(1) The Intuitive Story
The Intuitive Story (TIS) is a time-travel roleplaying game with a twist: it involves learning to use one’s ‘intuitive muscles’ more consciously, enabling a deeper connection with oneself and others. The game was developed by Noa Golan, born in Israel and now based in Berlin. Growing up with a strong awareness of the Holocaust and re-enacting it in play as a child, she discovered how imagining oneself into another person’s position evokes empathy and challenges the sense of separation that is the root of all destructive behaviour. TIS acts as a reminder of our shared humanity and our connection to the larger stream of existence.
How does it work?
TIS works as follows: five participants decide to travel to a certain time and place in history or in the future to find out what their shared story is. Before entering the game together, every person discovers their character in an individual session with Noa. This involves entering a light trance state, which is more familiar than it may sound. Akin to daydreaming, it allows one to tap into a more intuitive mode of being. When all characters are established, they are being ‘casted’ to embody one of five souls: the Rebel, the Leader, the Realist, the Romantic, and the Messiah. Once everyone has found their role, the group begins to unravel what binds them together in this lifetime. Actively using their intuition, they allow the story to emerge rather than setting it up with a goal in mind. The game is facilitated by Noa and can last from two days up to several months, during which the participants meet until they feel a sense of completion.
How did it evolve?
Apart from her childhood experiences of re-enacting the Holocaust, Noa has been inspired to develop TIS by an eclectic range of sources. In the spirit of the intuitive mode, she never set out with the plan to design this particular game. Rather, it evolved step by step as she followed her passions and questions – ‘living it', as she says, without knowing where it would lead. Experiences that contributed to the process include acting, writing screenplays, learning different therapeutic techniques involving the use of intuition (including the Soul Journey), and meetings with friends out of which the game was eventually born.
How does she make it happen?
Two years ago, Noa decided to take a leap of faith and set up a business that would allow her to facilitate TIS professionally. Before that, she used to finance her artistic work by jobbing in restaurants for 20 years. A start-up grant from the German Agency for Work (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) got her going. Word of mouth (i.e. talking to everyone about TIS) and a website with a brilliant introduction video have been her main marketing channels. If someone wants her to host a game, they gather four friends and organise a space. Or she gets invited by established organisations to facilitate sessions, such as recently with the independent film school Filmarche. She has also applied for artist’s residencies. Noa’s life philosophy and practice is one of not really separating between living, learning, working, and playing. Accordingly, she sees TIS simply as one of many things she does. Additionally, she facilitates individual practice sessions that employ the intuitive mode for personal development purposes. Furthermore, she works as a karaoke hostess for one evening a week. Her attitude to money is akin to the one cultivated in the game. She understands money as energy, and payment as the flow of that energy activated by the wish to give in response to what you have received – following what she sees as a natural movement. Therefore, the prices of participating in the game and in the individual practice sessions are not fixed. Instead, participants are encouraged to follow a guideline from a Vipassana teacher: ‘you know you gave enough when it hurts a little’. At present, TIS is still developing further, with each session guided by Noa. Following its own principles, it is likely to keep on evolving over time. One of the next steps will be the training of a first group of interested participants who want to become TIS facilitators themselves.
The Intuitive Story as a Learning Space
TIS is a learning space in the sense that it enables people to rediscover their capacity for intuitive knowing and become more empathic. According to Noa, one can do so by cultivating an attitude of being present, humble, open-minded, and curious to discover what wants to emerge. As she understands it, this intuitive dimension is always there, and one can always tap into it. It arises from being part of a larger whole. Deepening one’s connection to this larger whole by deepening the connection with oneself and others is part of the process. This forms a contrast to the current educational system, which is significantly informed by an idea of separation – between oneself and others, between mind and body, between humans and nature. School can give the impression that knowledge, too, is something external, rather than something one can find in oneself by following one’s own observations and becoming attuned to one’s responses. For example, Noa says, if one were to learn biology by observing one’s own body first, one would realise that I am biology! Not only would one better understand its relevance, it would also be empowering.
Whilst TIS creates a space specifically designed to reconnect to our natural capacity to learn from and respond to the inner and outer phenomena, Noa hopes that it will give people a taste for practicing being in this intuitive mode in their everyday lives. In her own words:
“The natural movement is so much wiser, so much more creative and open than what my individual limited mind can produce. I want to be and feel life as it is and not as I think it should be or want it to be (as much as I can…) and then move in it, with it, with myself and others. And this is what we practice in The Intuitive Story. Life, just like creativity, is so surprising if we don’t know in advance. You constantly have to be very awake. And to be awake is to be alive. To be curious is to be alive! This is what we’re here for: to live!”