Camino de Santiago

Month: November, 2016

Receptive Listening and Storytelling



“Receptive Listening and Storytelling, are unvalued and under practiced skills in society.” Merna Ann Hecht

I read this quote in a Seattle Times newspaper article that was on how to survive the “stress trigger” of the most recent Presidential Election. The woman quoted is a storyteller, poet, author and teaching artist who works with children who have suffered loss.

The words that stuck with me was storytelling and receptive listening. I started thinking how good am I at these important skills that as a society we seem to undervalue. Since reading that article it seems that I have had a number of occasions where these two themes seem to be coming up again and again.

Our two and half year old grand daughter, Kay, has become quite the “storyteller” these days and I have found myself enchanted with her “tall tales” she weaves. I listen as she take us through an imaginative journey through all those people, animals and things within the house or yard or even some place like the zoo that she has visited. (see example below)

This started me thinking that if we have this great imagination and gift of storytelling when we are young what happens to us as we get older? What is there to learn here?

Receptive listening and storytelling were a big part of our 6 week journey through Scotland and Ireland. Both Terri and I especially loved the storytelling of our Scotland guide, Robin MacGregor. As we looked back, we realized it was the great stories Robin told of the people, history, culture and landscapes, that was often very personal, that really gave us our new insights and appreciation of Scotland.

Terri and I were fortunate to be able to be in attendance this past week for a full day of listening  TEDx talk speakers at the Edmonds Center for the Arts. We were totally captivated by many of the speakers but the ones that really hit home the  most are the ones that told their personal stories that drove home their a few critical insights that really stuck with you and you took home with you.

Storytelling and reflective listening. I really want to learn how to get better at these important life skills! I hope I might have inspired you as well.




If your are interested here is a video of Kay that I got about midway through a long story on penguins (they were in the Splat the Cat book we read just before we sat down to eat lunch). Kay our little storyteller.

I will also give you a link to the TEDx talk speaker, Bridget Foley, who is an author, actor and screenwriter. She told a story on breast cancer that is totally captivating and gets you right in the heart.

2016 Sno-Isle Libraries TEDx Talks – You will need to select the second video post. Bridget Foley’s story begins about 1 hr 40 mins into the video (so you can select this point in the video and got straight there).

Photograph of the Week

Mt Baring Stands Tall

Talk about a “tall tale” this photograph was made on a recent hike to Barclay Lake on near the town of Baring on Hwy 2. The north face of Mt Baring is only 500 ft shorter than El Capitan in Yosemite and most folks never see it since you don’t see that side of the mountain from Hwy 2. You can access the view of the north face of Mt Baring by taking a short 2 mile walk to Barclay Lake. Well worth a visit!

Making More Interesting Photographs


“How do I make more interesting photographs? Become a more interesting person” Jay Maisel

One thing about travel is has the potential to change you. I believe you become a more interesting person when you step outside your comfort zone. It draws you out of your normal routines. You have the opportunity to learn and grow as you travel to see new people, lands and cultures. There are less distractions of the daily life and more time to focus on those around you and the beauty of the lands. This opens you up I believe to makes you a better person, a more interesting person and maybe even a little better photographer.

I think another aspect of making more interesting photographs is imagination. Our two and half year old grand daughter, Kay, has recently got me thinking of the importance of imagination. After reading a “Splat the Cat’ book to her, during lunch as she was talking about the story, she spent the next several minutes spinning a new tale involving the penguins that were a part of the book ending and wove them into the surroundings of the house (the space she knows well). It reminded me again how powerful our imagination can be in creating things anew. Taking ordinary places of daily life and making them extraordinary. One of the keys to making more interesting photographs is our imagination. To see the ordinary of life anew with our imaginations.



Photograph of the Week

The Burren Is Alive

The Burren is very desolate but there are also amazing pockets of life growing all through it.  I chose to use the combined B&W and color composite technique to visually accent this story.