Re-evaluating One’s Story

Zach Wagner

On the day before safari we visited the home of Chene Swart, a friend of Ward’s, who is a facilitator that specializes in “narrative therapy.” Narrative therapy is the process of re-evaluating one’s story, the life experiences that we generate, and deciding if it is still useful. If not, you can always change your story through reflection. Before lunch, Chene asked us five questions pertaining to our trip. Each question built off our previous answers. We were asked to choose someone to be our partner that we had not had extensive conversations with during the trip. I was partners with Phoebe, and we sat outside in the courtyard and went through the questions.

One of the biggest things that struck me about our conversation was the similarities in the things we had noticed. Another interesting aspect of conversing with someone I shared an experience with was seeing the differences between what they learned and what I learned. Through my conversation with Phoebe, I found validation for my own experiences. The whole conversation process kick-started my reflection process far earlier than when I usually begin to reflect on an experience and I can feel an increase in my awareness. Since the trip is chaotic, and one thing leads directly into the next, it can be difficult at times to distinguish individual experiences from the tangled mental mass of memories. Taking the time to reflect and talk about our trip really helped to separate the experiences, and capture what was truly significant. I will definitely apply aspects of this process to the reflection processes later in my life.