Living Story Project
Kristy Taylor and Deborah Schnitzer
Living Story Project is an initiative focused on storytelling to foster connection, creativity, and community. Stories allow us to better understand what is often incomplete, untold, or hidden in prevailing mainstream narratives.
Using an array of oral and written storytelling traditions from across the globe, Living Story Project creates an inclusive space for interactive and dynamic conversations about issues that matter.
While Living Story Project’s theme-based events centre around specific topics regarding the human experience, it is the vitality of the conversations among participants that generate community-learning and bring these topics to life. The objective of Living Story Project is to connect people to themselves, to one another, to place, and to time.
Old Woman, once banished, is resurfacing in the lives of people — young and old — within culture and in relation to the earth. Old Woman\: Myths and Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype invited the Winnipeg community to reconnect with old woman wisdom, to reimagine aging and rediscover the profound importance of mentoring relationships between old and young. These two half-day workshops were attended by 120 people The Good Will Social Club on Janurary 25th and February 9th of 2019.
A three-hour Zoom interactive workshop using the story of Bluebeard exploring predatorial forces that sabotage women’s rights to live fully took place on Thursday, September 2020, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., hosted by Living Story Project.
“In order to banish the predator, we must unlock or pry ourselves and other matters open to see what is inside. We must use our abilities to stand what we see. We must speak our truth in a clear voice. And we must be able to use our wits to do what needs be about what we see.” —Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés – Women Who Run With the Wolves
The story of Bluebeard explores a crisis in culture pervasive in contemporary society. For thousands of years, women’s power, creativity, insight, and knowing have been written out of history. Women have been maligned, muzzled, and murdered by patriarchal predators who contend that women have no integrity of vision, no deep insight, no original voice, and no decisive action.
We all pay a price when women are diminished. Devastating global imbalances—there are many—demonstrate this truth. In Bluebeard, women are hunted and held captive by predatory forces; their freedom depends on discovering the key that unlocks their inner resources—resources long buried, but not destroyed.
In this workshop, we explore these predatorial forces as those that sabotage women’s rights to live fully. In examining both the light and dark aspects of the Saboteur archetype, we track processes of entrapment and liberation. This tracking allows us to ask questions; it exposes the rules, regulations, and conventions that are malignant, divisive, and life-denying within culture.
Reclaiming women’s history, experience, and authority matter to all peoples. This workshop is open to anyone who wishes to engage in this conversation.
Please joins us as we explore the symbolic journey of the Handless Maiden.
This is a profound story about power, identity, and the courage to take one’s life into one’s own hands to reclaim that which has been wrongfully taken.
The tale is a gruesome one. It involves not only the severing of the Maiden’s hands, but also the loss of the only world she has ever known. And yet, in travelling with the Handless Maiden and watching her suffer this dismemberment, we discover the depth of her insight, the range of her resources, the strength of her spirit, and the path that ultimately leads to re-growth.
In this workshop, we explore themes of wandering, endurance, and transformation. The quest within The Handless Maiden provides both strategies and a map for how we, too, might encounter and triumph over our own psychic severing. Undertaking this journey encourages us to access our creative center, and realize our most authentic Self.
This three-hour New Moon workshop will be held on Sunday November 15th, from 7:00PM-10:00PM on Zoom. Participants can expect small and large group discussion, visualization, and personal reflection through writing and representing.
This workshop is open to anyone who wishes to engage in this conversation.
Full-day workshop exploring creativity and the Mother archetype
“The Great Mother in Her many aspects—maiden, raging warrior, benevolent mother, death-dealing and all-wise crone, unknowable and ultimate wyrd—is now powerfully reemerging and rising again in human consciousness … Isis, Mawu-Lisa, Demeter, Gaia, Shakit, Dakinis, Shekhinah, Astarte, Ishtar, Rhea, Freya, Nerthus, Brigid, Danu—call Her what you may—has been with us from the beginning and awaits us now.”
