Welcome to our new website!
April 4, 2022

#01 Healing Trauma By Retelling Stories From A Fresh Perspective | Daniel Andrew Boyd

#01 Healing Trauma By Retelling Stories From A Fresh Perspective | Daniel Andrew Boyd

Humans are time-traveling storytellers. The story you tell yourself becomes your reality. When we relive our trauma stories from the perspective of the original wound, we tend to get stuck in a loop.

In this episode, I am in conversation with Daniel Andrew Boyd from StoryLuck and we cover the healing properties that storytelling can have. 

During this episode, I shared a story of childhood trauma that was causing me to feel unworthy in the present day. I also shared a technique of holding my inner child with healing hands that helped me feel unconditional self-love and aid the recovery of my inner child. 

 

As a follow-up to the story I shared, Dan shared his technique of retelling a trauma story from a 3rd person's perspective. 

 

Topics covered in this episode are:

01:56 Competitive Story-telling vs Therapeutic Storytelling

04:32 Speaking From the scar – How we can relive stories from a different perspective.

06:16 Identifying as the original victim of the endured trauma

08:52: An empowered technique to revisit trauma - 

12:17 Narrative Therapy and retelling a story from a 3rd person perspective.

15:35 Dan’s 1 on 1 storytelling session

18:41 Applying Dan’s retelling technique to my childhood trauma

 

Resources:

You can follow Dan on Twitter @StoryLuck and sign up for one of his 1000 free storytelling coaching calls. 

Transcript

Sushil: Our guest this week is someone who is extremely passionate about storytelling. He runs a nonprofit, which is centered around the theme, and he's currently doing thousand free storytelling coaching calls. So if you're interested, you could sign up by following him on Twitter. At story luck, please. Welcome Daniel, Andrew Boyd.

Dan: That's great. Thank you so much. I just want to throw out that Sushil is my real life buddy, not just internet. And we also worked on a storytelling thing together when we did the YouTube cohort. And that was a very positive experience for me. So I'm glad that we get to meet up and I get to help you out on this podcast.

Sushil: Oh, it's

absolutely my pleasure. In fact, doing the video cohort was was amazing for me because that's how my first podcast, the reinvention roadmap was born. And I'm looking at. To go in a direction of healing and speaking with facilitators and amazing people who can accelerate the healing process.

So I do believe that storytelling has a very healing property to it. When we speak about trauma, when we speak about our experience and share it with people, I feel that the shared experience can go a long way in helping people unblock themselves.

Dan: I am into all of that. Sometimes in storytelling workshops, a lot of times storytellers are so focused on the store. That these, somebody tells a story about severe trauma, something that they went through. That's really hard and they're in a workshop space.

They tell this vulnerable thing in a group. And the first thing they hear is, okay, let's look at the stakes and how to raise them. And what's the resolution. It's really hard for people to handle the human part of it first. And that's a conversation that I end up in a lot. And because I work in that personal narrative space over the past three to six months, I have been delving personally into more and more the aspects of theater.

And how storytelling gets into that. I'm not by any means an expert, but it is part of what I do that I want to facilitate healing as well, and see this as an art therapy to work on your own story.

Sushil: And I think taking out the competition aspect of. Would be beneficial for that. Because I think as you said, if people are trying to raise the stakes and trying to say, oh, my story has to have two accidents as opposed to his one, that element of a one-upmanship then maybe this will have a different direction.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah.

Sushil: Because I do know that you do like a regular storytelling competition, or like a show of sorts. So how is this particular project that feels different from that.

Dan: Yeah. I think that there still is. When you bring something. To the stage and you're doing it, not in a workshop and not in a one-on-one I'm working on this story. It's a rough draft. I don't know where to take it. There is an expectation from the audience that you are somewhat healed. and there's an analogy that people use where.

You want to be speaking from the scar rather than the wound, you don't want to get onstage and then just bleed all over it in front of everyone. And sometimes you see that and the reason you all want to do that is because it's hard on the audience and you're asking them to carry something for you when you're speaking from that scar, you're removed from it. You're not asking to be healed by the audience. You're telling them, you're giving them that gift of this is something I went through and maybe you can learn from it.

And I guess I would say when you come with that generosity, that's when you find the most.

Sushil: as you said, if you relive the story from your wound, then you're not necessarily healed because each time you say the story, you're that same person who lived that story again let's say if you had some childhood. And you're speaking from the wound, then suddenly you're like four or five or six years old again.

