Dean and I were crossing paths in the kitchen the other day and I found myself trying to explain what happens when people tell their stories.
It’s something I’m very passionate about (I bet you guessed that!) but I often find it hard to explain. In fact, just trying to write this post has been ridiculously challenging. I’ve written and rewritten paragraph after paragraph because I can’t quite fit into words what I so often experience.
I think it’s hard to explain because telling our stories is SO much more powerful than anyone expects.
Take my recent clients. I’ve spent a lot of time the last couple of weeks listening to other people’s stories thanks to the Your Shining Signature Story coaching service I offered. All of these people came to the table expecting to create a compelling story that well introduced them to their ideal clients. But what’s actually been happening is so much bigger.
Random events have come into obvious relation. Dots got connected where dots hadn’t even been perceived before. Meaning began to surface where it hadn’t been noticed lacking. And, before we knew it, each storyteller had seen herself in a new way.
But even that isn’t the whole of it.
Telling our stories actually changes us.
You know, when something happens to us – big thing, little thing, scary, funny, mundane, moving… doesn’t matter – we experience it in the moment. That’s one level of experience. We might, depending on the thing, think about it after the fact… That’s another level of experience. But when we tell the story, either by writing it or just speaking it to another human, something new happens. Our relationship with that thing changes.
I’m not talking about consciously changing our story in order to change the relationship. That’s an effective healing tool sometimes, rewriting a section of our personal herstory in order to give ourselves a different experience.
But I’m talking about simply relating what we remember, without great effort even, but with some focus and with enough room to let things reveal themselves.
It’s like magic… Or alchemy. Suddenly, the whole is new and much greater than the sum of its parts.
Power gets redistributed, away from things that have been given too much, and toward that which has been given too little.
We are bolder, braver. We feel more confident. More whole. If you imagine our bodies as empty shells, and we the beings that fill the shells… It’s like more of us is inhabiting our bodies. Where once we were a bit ephemeral, a bit waif-y, now we have more substance. And we move in the world with that substance.
It’s subtle but utterly profound.
I think the alchemy has, at least in part, something to do with empowerment.
The consummate Shero is skilled at living empowered. She chooses consciously her response to what’s happening, takes responsibility for her experience. But even so, life is still happening somewhat to and at her. There’s just so much (virtually everything, in fact) that we can’t control.
Every other person on the planet, the weather, the timing of traffic signals, even our own emotions cannot be controlled. We do our best to stay in command of our choices, intentions, and availability… but the rest is playing out as it is. And we are players in each moment, even if we choose not to participate, or feel we don’t have choices. Life is happening, and we can’t just close our eyes and magically will it away.
But when we choose to tell a story – first of all, there’s choice there; that’s already different. But in the telling, we become a witness to our lives instead of (or maybe, in addition to) a participant.
That’s true, to some extent, when we think about something that’s happened, too. But, I don’t know. The space between our ears is like a worm hole. Things get twisted and warped so fast. Never, not one time, have I seen thinking about things have the exalting effect that telling stories can have.
Telling our stories gives us a new level of ownership over our own experience.
And that command, combined with the emerging new meaning and substance, indicates one thing: Integration.
That’s probably the key to the transformation. Integration.
Everything finds its place… and we get bigger.
It is thrilling to watch.
And it happens EVERY SINGLE TIME.
We don’t have to try. We don’t have to intend. We don’t even have to know what we’re doing (though a little bit of guidance helps).
It’s just the nature of the beast.
I want to create more opportunities for us to have that. All of us, not just those of you in business.
I want to make space — offer a pot, so to speak – for the alchemy.
And I want to do it for FREE.
So that’s what I’m gonna do.
Watch your Inbox next week. I’ll have more details on how you can spend some quality time with your stories, me, and other Sheroes on the journey.
Your power is calling. Let’s make some magic!