Ancestors. I have also done shadow work with tarot before. Tarot and oracle cards are my current spiritual practice. I am also excited to use tarot for writing and developing/strengthening my creativity.

Thanks for stopping by! I’m happy to be caught up for now!