And it's just a refresh of that trauma, as opposed to this approach where you go back as an empowered person with all the knowledge that you've gained with time and the work that you've done on yourself, then true healing can happen. You can actually let go of that narrative, that the story is running my.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. I think that is a big part of how story plays into our ability to hear. Sometimes we latch on to identity, through stories that we lived and we think that's it. That's the one and be all, I lived this experience. I did this thing. That's who I am. I tell the story. I think about it. I ruminate on it. I remember it this specific way. And the truth of any given plot in our lives is that we're always moving with different intention. Intentionalities. We're always holding duality. And there isn't just one narrative that connects us. So we can go back and look at the other ways to look at any situation. We don't have to be tied to the first story we tell ourselves,

Sushil: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. And that's what I was talking about. Like how, when we go back in time, we are living as if we're still that same person, but with this new perspective, which. You can actually go back as a separate version of yourself and be there for the child version of yourself or whoever enjoyed the trauma first.

And that's where true healing can happen. Because as you said there are like infinite versions of ourselves and we have so many. Nuances on, on how we act with certain people. Like the person you are at work is not the same person at home or the person you are with your friends. And similarly, the person who endured the trauma is actually quite separate from the present day version of yourself.

So when you use that knowledge, that you're grounded in the present reality, and then you go back. Relive that story from an observer perspective, you can really see it from an objective point of view and actually facilitate healing that

trauma.

Dan: Yeah. I like the idea of that, that you're getting at for me a hundred percent. Writing stories and telling stories to audiences and just working through them is all about processing and coming to conclusions. What do I think about this? What did I learn from it? And I find that very helpful.

When you talk about. This idea of the way I'm understanding it as through your imagination, going back in time and looking at yourself and those situations that you had been through. And almost, it sounds like having a conversation with your past self. That a technique that you got from somewhere?

Sushil: yeah, so. It's actually working with altered states, like a breath work meditation, and there's so many other ways to get into altered states, maybe with an experience facilitator who's using mushrooms or like a, an MTO anti-Asian plant medicine can put you in an altered state. And the idea is.

Basically, you don't use the state to just get high and have a good time, but you use the state to really observe what your core wounds are as a kid or as what your core wounds are from a time when you are actually the victim, because what happens is that Ben. Really relive these experiences as adult versions of ourselves.

We are not really the victim, but we feel like we've been wrong or we feel like we act out based on these patterns. So this technique I learned was at a recent retreat that I went to and the experienced facilitator led us through a meditation where we had to regress to our childhood. And then I was experiencing this altered meditative state.

I went back to first grade and. When we were in first grade, there was this rule that , we would have to cover our textbooks with a brown paper. And I didn't have the dexterity to do it myself when I was five years old. So my dad used to do all the covering for me, but he was traveling as a flight attendant, so he couldn't do it.

And I showed up for the class with oncology. So my teacher to teach as a lesson will had uncolored books. She suggested that we cover the books with our school uniform. So I had to take off my shirt and cobble my books in front of a class full of my peers. And that's when I burst out crying in a room full of boys, which is embarrassing because.

I, and I'm making quotes over here, boys don't cry. And this was a very deep core wound for me. And it was a core wound of unworthiness. And I have had to have carried this feeling of unworthiness for a long time in my life. And I didn't know what it was or, what was causing this. So, , this technique.

 had an emphasis saying that when you go back in time, you go back as your adult self. So when I went back as an adult version of myself, I saw this crying child. And what would you do if you see a crying child, you would pick him up and console him or hold him tight and say, it's all right.

And that's the instinct that kicked in. I said, it's all right. It's not your fault. There's nothing unworthy about you. I love you the way you are. And we are going to get through this together. And that one particular meditation had such a deep impact. I Experienced unconditional self-love, which I have not felt in a very long

time.

Dan: Yeah, that sounds very powerful. That is not a technique that I have ever done with anybody in my coaching work, but I do something a little bit similar sometimes if it seems like the right thing to do, which is a a kind of narrative therapy, which is in. Narrative therapy was developed by a very specific psychologist and he has rules for how it's set up.

And in his version, he finds interested third-parties and you tell them the story. Whatever it is about your life. And then he asks and facilitates this conversation where he asks questions what did you hear from this? What does this sound like to you? What are some of the things you would think about these characters and this type of person who might have lived through that?

And hearing people reword it. Is a big unlock. So it's like a similar thing. So if you had told that story, then a third party who heard it, who's not the therapist outside of that bubble, who of course will say, it's not your fault. Just comfort it, comfort the child. When they say it has more gravitas. And sometimes things will pop out or they'll say, I wonder what was going on, in that teacher's life, what abuse had they gone under, where they thought that this was appropriate behavior, what, had what was going to school like for them, where they thought that was normal.

