February 22

Today's quotation:

When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else.

Iyanla Vanzant

Today's Meditation:

Stories always have been one of the most important elements of human life.  Stories heal us, they cheer us up, they teach us, they help us to understand what's going on in other people's lives and minds and hearts.  But somehow, most of us have lost the story-telling ability.  We now focus on information on screens, and we focus on judging and criticizing others, and we focus on repeating catch phrases and ideas from other people.  Very few people have been taught how to pass on their own unique stories, and that's quite a shame.

We've seen in a broad sense the healing effects of the sharing of stories.  We've seen survivors of sexual abuse share their stories and empower other survivors.  We've seen people who have been mistreated and abused by governmental systems share their stories and bring about change.  On a smaller scale, we hear other people's stories every day--people who have beat the same sickness that we have, people who have dealt with similar problems on the job that we're facing, people who have healed relationships that are similar to the ones with which we're having problems right now.

There are many possible negative things to say about how we treat stories nowadays, but it's more important to focus on the positive--what we can do with our stories, and how they can serve us and others.  The stories that you have are truly unique, even though they may sound just like someone else's stories.  And it doesn't matter if that someone else tells a story better than we do--sharing our story is an important task that awaits all of us, in one way or another.

Of course, let's not get so involved with sharing our own stories that we neglect to listen to the stories of others.  I know plenty of people who do much talking about themselves and no listening to others, and the benefits of that strategy die very quickly.  Share your stories in appropriate ways; share them in your own unique voice in your own unique ways, and you'll be contributing a new voice to this world that desperately needs positive voices.

Questions to consider:

Why do we tend to think that our stories aren't interesting, or that they don't matter?

In what ways might you share your stories this day, even the smallest and seemingly least significant ones?

With whom might you share your stories?  Who might benefit from hearing them?

For further thought:

When we haven't the time to listen to each other's stories we seek out experts to tell us how to live.  The less time we spend together at the kitchen table, the more how-to books appear in the stores and on our bookshelves.  But reading such books is a very different thing than listening to someone' s lived experience.  Because we have stopped listening to each other we may even have forgotten how to listen, stopped learning how to recognize meaning and fill ourselves from the ordinary events of our lives.  We have become solitary; readers and watchers rather than sharers and participants.

Rachel Naomi Remen

more thoughts and ideas on stories



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