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A World of Story

By: Zara Waldebäck

When was the last time someone told you a story? A story meant for you, a story that spoke to your heart and your hands and your feet, a Story to help you find your way and remember who you are?

Stories are everywhere, and I am not talking about films, books, theatre or news. I am talking about the Stories that speak to us from a deeper place, a place of beginnings and ends, beyond the material veil we pull over the essence of Life, from a place that is maybe less obvious, more invisible, but still very much here waiting for your attention. So often we are busy trying to make things happen, and we miss so much of what is going on around us. We strive to get somewhere when all the time we are right here.

The more I work with Story, the more I realise it helps me to walk in the World. It shows me who I am, and how I can live, how I relate to what is outside of my self and how I interconnect with Life. Story wakes me up and whispers the things I have forgotten, it revives the World into a place I belong in. Story lends me a different perspective, inspires me to see the same situation through someone else’s eyes and expands my vision. When I am lost, Story says to me – “rest a while, sit down here by the fire and I will tell you some things. Just stop and listen and we will see what happens.” And I do.

Nature is full of Stories, always speaking, but how much do we hear? Do we take time to listen to what the Rain reveals as it drops down, what words the Wind blows through the Trees? Do we notice the voice of Rocks, those seemingly silent beings that are still alive and slowly transmuting in their own long sense of time? Nature shares with us Stories that are more than human, Stories that understand how ecology works from nature’s own perspective, Stories that remember long ago with deep roots and molecular memory, that source a different kind of solution and show us another side of Life.

Sharing space, we listen and we tell. This way the conversation grows, nurturing a deeper relationship with Nature, and changing us into people who walk with, not just on, the Earth. When I listen to Story, I listen to the World. When I listen to the World, I know where I am. Right here, at home, in this moment. Listening. Waiting. Coming together.

Zara Waldebäck has been working with stories and writing for 20 years, mainly as a screenwriter, script coach and university lecturer. She has collaborated with psychologists to explore story in healing and therapeutic contexts, developed techniques for spontaneous storytelling, and researched links between shamanism and story. She has practised shamanism for 10 years, co-teaching workshops with Jonathan since 2010. Zara has run courses on shamanism and creativity for writers, presented papers on the shamanic journey as story, and written two books on screenwriting - "Writing for the Screen" (2008) and "The Creative Screenwriter" (2012). Together, Jonathan and Zara run the spiritual retreat center Åsbacka ( in the woods of southern Sweden, where they hold courses and offer shamanic healing, guidance and spiritual mentoring. They teach all over Europe, including England, Ireland, Scandinavia, Italy, Hungary and Russia. The heart of their practice is shamanism as a spiritual path, finding healing in all they do, and working with the Spirits in a way that invites power, presence, joy and responsibility.

Zara will be teaching a week long course at Schumacher College called “Stories of the Earth” together with her partner Jonathan Horwitz, 20-24 March 2016.

Upcoming Short Course:

Stories of the Earth - Listening, Creating, Connecting

20/03/2016 to 24/03/2016

With Jonathan Horwitz and Zara Waldebäck | The course will begin on the day of the Spring Equinox, and during the first evening we will celebrate this turning point of the year together. It is a time of balance, with day and night as equals, and new life about to begin. By opening ourselves to the rhythms of nature, we welcome this springtime energy to inspire our work and ask that creation in Nature combine with the the creation of Story. Read More...