Sushil: She was, uh, she was a school teacher in a boys school in India. That is enough abuse to begin.

Dan: Right. Right.

Sort of explain some things.

Sushil: That there's a, there is room for empathy here because she is a woman from my mom's generation and, they are a generation who grew up in post-independence India with a lot of generational trauma surrounding money and parenting and Soma.

Complex patterns that you never know what's happening there. So it's like how trauma has a compounding effect rate. Unresolved trauma gets passed around and once you get traumatized, unconsciously. Sometimes you just enact that out on someone else.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. Or seek to be surrounded by people who behave that way. I see that a lot. And it's almost on this like subconscious level where they have people have this radar. Where they can't like it, it can screw you up where people who are safe, don't look safe to you and people who are dangerous, seem really safe.

Sushil: No I get that. I didn't like that. Very good analogy with the radar. It feels like you're tuning frequency attracts the kind of people that you're sending signals to unconsciously. As you said,

Dan: yeah. Yeah.

Sushil: tell me more about these workshops. How are you planning to set them up and are you the objective third-party who gives inputs on stories?

Dan: so I do a variation of that. And what we do in our storybook version is someone tells me a story. I then. Go through this process where I ask them some questions about it, tell them what I liked about it, and that just forms a conversation back and forth, and sometimes it'll morph into, okay, let's take a look at this.

Sometimes it morphs into, oh, there's this whole other story that I actually want to talk about and tell, and then. I'd say about 50% of the time they tell the story again. And after that taling, I'll say, would you like to hear me tell it as though I had lived it? And usually people say yes, and it's a rare occurrence for you. To see what it would be like to have someone else live your experience. And it will just unlock these things about how you can talk about it, how other people would see it. And it gives you that permission to say, oh, there are a lot of ways that I could frame this story. And even though I don't think he said it like quite right.

I could see how somebody could do that. And it gives me these ideas about ways that I could say it that feel really right to me. And it's really hard in storytelling. One of the hardest things that people always say is they tell me to write with my own voice, but I don't know what that means. I don't know what I sound like.

And of course not, you're always in your own head, everything is the narrative. In your mind, that sounds normal. But what happens is when I tell you your story and I'm using my voice, it becomes crystal clear to you as a listener. Oh my God. That's so different than how I would do it. And you can see yourself in the contrast and the relief.

All of a sudden, you're like, oh, I would always emphasize this. Oh, I'd always slow down here. And he didn't do that. Now I can see myself in that reverberations, in that reflection. And then the final piece of the puzzle is it's just, you feel so seen when someone tells you a five minute story and they know everything that you said, and you are like, oh my God, this person really heard me.

And it builds. Close connection.

Sushil: Do you want to give it a shot with the story I

just shared?

Dan: Yeah. Yeah, I would I would be up for that. Before I jump into that, I do want to say that's an intense story. And I really like something that I like about it is that it highlights this idea. For me that I fight against when I'm talking to people about their stories, sometimes I'll be like, oh you hear stories from people every day and what you were talking about.

Sushil right. That, oh, raise the stakes. W we're gonna make it seem worse than it is. And that's the only way to have it be competitive in your story. It's not. You didn't get beaten up. You, your parents didn't die in your hands, as you were crying tears into their, you know what I mean? But still the way you say it, I, as an audience member, I feel for you.

I know what it's like to be a little kid and have. Authority figures take advantage of that and be up to about how traumatizing what they're doing is, and we can relate to that. And by being open here and talking to us today, I hope that's something the listeners take away with is we're interesting in that we're human beings and we have this ability to. Trauma is trauma. Like the worst thing that ever happened to you is the worst. That's the worst thing. And it is scalable for you because it is the worst thing. You don't have to be sent to a concentration camp. You don't have to, be missing legs or, be so drunk to have trauma in your life, or have stories that are painful that you want to work with. Just because somebody has had it quote unquote worse doesn't mean that your story of pain isn't emotionally resonant

Sushil: Exactly. And there's a lot of good literature by on this. He talks about how like, trauma is not what happened to you. It's actually. What you said to yourself after the trauma happened?

So when that happened to me like public humiliation, basically a class full of 70 or 80 students just laughing at me because I'm like shirtless covering my book.

