Category Archives: Narrative Mapping,

NSL # Rule No. 3 The Listening Contract- “People will listen to you to the extent that they believe you have listened to them. Its a Give to Get-Getting a Hearing depends on the kind of Listening you give.”

NSL believes that as powerful as storytelling can be, there is an even greater power contained in the act of listening. Without a listener, the story goes unheard. To listen is a way of sharing power, allowing another’s experience to … Continue reading

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What’s the Story?

NSL is often described as a civil society initiative, or as a people to people grassroots program, or as an example of the CONTACT THEORY championed by American Psychologist Gordon Allport that argued that the way to break down prejudice … Continue reading

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NSL # Rule No. 4 “You give power to what you give meaning to.”

The narrative approach does not see the world as solid and unmoving but as a dynamic system of meaning making, always in flux: forming- reforming, forcing and re-enforcing, dissolving and solving and resolving and contradicting. Communication is the polite term … Continue reading

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NSL # Rule No. 5 “Never act into the story that your enemy is acting out of.”

The popular method of resistance known as non-violence is one that speaks to us as a narratively informed method of changing the story. and is at the core of this next rule. War, to be a meaningful act, demands a … Continue reading

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NSL # Rule No. 6 ” The first act of liberation for any oppressed people is for them to grab back their story.” ( Echoing Barbara Myerhoff)

NSL explains its practice as the implementation of a narrative ethic whose principles include: 1.Everyone has a story 2.Everyone has a right to tell it 3.Everyone has a right to tell their story over anyone’s right to tell it for … Continue reading

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NSL # Rule No.7 “Stories can imprison, paralyze or empower. Once we wake up to how we create our own captivity, we will seek freedom.”

We find ourselves in a story that explains how little choice we have- we elaborate the problem at length- that we are occupied or we are plagued with corruption and we have no economy, or, we have always been hated … Continue reading

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NSL # Rule No.8 “Please come curious- don’t come critical, and if you come critical, come curious about why you come so critical and if you can’t come curious about why you come so critical come critical about how you come so critical and if you can’t be critical about your being so critical Don’t waste anyone’s time Stay Home. You are not ready for NSL.”

The secret of a good story is surprise. If we know how it ends, or what happens to complicate the plot, we feel bored. There is no suspense- hence no drama. Its the same with people intent on creating a … Continue reading

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NSL # Rule no. 9 “A reaction to a reaction makes for a reactionary world. A response to a response makes for a responsible world. War creates the first and is threatened by the second. “

In the last Rule about curiosity and criticism, we described the way reactions can be triggered in the NSL engagement. Reactions are those moments that escape our control. They seem immediate and automatic. We lose it. A prominent professor from … Continue reading

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NSL # Rule No. 10 “Personal Transformation is not enough.”

“Enemies making friends!” That is an amazing story. it shows redemption is possible, that reconciliation is not a dream. It can and does happen during the NSL summer, and people who see it think- miracles can happen, that this is … Continue reading

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NSL # Rule No. 11 ” Those who have power don’t want change. Those who want change don’t have power.”

NSL is often seen as a program that creates contacts between enemies to humanize the other and make relationships that can be the platform for future cooperation. That is the traditional model and in post- conflict zones, it can be … Continue reading

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