In yesterday’s post, I reflected on the practice of living through the lens of One Little Word. Since “believe” was my original word, it led me down the path of faith and spirituality, which brought me to today’s thinking. This slice is a reflection on my current role as a retreat leader, and the power of story.
Every so often, I catch the show, “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” hosted by James Lipton. One of my favorite guests is director, Martin Scorsese, who regularly shares powerful insights on filmmaking and storytelling. In one particular clip, he talked about the importance of perspective which involves training both the “eye and the heart” to reflect on people, ideas and experiences through film. As a filmmaker he uses the art of the visual to access the truth of the emotional in order to move and touch his audience. This art form is truly a production, which is not dissimilar from my current role in leading, organizing and presenting a retreat.
Our work begins during the Team Formation stage, when potential team members meet regularly to reflect on scripture, pray, and listen to inspirational music, all focused on a particular spiritual theme. The purpose of the Team Formation stage, also known as Continuing the Journey, is to help us gain insight to one another while simultaneously exploring our interest level and role on the team. In order to help with this process, each woman prepares and presents a true-life story about her faith walk.
As you can imagine, there is usually some reluctance in putting pen to paper. It’s far easier to verbally share our stories in bits and pieces as we respond to reflection questions, then to think back on our lives and uncover the experiences that shaped us. Despite that initial hesitancy, the results are empowering, and often aid in healing, especially if the journey was painful.
Just as in filmmaking, the scope of our stories varies, which helps to transcend our beliefs and understanding of one another. Some women choose to provide a wide-angle view of their spiritual journey by taking us through the stages of their growth, while others choose a close-up experience by sharing a specific turning point that deepened their faith. Through craft and language, these writers strive to convey their unique story and communicate their authenticity. These shared experiences, prompt us to “open the eyes of our heart,” and calls us to awaken the presence and knowledge of God in our lives. That’s what writing can do – Amen!