It's just, it's scary for a child to be laughed at, by so many people. And another messaging was like, I deserve to be humiliated because I'm not bloody. And that stuck with me. Into my thirties, so

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. Just a story and it seems reasonable when you're a kid, right? You had that experience. It's not like that far out to say that story. And on some level that's a true story, but there's also the story of you coming back to comfort yourself, which is, I would say more true that it's not your fault, let me ask you some questions about the. Story. Cause I w I didn't understand. There was like 70 to 80 kids in your class. That's so many kids,

Sushil: Have you heard of India?

Dan: you know, it's funny. Do you know, uh, Rainer on Twitter?

Sushil: Yeah, I do. I've heard. He was in one of our spaces yesterday.

Dan: Oh yeah. He was in our spit space yesterday. Didn't, I don't think it's giving anything away, but he had a lot to relate to this where there were some certain things that teachers said to him and he had a very vivid memory of having to wrap his books in brown paper. That was like part of his, like growing up.

Becoming a mature human being. I forget exactly. But he had some math teacher or something like that who wasn't into the way he wrapped his books. And I think he said, I think I had the same thing in that he was like, there's 70 to 80 kids in our class. And I was like, I remember being, I had 32 kids in my class and I just thought it was so hard to stand up. The guy felt like I was in a sea of kids. So to double that, just intense. What grade is this?

Sushil: First grade.

Dan: it's like first grade? Why? I don't understand why you had to take off your shirt. It was just a humiliate.

Sushil: now, so what happens is the textbooks are covered with brown paper. And if you don't cover them, like they you basically have the artwork, which is on the textbook and whatever it is, because my textbook was naked. The teacher wanted to make a point that now you should be naked and your textbooks should be covered with the shirt that you're wearing

So I was like shirtless in, in class and I had to cover the textbook with my

shirt.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. Can you tell me a little bit about the experience of this guide? Who took you back there?

Sushil: So she is someone who specializes in altered state. And she has been doing a lot of trauma work. I will be having her on one of the later episodes. I'm not sure exactly what to what degree I can disclose her credentials, but she has roughly 35 years of experience working with altered states through meditation and several other techniques.

So the technique that she teaches us is that you can be playful with your. Basically, when you relive trauma you don't go back as a child version of yourself. You go back as an empowered version of yourself as your higher self or your inner adult, and then you go and help this

child.

Dan: Was this on a retreat. So you were with her in the physical,

Sushil: Yes.

Dan: can you give me a little bit about what she looks like and where you were having the second.

Sushil: We were in the Atlantic rainforest in Brazil

Dan: Yeah.

Sushil: and, um, now she is from Argentina, but she is, yeah, she's voluntarily Brazilian because she's been living there for more than 20 years. So

Brazil is.

Dan: Yeah. Long hair, short hair,

Sushil: Short-ish

shoulder length,

Dan: roughly.

Sushil: 55 60. I don't know some of

their,

Dan: All right. When I think of this kind of stuff a little bit, my brain goes to shaman

style.

Sushil: oh yes. He was initiated by shamans

Dan: Yeah. So is she like dressed like that? Flowing clothes. And does she have tattoos and

Sushil: No,

not really.

Dan: no. Okay. But you're like hanging out in the rain forest having this

Sushil: Yeah. And it's a, it's a retreat that is, very well equipped and, , it was an amazing life-changing experience and would definitely recommend people go Check out.

Dan: Okay. I've got some, I got some details and give me a moment of silence. And I'll think about how I would tell this story.

 

So I grew up in India. You probably don't know anything about it because you're not culture. And. I'm going to explain to you that there's AUV kids in a class. So if you're in first grade, it's a sea of children, just wall to wall kids. And I'm the sort of person who doesn't want to be seen.

I'm not trying to make a big splash at this time in my life. Unfortunately, I'm not that dexterous. And I couldn't quite figure out how to bind my books properly. Everybody had to put sort of brown paper around their books to create special covers. And I was told that this was very. By the fact that every other kid had their books completely covered.

