The Power of Story

What a series. We lit some dynamite this week, didn’t we? I had looked forward to introducing the all-star band of storytellers who had so much to teach us but they were the ones to be astonished by the level and depth of your response. Watching the relationships unfold was wonderful.

The success of the series Outsider, Looking In made me think again about the power of storytelling. Why would most of us – even a nerd like me – rather read a story than a textbook? Even to the point of spending years making them up for the hours it takes to read something called fiction? It’s as simple as that we are less lonely when we open ourselves to the world of another human being. Information alone doesn’t give us a sense of attachment or community. Which is why you have the social misfit geniuses, their mind plenty enlarged. Stories engage and expand our spirit. We don’t just get smarter. We can become more compassionate. There is a kind of osmosis that takes place between storyteller and listener. Attending one another’s burdens opens windows of insight in our heart. Textbooks offer answers but stories take us into the mystery we call life and lend us courage to live the uncertainties.

Something I admired about our guest writers this week is the way they came to be able to reject self-pity and take ownership of the ball waiting in their court. Self-pity is lonesome. When you’re unbalanced, the loudest voice you hear is your own. Not rocket science that The World vs. Poor Me dirge leaves us in a pretty sad minority.

I thought it’s time to spell out something I’ve wanted to for a long time now. Those who’ve been with me a while can finish my mantra, that I hate to take up anyone’s time. I’ve been busy writing on the questions we all ask, turning over rocks we might use for stepping stones, the songs we all have laughed or cried. But I never expected such deep healing joy and comfort from my readers, times the holistic journey became rough going this side of the blog. It is a wonder. The fragments in my head that struggle for light make themselves out to readers around the world who let me know in my bones that they get me, are in my corner. With my pen and notebook, and here, right here on this screen is one place I have found I belong. And I have felt such love and affection for you.

They will reveal the poetry and the pain of our humanity, sting your eyes with watery memories you wish were less clear, kill, steel your resolve, breathe life, take your breath away with their holy offering of beauty. They will, just words.

94 thoughts on “The Power of Story

  1. Hehe. That’s why my blog is Storyteller. Of course, it’s pictures. But, you know what they say. Where I come from they tell you to stay out of your mind and into your life because your mind is a very dangerous neighborhood. 🙂

  2. Hi Diana, you seem to be growing into a master storyteller, interviewer, connector and philosopher. Thanks for sharing your deepest self and creating a space for others to do the same revealing our common challenges, yearnings, weaknesses and beauty. Thanks and many blessings.
    P.S. I’m glad that you’ve found a tribe that really gets you. I’m still creating/ finding mine.

    • Brad, you do know you have a gift for encouraging? Not everyone does. It is beautiful how you choose to take the time to bless and speak good into lives even as you feel things lacking in yours. Takes the strength of love and a certain kind of security. I’m guessing the irretractable kind from the bomb of a mother. Incidentally, I would not – nor do I now, really – have thought myself a master all-those-things. You are generous, my friend. What I do know is I want to maximize the opportunity to speak to a special community.

      Love,
      D.

      • Wow. Thank you Diana. Your words really touched me. I appreciate you seeing what maybe I can’t in myself. I’ve often struggled with esteem and yes, I do my best to encourage others, maybe because I’ve received so little. My mother is a loving and wounded person who does the best she can, as we all do.

        You do a great job of creating opportunities to speak, listen and share in your community. Thanks!

    • B, I have to refer you to jrj1701’s comment. Not because I think you have much to learn but to affirm that while I continue to cheerlead you on in the search of your voice and growing community, you have a gift for enabling others on in their calling. You’ve been quite a team player here, and though I am pretty matter-of-fact about unfollows in blogosphere (happens aLL the time), I would feel your absence from this holistic community if you ever walked away. =) Productions are borne of a cast of writers, lead and supporting actors, the set prop team, etc, right? And chk out Beth’s reply under that commenter. We each not only have our own song but will sing it in a way no one else can.

      • Thanks for the connection D. Yes, I see value in being part of the audience too; reading, listening and learning. Actually that is more natural for me. I’ve learned to reach out, speak and share, yet wonder if my real gift was listening that I’ve moved away from as I’ve become a salesperson, blogger, writer and marketer.

        I appreciate you acknowledging my value here. I’m a little surprised since I am fairly irregular in visiting and commenting. You seem to have a talent for seeing and synthesizing the patterns in what we are doing here and in our lives. Thanks again for caring and supporting me and others here in your blogspace. blessings, Brad

      • I know you must feel or it must not be feasible to reconsider that track but you seem so trustworthy and gentle you would invite confidence. I know I would spill my guts to you if I had to pay someone to listen LOL. K, I know things will work out for you, buddy.

