Stories are everywhere.
They are on our television screens, on the radio, in the news, on social media, in the chit chat at the office, and the stories of friends and relatives around the dinner table.
We tell ourselves stories all the time to help us make sense of the world. Have you listened to your inner dialogue recently? It’s a prolific storyteller, often of great fantasy and fiction.
Humans have been telling stories since time began. It was our way of ensuring survival, building communities and passing on important information to future generations.
We alI have our own stories to tell, but many people don’t appreciate or value theirs. It’s easy to feel that unless your story is grand and heroic it’s not worthwhile or worth sharing, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Of course there are those people whose lives play out like a Hollywood movie, full of action and drama and often tragedy, but they are the exception not the rule.
Most of us lead ordinary lives and do ordinary things, and so our stories feel ordinary; but this is ironically where the true magic and healing ability of storytelling lies. The power of a story lies not in it's magnificence but rather in it's ability to make us feel something, and this is often in the smallest of details rather than in the grand designs.
When we share an experience that moves us, inspires us or informs us, we connect with other people who can either associate with our story, or can potentially learn from it. The problem is that there is so much going on in our busy lives that it is often hard to stop, notice and then articulate such moments.
The way I go about finding the stories in my daily life are by adopting a practice that I call my Story Files. The basic premise I set myself is to notice one or more moments in each day that has been different, interesting or amusing in some way. This could be a conversation I overheard, an insight I had, something I saw. Not everything I write down is a complete story in itself, it doesn't need to be, but the process of doing this everyday, and recording it in a spreadsheet or a book, is that you begin to notice patterns in the stories you note down and sometimes these can combine to create parts of a larger story.
The other beauty of this daily discipline and practise is that you begin to look at each day, and the events of each day, with different eyes. You start to see the world in a different way. You become more aware. You experience things differently. You appreciate things more. You even find yourselves in the middle of a situation and become aware that even as it is unfolding it is a story to be told.
When you begin to look closer you see stories everywhere. You notice them more. You write them down, and soon enough you will want to learn how to write and craft those stories in ways that convey their power and feeling, and then share them with the world.
I truly hope so.
The world needs us more than ever to share our humanity and to bring people closer together. Since the beginning of time human beings have done this through the power of storytelling.
Don't not stop now.
You have stories to tell.