Over the past couple of weeks, I've practiced my TEDx talk with various groups. In one version of the talk I said, "I'm going to talk about the power of forgiveness and I'm going to do that through my own story." Someone suggested I avoid using the word "story" and instead use the word "experience." While this person didn't explicitly say that "story" sounds like a contrived narrative, that was the impression I got. So I kept practicing my talk and replaced "story" with "experience." A few weekends ago I had the honor of hearing Deena Metzger talk about the power of Story at a conference I attended. She got me thinking.
In my TEDx talk, I AM telling my story. It is not contrived or made up. I think the big difference between 'experience' and 'story' is that when we talk about our experience we are "telling." When we share our story we are "showing." The golden rule in writing is to show more and tell less. I am finding that is true with public speaking as well.
But even deeper than the showing vs. telling idea is that when I share my story, I am sharing not only what happened to me but what I learned from what happened. Like any good tale, there is a moral that emerges, guiding the reader/listener along, and we find ourselves, the storyteller and those listening, connecting to the bigger Story. By that I mean the Story that is happening all around us, all the time, the Story of who we are and why we're here. This is the archetypal Story, the divine Story, the one Story. Each of our own stories tie us into that one Story into which we are all woven.
So, thought I've scratched that whole line from my TEDx talk, I'm glad my friend made the suggestion. I realize that this is why I write, this is why I love to speak. Writing and speaking from my own story connects me to the one Story, to everyone else's story.
I'm curious . . . how do you find connection to the bigger Story?