      • Thanks, I just don’t see me investing all the time and money to get a masters at this point. And I’m delighted that I can invoke that kind of trust/ confidence to share. Thank you.

      • Chuckling bc I was JUST thinking about you as I came up the stairs to the office. And what I was thinking was:

        you will find an everyday hero
        in the mirror.

        Have a great wk, buddy! See you on your board when I’ve dug myself out of this blog.

  3. I was so happy to see your post on my reader..We had a few “Big” events happen in our lives this last two weeks..The most significant was that my husbands sister past away at 56 in her sleep 15 days ago…which lead to many emotional doors opening and of course beautiful people stepping in to share their LOVE..she has come to me which I am grateful for..as well as being able to write about my connection to her..it helps my husband and his family to see through my eyes…Much love to you my dear as we continue to share our lives..From one heart to another Robyn

    • My deepest condolences, Robyn. I can’t help but feel something of the love going around in your corner of the universe, coming esp from you. I know you’re just being yourself, too. That is wonderful that your perspective is helping to bring about the joy of memories and healing. Hang tight, take it one day at a time. Thank you for taking a moment here in your busyness.

      Love,
      Diana

      • Thank you Diana..I appreciate your heart felt comments! I am amazed by my husband and his family..and appreciate your time to comment as well…seeing your world inspired by you as well! Heart to Heart Robyn

  4. I’m also happy when I see your posts on my reader. You give depth and humanity. I enjoy getting to know you.

  5. I have been enjoying your blog and although I am still struggling to find my voice and present the story I want to tell, you are an inspiration and a great help in that needed process. Sometimes being a part of the audience is just as important as being the playwright or the player, I have to learn some more.

    • How so very nice to hear from you (beyond the like). I shared your comment with Brad (Writing to Freedom) higher up in the thread. We are all learning here. One post at a time. I really appreciate the feedback. You don’t have to write long treatises. Can write your passion one small paragraph at a time.

      Blessings,
      HW

      • I keep remembering an English teacher so many years ago, who made me fall in love with words. I lived for her classes every day. She was shy and really too quiet to hear if you sat at the back of the room, but oh so special as she brought the classics to life.

      • My problem is that of low confidence and high expectations. Yet you are right, a journey of a thousand leagues must begin with one step at a time.

  6. Your words always bring joy to my heart and I am always happy to see your blog in my reader! You are a master storyteller and I find comfort in your words! Thank you, Diana, from my heart to yours, Phyl

    • Aw, how wonderful you welcome other voices (most notably and gratefully I add, mine) into your thoughtful journey, Andrea. A chorus certainly will achieve what a solo cannot.

      Love,
      D.

  7. The stories are the best Diana. Much as Jesus said He spoke in parables because there was no other way to describe the Kingdom of heaven, so too our emotional beings can only communicate through stories. We express oursleves through stories, we understand through stories, we grow through stories.

    I am honored to be a commenter on your blog Diana, amongst such open, strong, eloquent talent. You hav built a vibrant community in this space- with you leading the way. Your dedciation, backroom work, keen editorial eye and access to talented writers are responsible for the obvious success of this series and all the previous ones. There is also no doubt that what you are sculpting is increasing in focus and quality. It was amongst the best at the beginning, and now has grown to be superior in all ways.

    Thank you Diana for creating this forum and then nurturing it and us to be better every time.

    • You almost rob me of words, Paul. I love your commentary on stories in the human experience. And you are among those who have left me feeling most appreciated for my labor of love. (I crawled to bed after hitting publish and then went on to edit some parts of the post in my head, which saw day when I woke.) You are on some good blogs out here and the honor is mine to receive you in the dialogue. The only downer in your praise is the pressure I am now tempted to nurse. I don’t think I can top this series! *Laughing* Oh, my words please don’t fail me. Off I go, out for much of the day. Will get back to your other comment when I can.

      Love,
      Diana

    • “The stories are the best Diana.” No kidding, Paul. Your email gave me an idea for another series, though I won’t be able to put it out for a while. Just awesome, what you shared. Well, apart from the physical challenges that befell. So when are you going to start blogging – on your own board?

      • Are you trying to get rid of me? It won’t be that easy, you know. Ha! I actually am currently living on a small disability pension and am saving my pennies for a new laptop. The one I have is too old. It does not have the memory or processing power to run a blog – I tried. I’m using XP and an older browser and can’t update any further because of the same restrictions. If I get a job (still looking) the lap top will be a priority. If not, it will be a little longer but will come. Thank you for inquiring – you’ll make my head too big! Ha!

  8. You have an incredible readership here, D. It’s so important to give and receive authentic encouragement for who we are, not just what we do. I am lucky to have that on my site, and found that with your community, too. The power of words, the power of story, the power of relationship.

    • Couldn’t have said it better myself (the part after your first line). =) Thank you, Susan. I am so glad your experience on this side of the blog was so rich. Your story opened doors, built bridges, and I am grateful we share in each other’s journey.

      Love!
      D.

  9. Diana, I believe you get what you give and you give much so thank you. Nice to know that you too are fed by your generous offerings. Thank you also for being a champion for other’s voices. And for being so willing to share your community with its different members.

    • You know from your own blog that we wouldn’t be here without active supporters and those who take the time to listen, Diahann. You have gone beyond that to really see. I really like that, I must say: champion of other voices. Part selfishness to it if I may take up such an honor of a title. I get to learn so much hosting and encouraging discussions. As I’ve said in the past, I feel so rich thanks to all my friends. Thank you for another very gracious comment, D.

  10. I love your differentiation between a text book and a story. Books take us in to another place, another time, a situation we can relate to or just relax in. 🙂

  11. At a fundamental level, it seems that stories set us free: to imagine a different self and world. I like the way in which you describe their invitation into the mystery of life. Indeed!

  12. I really like how you say we become more compassionate. It is true, because we absorb the stories, internalize and learn from them and perhaps try to determine how we would react to such situations. Reading does this…and so does writing. When you write, you do both a service to yourself ~ but also to all of us who are able to absorb your stories, meanings and learn about compassion and life from a valuable source. To thrive, we need to be free of fear/negative emotions, and I believe good stories (great stories) help us find this freedom.

      • You have great insight, as in my experience, this is directly related to the simplicity of a small town (and by simplicity, I do not mean less educated ~ although to be honest my schooling system in a small town was inferior to big cities), but rather the simplicity of respecting others because they actually deserve respect because you see them working hard each day, being polite and see that finding happiness is measured in a smile and not the size of your wallet. 🙂

        Being compassionate, empathizing with others is not easy (and there are definitely times I fail with this…business tries to rid a mind of these traits), but since really believing and living my life in this way the best I can, there is a certain freedom. I am happy (or I know what it takes to be happy), and generally it all leads to just ‘being good’. Cheers!

  13. Pingback: The Power of Story | 7th Beat Wave

  14. Actually, I often find I do like a textbook — or at least a nonfictional history — more than a story. I believe it’s due to the wrinkles of reality having this curious beauty that comes from cutting away what’s not relevant to the main narrative than from putting together the things that will make the narrative most interesting, if that makes sense.

  15. I told a story today… well, it was true and memorable for me, but maybe not the best read there ever was. I wrote from the heart with little thought of the medium–just plain flat words and sentences.

  16. Couldn’t sleep. Spent several hours getting lost in your Blog. You are so eloquent in epeach writing. Thanks for letting me hang out here during the middle of the night : )

  17. You have done for me what I have been unable to do…explain why I write, why I share, and why I sometimes create stories that show people being human. I want to connect.

    • Good to know. =) You’re clearly not alone in the desire to connect. Even before the Web exploded it was human nature. I think the virtual world took on the life it did beCAuSe it’s our social and emotional nature to seek community and connections. I was, actually, thinking back on this post as I wrote. It discusses why we read, taking writers along the implication of why we then should write:

      https://holisticwayfarer.com/2013/08/05/the-writing-process-ii-why-we-read-part-4/

      No obligation to respond. Just thought it might interest.
      I appreciate the follow. Welcome to this wonderful community of thinkers. =)

      Diana

  18. Really beautiful and very inspiring thoughts. Yes, Story telling is the best form of communication to establish a connection with any generation and it has been the practice for generations, even for the digital natives of today’s generation…reading a good story is a defining moment. It triggers the imagination, stimulates the expression for creating an inspiration for a lasting impression.

    • A treat hearing from you (beyond the quiet like). =) Your feedback actually comes – like a balm – in a difficult moment where I was struggling to gain some equilibrium and peace. It such an honor to have you all here, leave me such powerful encouragement. I can’t help but feel not only less and less alone but fuller and fuller with each comment that comes in. Thanks so very much.

      Diana

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