This article originally appeared on Ethical Entrepreneur Magazine.
By Mounira Chehade on Aug 3, 2021

In this increasingly complex world, what if stories held the key to our self-healing? Could stories stitch up our wounds so we could better serve ourselves and others?

Gayathri Shukla understands the life-changing power of stories and she is bringing a unique experience to fellow Calgarians who wish to tap into their own narratives. “I truly believe that when we can share our authentic stories, we start to celebrate what makes us unique, and we also celebrate our unity and diversity,” shares Gayathri. 

Her social enterprise, Campfire Kinship, is honing the magic of storytelling to create transformation within individuals and the broader community. “Campfire Kinship offers story-based solutions to help people reclaim their unique stories, perspectives, and their authentic voices, while finding a sense of belonging with others,” explains Gayathri. 

Gayathri is certified in Guided Autobiography, the method she employs to facilitate storytelling for those who participate in her workshops. “It is a structured method that helps people reflect on their life experiences through a set of themes as well as guided questions and prompts,” explains Gayathri. The process gives participants the opportunity to share their stories in small groups and develop skills like deep listening and ways to provide supportive feedback. “The beautiful thing is that, in the process, they end up appreciating others around them as well, and actually get to see the gifts that others bring through their diversity,” says Gayathri. 

Gayathri’s own lived experience struggling to fit into her surroundings was the catalyst to exploring her own story. “I’ve felt the pain [of not fitting in], I’ve definitely lived the challenges of that pain. I had to pivot to figure out how to turn my pain into purpose. I needed to undergo my own transformation journey,” Gayathri shares. As a woman of colour and an engineer in a traditionally male dominated field, she came to understand that celebrating her own strengths and uniqueness would be of greater benefit to herself and others.