Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ Walking

Ever tried it? You think of a walk you like to take. Or one you regularly took in the past. Then you take the walk again, this time sitting in an armchair or lying down. To start, you summon up a sense of where the walk begins, the moment you feel aware of what lies ahead. Then you continue, envisaging the next bit and the next and the next. And so you go on, also thinking about the pausing points – the meadow where there are sometimes cows and the part that’s often wet underfoot so that you have to negotiate your footsteps, the smells of the wooded part of the walk with its wild garlic and soggy leaves and also such sights as that of the strange fairy doll that must have been pushed by someone, who knows who, into the hollow trunk of a fallen tree.

So you continue and when you reach the long tangle of intertwined boughs just before that stone pillar, remains of a long-ago project that would have created a vast harbour here, you know you are now within the  smell and sound of the sea. So as you reach the narrow path that leads down to the pebble banks, you are full of anticipation, eager to see what kind of waves there will be and whether anyone has left some strange tower of stones somewhere along the length of the beach as a kind of tribute to the wind and the weather.

Once again, you fill with gratitude as you realise that this is one of your places. Gratitude for the walking and the being able to do it, gratitude for the fact that the place is still here, gratitude for the memory that enables you to recall it at will if you want to on any of the days that you’re actually there.

The walk I’ve described above is one of my Pembrokeshire walks. It’s the walk I brought into my mind on Wednesday this week. But I could equally well have chosen the walk I regularly make in London from where I live to Brockwell Park. It’s not so much the place that matters, though the walk to that Pembrokeshire beach is especially lovely. It’s more that I know it so well I can recall it in infinite detail.

On Wednesday, I brought the Pembrokeshire walk to mind because I needed to do a visualisation that would take 15 to 20 minutes, the length of the time my MRI scan would last.  Oddly, I’d first learned about the benefits of having some such thing to keep your mind occupied a very long time ago when I had my first bout of cancer. At that time, I’d not yet discovered storytelling though I had been on some self-discovery workshops which were all the rage at the time.

Since bumping into storytelling, the practice of visualisation has been both a necessity and a friend to me. It’s great for working on a story, seeing the story as if you were walking through it. It’s also great for stilling the mind on any occasion when that is needed. I think everyone should be introduced to it, especially children in schools. Then it could become a tool for their lives.

And talking about tools for life, if you’ve got a walk that you take, why not send along a visualisation of it? Then if you’re willing, I’ll put it up on this blog. What a fantastic sharing that would be.

PS: My photos this week are two of the many I’ve taken over the years on that walk to Abermawr beach. I know I’ve drawn on my store for this blog in the past. But the funny thing is that, while they do convey something of the varied beauties of the place, they don’t convey my feelings about it nearly as much as the visualisation.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply