So many of my greatest revelations come to me when I’m on a trail. I think it’s the combination of physical movement (heyyyy, endorphins) and nature that seems to be the perfect cocktail for gaining personal insight. Whether I’m alone or with someone, I almost always come back from a run with some new insight gained.
The past weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to visit my sister in Colorado. Running with her has been instrumental in how I’ve worked through things the last 18 months or so, she knows when to just listen, when to comment or offer advice or support, and when to pull off the trail and let me double on my knees so I can sob as I work through something.
We are both currently working through graduate studies, and, while different programs and fields, it is always amazing to learn the parallels in the two fields because both of them deal so strongly with humans. With human behavior, human attitudes, human habituation…
We were discussing the power of storytelling and how it is one of the most enduring and profound shared experiences that humans have – across generations, across cultures, across ages and genders, humans share their stories in writing and orally.
Storytelling is powerful and empowering. It allows us to realize we are not alone. It allows us to work through our own experiences and make sense of what they mean to us and how they influence our view of ourselves and of the world. It allows us to broaden our worldview, to open our minds and our hearts.
The very process of talking about what we have experienced-whether through writing or speaking-can have an incredibly cathartic effect. The experience of saying things aloud (or in writing) can feel like letting go – as if something heavy you’ve been carrying can finally be set on the table. The process can also allow us to realize we are all connected, we all have scars and carry stories, some that we may be too afraid to share and say aloud.
I am absolutely blown away by the response I have received since I began writing again here in this little space of mine. Friends, many from life times ago, have come forward to me privately to share incredible stories of loss, grief, pain, betrayal, to share stories of overcoming. I am blown away by the willingness of people to share with me their deeply personal stories in response to my own – and I thank you.
It is all of you, in your own stories, your own ability to persevere and to overcome, to so bravely share your own stories with me, to push your strength past what you thought were your outer limits, that have inspired me to add a new page – a page where, if you want, you can share YOUR story.
My thought is this – if you would like to share a story about any type of overcoming, please feel free to email it to me (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I will add it to the sharing page. It can be completely anonymous (I will help remove any and all identifiers, if you want), or, conversely, if you are a writer and have published a book or have your own website and would like to share your work, I would be happy to link to your work/site. Or maybe you want to identify with just a first name or initial, and have been wanting to write or share a story, but didn’t want to start a whole blog. I want to provide a platform for YOU to share YOUR story. It can be about anything you want – my only request is this: I would like it to be about personal struggle and overcoming (or maybe you’re still in personal struggle and want to discuss what it is you are experiencing right now – you want to discuss the seemingly small victories that are, in reality, anything but small) and, please, please do not write in a way that is cruel to someone else or has the capacity to be hurtful to someone. I want this to be a safe, judgement free zone of collaboration, of empowering one another through storytelling, and I want it to be a positive space. Other than that, it can be about anything – from signing up for and finishing your first 5k (or maybe not finishing it!) to dealing with the loss of a loved one. This is not something I will be modifying or mediating, rather it is a page to have a collection of stories. The stories that make us human. The stories that help define our identity and our view of the world. The stories that make us realize we are not alone.
We are all in this together, this experience of life, and we can gain an extraordinary amount when we come together – to share in our suffering, to celebrate in our overcoming, to realize we are not alone. There might be nothing more frightening in this world than wondering if we are alone. When we realize we have shared experiences, shared emotions, it can be empowering in a way we never previously imagined. You are not alone. We are all in this together.