– The Great Cosmic Mother, Monica Sjöö & Barbara Mor
Odette Heyn C.M. Red with Grace Choreography: Stephanie Ballard
Marci Wenn, LCSW-R, Soul Collage© Facilitator
Living Story Project is an initiative focused on storytelling to foster connection, creativity, and community.
Navigating Uncertainty: An Evening of Story and Conversation
Times of Change: Toads, Transition, and Transformation
Please join us for our next by-donation, on-line LSP event, which we now happily call a meeting of The Story Society. This evening, Times of Change: Toads, Transition, and Transformation, will be held on Thursday, April 22nd from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.
Toads are wise mentors, able to adapt and thrive in any ecosystem and endure extremes of temperature. Long storied in myth and fable, they are celebrated as shape shifters, skin shedders, teachers of magic and metamorphosis, visionaries, and healers. Through story and conversation, we will explore how the gifts of toad may help guide and support us as we transition through the times of COVID.
You can buy tickets here.
*Photo of toad on hard light cool beige textured surface by Josch13 from Pixabay
Mothering Ourselves: Trusting Our Inner Truth
Exploring, nurturing, and celebrating our Inner Mother encourage us to embrace with unconditional love who we are in this moment. It involves acceptance of what has often been maligned in culture, dismissed by systems, redesigned by industry. We are not to be “improved” by market standards of performance and beauty; deemed “acceptable” because we meet some future goal defined by commercial targets. We are not broken. We do not need fixing. Within, we have the resources, strength, insight, and intuition to call our name, to discern our gift, to tell our truth, and find our path.
Please join us for Mothering Ourselves: Trusting Our Inner Truth, on Sunday, May 16th from 1:00PM – 4:00PM, as we harvest the wisdom of the Inner Mother through story, movement, and conversation. As always, we track and trust the heart of the matter.
This is a by-donation event. Register here.
*Photograph by Elisabeth Waldman
GATHERING THE BONES: September 23rd – October 28, 2021
Community – Gathering The Bones is a six-week intensive that brings together women longing to reconnect with, explore, and revitalize those parts of Self often lost, undernourished, and/or abandoned. The demands of the everyday, the workplace, the obligations of family, the impact of trauma deplete our resources, often leaving us fragmented, disconnected, and/or directionless. Gathering The Bones creates a place for insight and renewal.
Creativity – Gathering The Bones forms include storytelling, myth, collage, movement, visualization, journaling, and conversation.
Connection – By connecting with other women and giving voice to stories, we create meaningful and dynamic conversations that both inspire and nurture. The sharing of story and the sharing of paths deepen our understanding of the ways we walk individually and together – alive to change, possibility, and loving kindness.
Gathering The Bones Spring 2022: Skeleton Woman
Image: Skeleton Woman by Jeanie Tomanek
The next offering of Gathering The Bones: Skeleton Woman.
This is a tale about the importance of community in relation to creativity and healing, a process that requires a certain courage, ingenuity, and attentiveness. Learning to work with the Life/Death/Life cycle, the essence of creativity, teaches us about the stages of creative action- animation, development, decline and reanimation. Being in vital relation to our own imagination, to others, and within community, we discover creativity, not only as a solitary act, but also one that restores, inspires, and deepens our capacity for connection and well-being.
Like Spring, preparing for the great revelation of new growth, we too find ourselves longing for renewal in these difficult times where hope is so often buried in indifference, short sightedness, and disconnection.
Please join us for six Thursday evenings beginning March 24 through April 28th from 7:00 to 9:00 PM (CST) on Zoom.
The Mothering Project
The past two months have prompted us to look again at patriarchy, and how we might best invest our creativity, energy, and vision in principles and contexts that challenge the oppressive underpinnings of patriarchy itself. At the heart of this challenge is a deep understanding of Mother, and how Mothering may in fact comprehend the most powerful and effective way toward the realization of a new culture and way of being. To be clear, Mothering and Motherliness can be claimed by anyone – not only by women and not only in relationship to childbearing. The definitions of Mother and Mothering that we aim to explore dismantle the hierarchical, capitalistic, materialistic, and atomistic foundations upon which patriarchy rests.
