Thanksgiving Storytelling Family Tradition
By Dr. Roxanne Daleo
“ …and that’s true love!” said my grandpa… his voice made my mind conjure up the entire scene: I see it as if it were real, mom serving dessert after a big Italian-American feast for Thanksgiving Day, always prepared with love by my parents in what I believed to be our beautiful New Jersey home. But the fact is, it was only my grandfather’s voice coming from an audio cassette player. A tape I nearly tossed in the trash moments before to clear the clutter from my garage. So glad I have this priceless treasure today.
Through “imagining” you mentally “see.” Your brain takes the audio input of a voice and provides you a “mental picture”. In this case, it pulled out a memory of the past and my brain served up a scene so vivid you relive it as if it were happening in the present. My grandfather’s philosophy about true love were his words of wisdom I’ll treasure forever.
Your brain can also take an idea or visualization to create a future-self. Your brain can be directed using mental imagery which is really a kind of storytelling.
When you add the auditory aspect, such as a voice, you add a person’s energy because your voice is the blueprint of your soul. Listening to the sound of your own voice is a powerful way to imprint and direct your subconscious mind.
Add the background music and the brain automatically enhances the imagery experience as if it were real. The mind makes no distinction between real and imagined information; this is why using guided imagery narrations for relaxation are a powerful form of mind/body medicine. Scientists are learning how we manipulate and examine pictures of the mind and develop internal states of awareness, resilience and balance.
Many world cultures have been using the power of mental imagery in the form of storytelling. Let’s look at the Native American culture specifically, they have been using the art of telling stories passed down from one generation to the next as their primary form of wisdom communication. Traditionally, Native Americans transmit by story their mythology, spiritual and historical understandings of themselves and the world in which they live to their children.
Storytelling creates the mental imagery in the minds and hearts of the young, that which elders did not want forgotten. In this way, the elders ensured young would not lose sight of their roots, important knowledge that would allow them to live in harmony and cooperation with the natural world.
So this Thanksgiving why not try to capture more voices of the elders in your tribe, the seniors in your family. Allow them to pass on their words of wisdom to the children as part of the formal celebration for which we are giving thanks and deep appreciation. In this way, you can be sure your children and their children have your family’s important knowledge through the beautiful storytelling tradition.
7 Keys to Cultivate Storytelling Family Tradition
1.Give your children and their children a beautiful way to honor their elders by asking questions about their roots, heritage, country of origin and the ways of their people.
2.Use a recording devise to capture and remember forever, the voices of the senior family members and their words of wisdom.
3.Make the bedtime ritual include recounting meaningful memories you made this Thanksgiving holiday (holy day).
4.Create a work of art. Draw, paint, sing a song or dance your newly realized wisdom tradition.
5. Each year collect keepsake photos, images and quotes in a box or a book.
6.Ask your child to express the kind of person they want to become; share the vision of a world they want to see and live in.
7.Have your child record their own voice to express their visions. Speak about appreciation, love and peace. Play this recording before sleep so the subconscious mind can bring good thoughts to every cell in your child’s body.
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