Guest Speaker, Richard Ribb, at Second Nature Entrada’s Oasis
Diving the Depths of Our Story
One of the first assignments completed by participants upon arriving to Second Nature Entrada is a life story. Reading the life story is the first introduction a person will make to the group and little direction is given on how to write it. What stands out to me is how consistently people write their stories as a linear journey that highlights the events leading to Second Nature. The subtle labels that clients put on themselves – addict, unmotivated, anxious, etc. – tell a story of people with little dimension who have “messed up” and need to “get back on track.”
Achievement Consultant Richard Ribb was recently invited to visit the Oasis where he spent a day working with all of the adult clients. Richard challenged the idea of the linear life path; that there is not a “track” for life to be lived on. Richard led exercises to help the clients find thematic connections between impactful life experiences, people and places as a way to highlight underlying characteristics and meaning that they may not otherwise have known. One example was a young man connecting the names of his best friends to guitar/music and marijuana, applying the label of Community. On a basic level, he can identify the desire and importance in having a sense of community in his life. By having broader personal definitions of ourselves, we have more opportunity in considering our futures.
Richard shared a Ted Talk by Chimamanda Adichie entitled “The Danger of the Single Story” to further highlight the idea that to be known for one thing, to have an inflexible view of our self and others, does a strong disservice to our life as a dynamic story. In her presentation, Adichie claims, “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” The single story shared by so many clients as a life story highlights this problem. To allow periods of struggle to silence the moments of joy, passion, inspiration and curiosity create a one-dimensional story that is incomplete and limits life’s potential.
It is not until we know more of the story that we can begin to understand a person in a truer light. To be vulnerable, to expose ourselves to others, is something to be celebrated as it allows us to find connections both within ourselves and with others that we may not otherwise have discovered. As groups came together last week in the wilderness, meeting for the first time, this level of vulnerability was celebrated. Looking around the large group, it was difficult to discern who came from what group as people took a risk, began sharing their stories, and connected.
All of us at Second Nature Entrada extend our warmest gratitude to Richard for his passion, time, and energy spent with our clients at The Oasis. Guest speakers add an element to our clients’ experience that cannot be duplicated without their powerful and unique contribution to our program.