Now, more than ever, we need human connection. As COVID-19 continues to keep people apart: in quarantine, under lockdown and sheltering-in-place, it’s so very important to see, hear and interact with each other.
Ironically, the same technological devices that have been monopolizing our time are now at the forefront in keeping us connected.
Teleconferencing via Skype, FaceTime or Zoom may be one of the best ways to stay connected. Those living alone can more easily keep in touch with friends and family and even participate in gatherings with numerous people, located in multiple places, all at one time.
Recently a colleague of mine described a pilot program she’s helping to facilitate with other Guided Autobiography instructors. It connects people from around the country and the world who want to reflect and write about their thoughts or life stories and other themes.
“Writing to Connect” gives men and women of all ages a chance to recall their personal stories in writing and with each other. There’s no right or wrong way to approach this activity, and each session provides thoughtful exercises to prompt meaningful, reflective writing.
In the first session, participants are invited to complete a life graph to track the major branching points in their life. Starting at birth, participants plot their life events and rate the corresponding personal impact with a positive or negative value. According to my colleague, we should think of our lives as a branching tree; new branches form and others drop off from lack of sunshine or nourishment. This exercise helps us to recall our memories and the associated stories. Through this reflection we come to realize that our feelings about life events and their significance can change over time.
Sharing and listening to each other’s stories provides a connection which goes beyond the written word. All are encouraged to share, but no one is required to do so. In the end, worthwhile memories are recollected and preserved, as participants connect with each other along the way.
For assistance in writing your life stories or locating a Guided Autobiography (GAB) professional, you might want to consider the LSPGWA Directory.