Living Story Project has chosen to reimagine our programming for the next year in ways that engage this challenge as it is manifest in politics, culture, and identity. The stories that we know, the stories that we carry, and the stories that we are told, are often incomplete and driven by patriarchal agendas designed to disempower. By re-examining current, prevailing, and ancient stories of Mother and Mothering, we reveal and recover our capacity to serve and sustain the planet, creativity, and all life forms.
The Mothering Project is inspired by the profound need to create time and space for mentoring conversations that reveal the inherent power we possess. In so doing, we reclaim and create truer, more complete stories that enshrine and ensure our right to actively participate in the shaping our own destinies.
Living Story Project will be hosting nine, monthly, by-donation events. Each month will illuminate a new understanding of Mother and Mothering in relation to culturally relevant topics that connect us to self, others, and the earth. We will meet on one Thursday evening every month. Registration for each monthly session will be available on the 1st of every month. Participants may attend any or all these Thursday evening sessions. We will meet on Zoom for this 2022-2023 series.
This series is open to all people.
Our first evening, Thursday, September 29, 2022, from 7:00PM to 9:00PM CST will focus on defining Mother and Mothering.
Registration for the September 29th session is NOW open. Register here.
As always, we look forward to sharing this exploration with you.
Kristy & Debbie
Living Story Project
Mothering the Mother
*Artwork by Tetsuhiro Wakabayashi III
Transitioning into motherhood is complex.
Society does a very good job of celebrating the arrival of a new baby, but rarely does is pay much attention to the complexities this transition presents to the woman becoming Mother.
The transition into motherhood is easier for some than it is for others.
Some women enter motherhood with a supportive internalized mother – a quality of positive mothering that has been passed down through the generations that have come before her. For her, while the demands of childrearing may prove exhausting, she enters motherhood with a sense of competency and preparedness. When faced with uncertainty or an overwhelming sense of not knowing, this woman, having been sufficiently mothered herself, is able to ask, “What would mom do?” She can draw on her own personal experience of being attended to in a way that met her developing needs as a child, an adolescent, and eventually a young adult, and thus securely meet the developing needs of her growing child. This woman arrives at motherhood able to name her own needs and her desires; further, she is adept at meeting them. She understands that mothering is not meant to be self-sacrificial. If her mothering work is to be sustainable, she knows she must replenish her own resources, fill the vessel from which her own child must draw.
For many others, however, there is no supportive mothering legacy to inherit. Instead, these women arrive at motherhood having inherited the same lack of mothering their own mothers may have received. In constant need of mothering themselves, they feel anxious, uncertain, and ill-equipped to meet the demands the role of mothering presents.
When we arrive at mothering in this way, we are very suspectable to the societal standards that dictate what mothers and mothering “should” look like—namely that it is joyfully self-sacrificing and rewarding. The pressure to achieve this “standard,” dismisses the complexity of a woman’s lived experience and further alienates her from her right to claim the unique and specific terms that identify her own motherhood.
This group is open to anyone who identifies as Mother at any stage of the mothering journey – including those who wish to one day become mother, presently expectants mothers, mothers of young children, and mothers of adult children (including grandmothers).
The goal of this group is to deepen your understanding of Self as Mother. While this is largely a psycho-educational group, participants should expect to venture introspectively and share personal discoveries in both dyad and whole group formats. Due to the sensitive nature of this work, interested participants will be asked to fill out a short questionnaire to confirm suitability.
Location: Living Story Project House
Dates: January 19th, 26th, 2023
February 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 2023
Living Story Project is delighted to resume in person gatherings and invites you to join us at the Living Story Project house.
Mothering the Mother is a six-week, in-person, closed group, designed to explore the range of issues relevant to the unmothered mother.
This group will:
- Examine systems that create the conditions that interfere and fail to support those who mother
- Understand, without blame, the legacy that has been inherited
- Normalize the complexities and difficulties of mothering
- Redefine what joyful mothering looks like and feels like
- Teach strategies that support the mothering journey
- Build community among mothers
This group will be limited to eight participants only. To learn more about Mothering the Mother visit Living Story Project’s website.