reflect, connect, and gain insight through the power of folk stories and sharing circles Fireside Stories

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The power of folk stories

From a time beyond memory, humans have gathered around the fire to connect, to commune, to share, and to tell stories. Stories that once-upon-a-time were personal experiences or anecdotes, have been told and retold over centuries until they became folk stories. With every retelling, each story was polished and perfected, like a stone in the current of the river. Over and over, unnecessary details were removed, the essential elements were brought to light, until each story became a perfectly polished pebble of wisdom.

Folk stories carry the wisdom of the generations that came before us. They are vessels that hold observations and truths about our human condition. And like a mirror, they allow us to look at ourselves from a different perspective, sometimes revealing unpleasant truths with unflinching honesty. Yet folk stories are also gentle, full of humor and compassion. After all, no one is perfect! Folk stories reveal and point to patterns in our lives, our behavior, our thoughts, feelings and actions.

Unlike fairy tales, which are populated by heroes and villains and where the good and the bad are clearly separated, folk stories have an ambiguous and sometimes even chaotic nature. In this, folk stories offer a more accurate reflection of our lives, where truth is painted in shades of gray, rather than in black-and-white. Each folk story can have multiple interpretations that can even change and morph in time.

Reflection, connection, and sharing

“Fireside stories” is a space to explore different interpretations of a folk story, to see how the patterns illuminated in the folk stories are reflected in our lives and our lived experiences. It is a place to reflect, to connect with others in a small-group setting, and to gain insight into yourself.

In today’s world where we are flooded with information, with little or no space to reflect on the messages that we’ve absorbed. “Fireside stories” offers a welcome reprieve for our ever-working minds, opening to a slower pace of contemplation, deep listening, and inner wisdom.

About the sessions

We will gather in an intimate setting to explore a different folk story. Using the story as a jumping-off point, we will reflect on how its wisdom and lessons apply to our lives.

We will use the traditional structure of a “sharing circle” to create a safe and supportive space for personal reflection and open sharing. A “sharing circle” gives every participant a chance to speak uninterrupted; it facilitates deep and respectful listening.

The sessions are led by an experienced facilitator, working in a small-group setting (maximum 10 participants).



About you

Although the sessions require no prior knowledge or experience, you will need to bring along:

  • your open mind and curiosity
  • your willingness to reflect on your life experiences and to share your insights
  • your willingness to listen and learn from others

“Fireside Stories” are a great fit for you, if you:

  • have an interest in understanding yourself and the world around you better
  • want to gain insight into your own actions, thoughts, and patterns of behavior
  • are comfortable sharing your insights in a small-group setting
  • have a strong respect for other people's perspectives and opinions

About the facilitator

Hi, I'm Anastasia. I consider myself a “world citizen” – someone who has traveled the world and so belongs everywhere and nowhere at once. From my early childhood years, I have been fascinated by folk stories – their wonder, their wisdom, and their weirdness. For over 20 years I have worked and trained as an educator, facilitator, and workshop leader in a wide variety of settings. Through this learning journey, I have discovered the power of open conversations, where respectful sharing can give rise to incredible insights and a sense of connectedness. At the same time, my experience with different cultures has taught me the importance of appreciating and accepting different points of view, as well as the depth that they can bring to conversations. I hope you will join me for an evening of storytelling and shared wisdom around the fire during the Fireside Stories!

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