Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives Through the Power and Practice of Story by Christina Baldwin

Here are a few of my notes…

Perhaps we’re at a party and someone starts to speak about what at first seems like an ordinary anecdote but soon grows into something more important. A Storycatcher notices and says, “Come, let’s sit down on the sofa. I want to really hear you.”

They established basic ground rules for an ongoing conversation: no opinions, just story; no attempts to change minds, just listening. The group met for three years. No one changed her mind about the issue, but everyone changed his mind about the people involved in the other side of the issue.

Storycatchers know story has the power to open the heart, even if the mind does not change.

What would you put in the earth as a treasure for the future to find? Let’s start there. Tell me that story.

Questions for exploring the spiritual journey:

  • What moments stand out in childhood concerning religious faith and choices?
  • How did you discover a direct connection to the mystery of God, inside or outside the buildings, the traditions, the holidays – or the lack of these things?
  • How and when did you discover an innate linking to the Divine?
  • What happened in adolescence, in your young adult years?
  • When you partnered or married, did you choose someone with similar faith and/or values?
  • What did you decide to observe, or not, in this partnership? What do you want your children – or the children around you – to understand about the spiritual journey?
  • What aspects of faith do you talk about with other people?
  • Are you able to have conversations about values and religion inside your family?
  • With whom are you most likely to share stories of your spiritual life and insights?
  • Do you practice asking throughout the day: where is spirit in what I am doing right now?
  • How might you express your own love of God in the world?
  • What kind of support would you need in order to take conversational risks or actions in your daily life?
  • What spiritual values motivate your actions?
  • How do you stay joyful and grateful and keep your heart open to the world’s suffering?
  • How do you move confidently into action in a world that is always changing? In a world where you never have the whole story?
  • How do you talk about tension and schism and put it on the table like a candle in the centre of the circle?
  • What do you want to say to young adults as they face their first griefs in the world?
  • What do you want to elicit from elders?

How are you doing with all the tension? I ask… I mean the unrelenting tension that won’t go away, that cannot be solved by ruling party elections, or by switching jobs, or partners, or financial planners, or churches – that tension.


More and more often, I find myself thinking that the people with whom I most deeply belong are those who are willing to carry the ambiguity of the age, those who are learning how to manage tension in a heartfelt, spiritually imbued manner. I call us the Tribe of the Ambiguous.

Storycatching is at its root an act of refuge, a place to turn, an offering that we will be listened to while we hold our hearts like a talking piece in our hands; and then, we pay it forward – we become the listening ear for the next person, and the next. In this way, the skills of eliciting story, and skills of receiving story, grow among us. Story makes community: communities make story.

Toke: When I am invited into an organization, someone calls me because they want to amplify something – to make something stronger. The first thing I ask myself is whether or not I want to contribute to what they want amplified. I make choices. I’m not for sale. I work with human beings, not institutions, and I work through story because story is the human part of the organization.

Invitational Questions to the Art of Hosting:

What if the solutions for our future are hiding in our collective intelligence and wisdom?

What if hosting conversations is the kind of leadership that allows learning to take place?

What comes into the world when we talk about what matters and act on what inspires us?

Wow, I say, you must have a lot of stories. Tell us about a moment when things looked really bad but turned out well… tell us about a time when somebody made a good decision under pressure…

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