January 11


Today's quotation:

For many years now I have listened to the stories of people with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses as their counselor.  From them I have learned how to enjoy the minute particulars of life once again, the grace of a hot cup of coffee, the presence of a friend, the blessing of having a new cake of soap or an hour without pain.  Such humble experience is the stuff that many of the very best stories are made of.  If we think we have no stories it is because we have not paid enough attention to our lives.  Most of us live lives that are far richer and more meaningful than we appreciate.

Rachel Naomi Remen

Today's Meditation:

The second important element of this passage is the focus on stories and the number of stories that we all have in our lives.  I personally have a hard time thinking of actual stories that come from my experience.  If I'm in a group of people and we're sharing funny or interesting stories, I always come up blank, even though I know that a lot of interesting things have happened to me and I've met many fascinating people.  I've gone to many interesting places and I've had experiences that have been completely unique.
  The stories of my experiences don't come easily to me, though.  In fact, my memory seems to shut down on its own once I try to start to remember things.

But that doesn't mean that I don't have the stories.  Sometimes I used to feel a bit down, as if my life weren't as exciting or as interesting or as full as the lives of others.  I've since found, though, that that's completely untrue--it's my memory that doesn't work as well as some other people's, not a lack of life experiences, that keeps me from sharing stories with others.  I have just as many, if not more, fascinating stories to tell.  I just can't access them as quickly or as easily as many other people can.

Partly, I think, Rachel's right--I haven't paid enough attention to my life as I've grown.  I haven't seen the changes, the experiences, the ups and downs as clearly as I could have.  That's due mostly to the fact that I so often was focused on what I didn't have that I lost sight of the things that I did have.  I've changed that tendency, but it's still something that affects me because of the opportunities that I lost in my past--not noticing the fascinating stories as they've unwound, not noticing the incredible people that were a part of my life, and about whom now I could tell many, many wonderful stories if I had only been paying better attention.

What's happening to you today that could be tomorrow's story?  What could you share with others tomorrow that will lighten their hearts or help them to see life's circumstances in different ways?  These stories are your gift, and gifts are always brighter when we share them. . . .

Questions to consider:

Does our culture value story-telling?  How does "society's" view of story-telling affect our own ability to tell stories?

If your memory is like mine and doesn't access stories easily, how might you compensate?

Can you think of one story that you might tell others from your yesterday or the day before?

For further thought:

Margaret Wheatley states, “We do not fear the people whose stories we know.”  Let us begin to help people understand each other and improve our communities by sharing our stories with each other.  When I think of all the people who have inspired me to be a better person, they did it by sharing a story with me.  My family and friends have inspired me by sharing their hopes and dreams, despair and triumph.  Students have inspired me with their joy and eagerness to learn. I could go on with the inspiration I have found from others. . . . Sharing a part of your life may seem scary but think of those you might inspire.  What if those that inspired you had never shared?  Let’s do this together.  Let’s work to bring the community together by sharing stories of our human spirit in pursuit of happiness. . . . We must share our stories of what it means to be parents, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.  We all have the power to change the world.  I hope you will take a few minutes to do that – change the world with your story.

Heath Harding

more thoughts and ideas on stories



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