Meg Quinlisk – Exploring her Story
Meg Quinlisk grew up in the mountains of West Virginia. Surrounded by nature, her childhood was enriched by an awareness of strong, seasonal rhythms. Oral traditions such as storytelling were a feature of this country upbringing. So when, as a new mother, she encountered a Steiner playgroup for the very first time, and observed the rhythms of storytelling, singing and craft, Meg felt she’d returned home.
Nowadays, Meg is a presenter at Sydney Rudolf Steiner College. She also runs the Inner West Steiner Playgroup and has co-written a book with Ebba Bodame, Early Childhood Wisdom: a Journey through the Playgroup Year. She’s also a professional historian. As someone who enjoys the stories and events of the past, her interest in personal biography is fitting.
Here we talk about Meg’s story and her upcoming course, Explore Your Life Story, which will be held on Aug 1-2 & Sept 12-13 in Sydney.
Q: How did you get involved in exploring biography work?
A: I first began this study through doing a course run by Karl-Heinz Finke – who’s done an enormous amount of biography study and teaching within an anthroposophical framework. In my playgroup work I often see the huge transitions people go through when they become parents. Biography work helped me offer perspective to parents about the transition they were going through.
Q: So, is this course you’re running, Explore your Life Story, just for parents?
A: No, not at all. Biography work is for anyone who would like the space and time to gather their story, their data. Reviewing one’s story is a gift to oneself. We will use the framework of biographical work to help us understand the archetypal human journey we’re all living. We’re all unique but in biography work you soon see that we have common milestones, crises, challenges and thresholds.
Q: Some people struggle going back through painful times or even traumas. Is biography work useful when you’ve dealt with very difficult events?
A: What I am providing in this four-day course is a framework that allows us to objectively gather an understanding of our lives and to perhaps discover recurring patterns or influences. We will cover a lot of ground but we will be maintaining a bird’s eye view of our story, an objective one, and also listening to what others want to share of their story. Through self-reflection and also listening we will hone our empathy for ourselves and for others. Biography work is contraindicated in some cases. While it can be therapeutic and helpful in developing greater self-knowledge, it’s not a therapy in and of itself. This is why we keep the mindset of a curious observer while looking at our own life stories in biography work.
Q: So what are the benefits of doing biography work?
A: Real life is consuming and we rush through it tending to our responsibilities, work and obligations. Doing biography work is a wonderful chance to step out of daily life for a short while and get a bird’s eye view of our journey so far, to take a look! To ask oneself what has happened to bring me to this point? What are the questions alive in me now? What are some of the lessons I’ve learnt? And how can I use this knowledge to progress the journey I’m on.
And although we will encounter this biographic study intellectually we will also be doing creative work (clay sculpting and creative speech) to help us tease out or distil the findings that are coming to us.
Q: How do you feel after you’ve done biographic work?
A: When I do biographical study I always emerge refreshed, reassured and with greater empathy for others and myself.
Thank you Meg.
Biographic work is a growing field with roots that go back to the late 1970s in Holland, led by the work of Bernard Lievegoed and Gudrun Burkhard in Brazil. It is anchored in Rudolf Steiner’s observations of the septennial (7 year cycles) phases of human development.
Our two-weekend workshop will be held on Aug 1-2 & 12-13 September 2020. Bookings are strictly limited.
To reserve a place please go to: