I believe there’s no such thing as an ordinary life. And, like Christina Baldwin, the eloquent author of Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives Through the Power and Practice of Story, I take delight in the “subtle magnificence of ordinary people”.
I also believe that it’s vital for magnificently “ordinary” people to share their stories. As Baldwin says, “We require story in order to link our lives with each other. Story couples our experiences, mind to mind and heart to heart.”
I am my story. The story I tell about myself will be all you will know of me, and the story you tell about yourself will be all I will know of you. So why would I keep my story hidden? Why would you leave your story unspoken?
“Storycatchers,” adds Baldwin, “believe that the ordinary stories of our ordinary lives have extraordinary gifts coded within them – for the one speaking and the ones listening; for the one writing and for the ones reading.”
And it goes much deeper than that. If we bury experiences and don’t articulate them into story, they can turn up years later as trauma, disease, mental illness, midlife crisis. But when the energy is shifted into language and worked through in the form of story the healing power within is unleashed.
A story that gets one person through a hard time provides a map for another to do the same. When we reveal details that we believe to be painfully personal we discover that the personal is universal. Suddenly we are not alone.
When we share our story we deepen our connection to each other – we laugh together, we cry together. We understand that we are all together in this thing called life. And then we will find it harder to go to war.
It feels right to me to think this big about story. And that’s why, with the help of my fellow storycatcher Mary Ann Mhina, I have created The Story Party – a regular storytelling soiree and safe space where people can come together, share their personal stories and be witnessed by a caring audience.
As Christina Baldwin says, “Story is a search for community. As we tell each other who we really are, we find the people with whom we really belong. Story brings us home.”
Share your story, change the world.