The Need To Tell Our Stories

It is fundamentally human to do so. Tell our stories that is.

It is social glue — with more than 140 characters or two short paragraphs. It is the way that we share experience. “Tell us about your weekend. What’s been happening with your family? Your job? Your garden? Did you watch last night’s episode?”

Or, it was (I would say is) part of ceremony. “Tell us what you have seen. Tell us of the great beyond.” I can imagine those times sitting round the fire. Listening as if life depended on it.

Ah, there it is — perhaps life depends on it, this telling of our stories, and this listening to others tell their stories. Not just social nicety, though I like that too. Nothing wrong with a passing remark about last nights’ ball game. Not just chit chat, filler before moving to the next moment of isolation. Smile. Check.

Our lives depend on the stories we tell ourselves and each other. It takes friends, company, good listeners, and good challengers to help make sense of them. I’m introverted enough to not always want to be out loud. But at some point, our lives our meant to be lived in some community. It is where sense-making is tested, where systems of imagination scale.

In ten days I will be hosting The Circle Way Practicum with a friend and colleague that I really respect — Amanda Fenton. Together we will host a group of 22 people over six days to develop the ability and recall the memory of telling our stories. We will work in large group and in smaller groups of sixish. We will invoke with others a basic process for listening, for presensing, for letting go, and for calling forth — story. “What’s it like to be you? What has your attention? What is important to you? Is there a crossroads you feel you are at?”

With minimal structure, a clear purpose, a real curiosity, and the invocation of story, I believe we can change the world. Grow it back to one that practices engagement and story, evolving the edges of who we are and what we dream possible.

Thank you Charles LaFond, a great story inviter and teller, for inspiring this post.

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