And I had these like haphazard slip cases that just were not working. It was not right. And the teacher finds me and it's this, I don't know. 30 seems old in first grade. So she's somewhere between 30 and 60 and she comes down and she looks at me and she looks at my book and she said, Your book is naked. Now this is a concept I was not aware of that books could be naked and I like, tap it and it's got a hard cover. I'm like it's, it's a book. And she tells me to take off my shirt, that it would be better for me to be naked and my book to have a shirt than the other way around. And I'm in first grade and she's an adult. And with tears rolling down my eyes, I bind the book with my shirt, which is just ridiculous. I am, instead of not being seen and just like being a kid in the class, trying to learn. I'm a person who everybody sees and can't stop looking at because for the rest of the day, I'm not wearing my shirt. I'm vulnerable and alone with 81 eyes staring at me for the rest of the day. And that experience. screw With me. It screw with me in these little weird ways all the time forever until I become an adult. And I find myself in this froofy. I mean, it's not froofy, but you know, It's not the sort of thing that I think that I would do if I hadn't had these like intense experiences where people told me to do it. So I ended up in a retreat. In Brazil and I'm in this rain forest with this woman, who's lived in Brazil for 20 years. She's originally from Argentina and she is now that I'm adult. I can tell you she's in her fifties and short cropped hair, this gentle smile. And she talks about how healing can be a kind of play if we do it right. She takes. The handful of us who are on this journey through the forest, through conversations. And one day I'm alone with her and she takes me and she sits me down and she says, tell me a story about when you were a kid. I was surprised that's the story that came up. But I told her that story and gently with my hand in hers, she said, you're not that person anymore. You're somebody else and you're worthy and you're not naked and you're not vulnerable. Let's go back there together. And she teaches me this. Just way of imagining traveling through time to my old self. And I relive that, not as a movie, but like I'm really there. And I see the teacher yell at this kid who is me, but isn't me because I'm now an adult standing there watching it happen.

And in the moment I see in that kid's eyes that he thinks he deserves. That he is less than that. He deserves to be naked and made fun of and unworthy. But watching that from the outside as an adult, I realize that kid is wrong. Not having your book covered for a day because you don't have the, our dexterity to do it because.

First grade that's normal. What's not normal is being humiliated for no good reason this and this teacher. She says, you're there now? What are you going to do about it? Knight saddled up to me and I whispered screw that teacher. But more importantly, I said, it's not your fault. It's going to be okay. And I'm going to put this to rest.

Sushil: That was, it was very beautiful and very powerful. And you brought so much life into that story than the way I said it. And I see now how empowering, listening to the same story from someone else's perspective can be. And I'm glad that we did this exercise. It was completely unexpected. We are just doing improv pretty much, and I love what you did.

Dan: Thank you. Yeah. And I always say this, but it's not meant to be prescriptive. It isn't like for those, especially those who are listening, it's not like one story. Oh, that's a good way to tell a story. That's bright. There are certain things that I do because I've learned to do them and this is my study and the. I can do crafty things, but then the natural flow of the story that he told is there. And the idea is what are things that you like? What are things that you notice when somebody else says your story? It's not to be like, oh, that's how I should tell it because there's no right way to tell your story. Every way is right. In my opinion.

Sushil: No, that's perfect. Because when you were telling the story I actually felt like I was going back in time. I felt like we were being playful with it and, making jokes with our inner child and all of that really came through, which is.

Something else I can take to this technique. And any of those, the thing, when you learn a technique, it can evolve. It can evolve, you can add to it, you can subtract from it. And maybe next time I'm reliving a story. I would have more fun with it like I did today. So thank you for that.

Dan: Yeah, you're very welcome. this was great.

Sushil: So you just had a first, or maybe a second hand experience of what a session. Story luck. Dan could be like if he were to do one of his thousand free coaching calls, and I can say personally, it was immensely beneficial having a fresh pair of eyes on my story or my childhood trauma.

So be sure to check him out on Twitter at story luck. And he has amazing content there. And he is also starting. A bunch of new podcasts and you can check out the latest news on his new projects on Twitter at story luck.

Dan: Thank you so much. I'm glad we did this. And I think we created. A powerful moment that people will enjoy listening to. And so I'm happy about it.

Sushil: Thank you so much for tuning in. For more content from me, your hosts you can follow me on Twitter at sushi 2017. If you like this episode, be sure to share it with a friend who needs to hear it right now and also like, and follow us on Spotify, apple podcasts, and other major podcasting platform.

We are going to have so many of these insightful conversations, like the one I just had and I'll be publishing a new episode each week. So thank you so much. And I'll see you next

Dan BoydProfile Photo

Dan Boyd

Creator

There's a problem in the world today, people don't understand each other, and worse, they don't understand themselves. It's because they lack the storytelling skills necessary to process their experiences and articulate them to others.

Your story matters to Daniel Andrew Boyd, so if you've ever wanted to up your performance game follow him @StoryLuck on all social media.

Or if you're really serious, join the thousand other people and sign up for a free 1 on 1 coaching session.

https://calendly.com/storyluck/