A few days ago, I was on the Isle of Skye in a touristy area, and had just stripped down to my underwear and was climbing into the cold, clear waters to go wild swimming when a woman stopped and began taking pictures. When I looked at her, she looked embarrassed and sort of hid her phone, but when I looked away she started right up again.
Was it a little uncomfortable? Sure. Did I mind? A little. But mostly I'm intrigued by how we override our own humanity and humanity of others. She was just as uncomfortable as I was by this ‘interaction’. Yet she couldn’t stop.
I found myself wondering - would she even be able to share those pictures with whomever she was imaging telling this story to? Was she imaging she would post them online? Would she show her friends? Or would her guilt or embarrassment stop her?
And why and, more importantly, where do I also take pictures as a way of distancing myself from engaging and potentially being changed by the interaction? Where are my pictures ways of trying to capture a moment as I see it to then share with others, rather than participating in the unfolding of a place or person?
It occurred to me in a flash - the antidote, the more human and humane interaction, would’ve been stories. To leave the phone in her pocket and talk to me. To admit to her curiosity, her wonder, her judgement, her hunger. To become a witness to my story, rather than a spectator. To go home with something she was bubbling over to share, rather than lingering niggles of guilt and transgressed boundaries.
Stories make us more natural humans.
And that's exactly what I chat about in today's episode with Dougie Mackay: a storyteller hailing from the Scottish Highlands, who weaves his background in Community Education with his love of the natural world, bushcraft, primitive skills and other regenerative practices, into a storytelling practice often done outdoors or in unusual settings, and used for group-work facilitation, development, connection, and empowerment.
We explore some his favorite topics, like:
stories as tools for entertainment, education, and connection to culture and landscape;
the functionality of storytelling in modern times;
how can we use stories to enrich our personal lives;
and what can we glean about an older animistic culture through the stories they told…
as well as:
It’s a warm, if buzzy (I was only about ten days into my journey to Scotland and not as deeply settled as I might otherwise be) conversation. Dougie also shares two, beautiful stories with us around this digital hearthfire.
So if you love to travel, love stories, and are curious about how we continue to be more natural humans - join us.
I think you’ll find we have much in common.
P.S. Dougie has just a few spots left for his Myth as Medicine course, starting Oct 3rd. You can find out more info here: https://storyconnection.org/myth-as-medicine/
P.P.S. So lovely to see a few of you joining for the Living the Sacred series of conversations around plant medicines. Free access is over, but you can purchase a pass with access for one year. Your purchase goes to support the operational costs of the program, me, and Amazon Frontlines (an organization empowering indigenous people on the ground in the Amazon to protect their lives, their traditions and their home).
And if you're interested in journeying with Jaime and plant teacher bobinsana, from your own home, Jaime has a soft dieta beginning Oct 3rd, as well. You can find out more here. And register here (affiliate link which costs you nothing but supports me). I've worked with bobinsana and Jaime in an at-home dieta before and found it to be a beautiful experience. Many of us are grappling with grief and heartache right now and bobinsana holds those energies and helps us work with them and transmute them beautifully.