The Power of Story
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

The Power of Story

I learn so much when someone shares a story. Creator of Story Seminar, Robert McKee, writes, “Stories are the creative conversation of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact.”

The Currency of Human Contact

The currency of human contact. Wow. Just let that sink in. When I listen to the story someone shares:

  1. It helps me think about my life.
  2. It gives me strength to face my own circumstances with renewed vigor.
  3. It enlarges my capacity to empathize.
  4. It helps me walk a mile in someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective.
  5. It enlarges my worldview—especially when the story is from a different culture.
  6. It makes me stop and think hard about my own decisions.
  7. Sometimes, it warns me and helps me avoid behaviors that bring serious consequences.
  8. And, finally, it makes me richer in every way.

A Week Full of Stories

Although setbacks of all kinds may discourage us, the grand, old process of storytelling puts us in touch with strengths we may have forgotten, with wisdom that has faded or disappeared, and with hopes that have fallen into darkness.” Nancy Mellon

I’ve just returned from a week on the West Coast. Prior to attending my Literary Agency’s Retreat/Conference in Monterey, CA, I spent a couple of days with a young woman (a former first-grade student of mine) and then after the retreat, several hours with her mom (who flew in during this time).

The Power of Story

And, then, during the retreat, met incredible women, and a couple men—whose personal and literary stories filled me to overflow. The currency of human contact almost became to heavy to carry in my emotional wallet.

On the very last day, in the very last hour, I sat around a table with one agent and five other authors. The brainstorming session was entitled, “Finding Your Audience.” One by one, we shared the current content of our latest book project in hopes of helping each other find new and unique ways of increasing our book’s sphere of influence. About five minutes into sharing my story, a deep and unsettling cry escaped from my soul. Thoughts about the project unfurled and opened a powerful conversation. You need to change the title. It doesn’t reflect the true content of the book. Many other things were said that sincerely rocked my world and “turned my book on its’ head.” The best way to describe this pivotal moment is to borrow the words of Marni Gillard:

We need to look hard at the stories we create, and wrestle with them. Retell and retell them, and work with them like clay. It is in the retelling and returning that they give us their wisdom.”

Work With Them Like Clay

After our final session, I had to go sit by the Monterey Bay and give the power of that conversation some much-needed sacred space to settle. As I watched sea otters bob up and down amid the seaweed and soft waves, I thought about why I had broken down in such a soul-shaking way.

My soul had found a safe, sacred space in which to vocalize my pain. It recognized the authenticity and care of five remarkable women, all committed to seeing me become the woman and author God created me to be. They quickened Ephesians [4:15]-16, helping me work with the retelling of my story like clay:

Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times—speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly—and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of his body, the Church. Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”

To those five women, thank you. You are forever in my heart.

Look Hard at Your Story

To you, fellow remarkable woman, know that your story is worth telling. Write it down. Work hard on making it clear, concise and coherent. Practice telling it. Don’t waste a word. And then, share it. Lean in for the right moment when you believe your story can make a difference in the life of another. Be sensitive—your story isn’t for everybody—so pray for the right opportunity and the right time. Work with it like clay and find the wisdom within.

Today, I offer you a safe, sacred space—a community of heartlifting women committed to living remarkable lives. Join us, will you: www.heartlift.org. When you do, you’ll receive a personal guide to your very own heart retreat. We’ll continue our conversation there and in our private Facebook Friday group, Be Remarkable Women.

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