One of the reasons that I am a storyteller is that I believe that by sharing stories out loud, stories that we previously stuffed down into the darkest corners of our hearts and minds, stories we believe make us broken, flawed, or beyond loving, we suddenly find that someone listening says “Me too.”
It’s alchemy. Some might say magic. It's human - which might be the most miraculous of all things, no?
In the speaking of a story, we release the burden we believe we alone carried, own the experience that is both ours and universal, and find the support we didn’t know we needed.
Validation that we weren’t sure we’d ever be granted.
Imagination that can fuel the building of a life and works where everyone can thrive.
We conjure connections that come from the risk of sharing something authentic and honest and messy. In showing ourselves to someone else, we surrender to the truth that we are human. That we are whole. That we are worthy of being listened to.
Storytelling is ancient. Primal. Our very cells are wired for story. Stories about the past still smolder with life, stories bring us into the present moment, and stories are how we invent the future. Stories MATTER.
Our ancestors told stories around the campfire, underneath a constellation strewn sky. Stories were part of what it meant to be part of a circle of community. Stories meant learning, dreaming, deliberating, understanding how we all belong.
Now we sit alone in the dark with the glow of our phones taking the place of the stars and the furnace standing in for the bright blaze that we once built with our own hands. Google prevents us from experiencing wonder and sinking into the Big Whys and our social media accounts favor the ME and forgo the community that we are trying to connect with in the first place.
We are saturated, but not satisfied.
Overstimulated but underwhelmed.
We think there must be more.
It’s our time to reclaim the campfire.
I used to think “When I die, what if all I did was tell stories? What good will that do?”
Now I think “When I die, I will have spent my life telling stories.”
GO. Tell stories. Make space for others to share stories. Listen. Deeply. Listen some more. Ask people to tell you a story about their first love, their best friend, their secret dream, hell, what they ate for dinner. Read stories, write stories, dance them out, throw stories with on a canvas. Do whatever it is that allows you to share your story with someone else, someone who unbeknownst to you, might need to hear it. Someone whose life might depend on it.