My Life as a River

This activity aims to encourage participants to consider life events as potential stories. The river provides a metaphorical space in which participants can explore life events at a safe distance.


●Each participants will get a 11x17 paper, pens, markers, and post-it notes to aid them in creating their River.

●Facilitators introduce the idea of imagining one’s life as a river, spend some time explaining how they might consider a river as a metaphor for life and share an image of their own River (5 minutes):

○“Rivers are constantly in motion, they move from one place to another, sometimes they move in a straight line and other times their path is winding. They might come from the mountains, be a small stream or a series of rapids, waterfalls and whirlpools. It might travel through forests or cities, through lakes and under bridges, out into the ocean or maybe even flood.”

●Participants are encouraged to draw their River in a way that feels true to their experience of life. Invite them to note and/or draw key life experiences along the river (15 minutes).

○Participants can also place the 4 items from their MeBAG on their river.

○Participants can choose to begin their River from any point in their own life (e.g. birth of a child, moving to a new place, starting a new job or some other event). Given that some participants may not want to revisit past traumas or certain life experiences, this gives them the option to start their River at a moment they are most comfortable with.

●Participants are asked to highlight and expand on one point on their River where they had to learn a lot of new things or experienced a lot of barriers to getting what they wanted/achieving a goal. This is potentially the story participants will want to tell and build in the Storytelling tool (15 minutes).

●At the end of this activity, a few people (3-5) may want to share their River and the highlighted points they have chosen with the entire group. The rest of the participants can rejoin their previous groups of 4 and share their Rivers with their group members (15minutes).

Tip: you can use predrawn river options and ask participants to consider adding to the river.

River templates: 3 river options_letter size template.pdf

Activity adapted from the Department of Imaginary Affairs