Before the COVID-19 pandemic I had a root canal. Funny how I would happily trade COVID-19 for a root canal right now. Perspective is so wise.
During the procedure, my endodontist was telling his dental assistant a story about the time he went to a concert of the musician whose song was playing on the office Sonos system. I got so lost in his story I forgot I was having a root canal.
Wouldn’t you love to get lost in someone’s story right now and forget about this pandemic for a moment? That’s what story does – it allows us to get lost in something when we would rather be somewhere else. We forget we are enduring even the slightest bit of pain or worry because we can’t wait to see where the story takes us next. That is why story is our superpower. As a terrified flyer I always joke that if pilots would just tell us a story at 30,000 feet I could get over my fear of flying.
We need story right now. We don’t have answers to anything which raises our level of fear.
One way to cut fear’s access off from entering our mind is to stay in our purpose. Our purpose is to tell our story so pull out your superpower and start feeling your fear begin to ease.
We all have a story. We also all have an audience. Yours is probably standing in front of you right now. As hard as this shelter in place time is, it’s a time we will never get back. It’s a time to connect like we’ve never connected before. So go find your old photos, your family videos, your memorabilia boxes and share your stories. Sit down at your table and get lost in your story and the stories of the people you love.
Take this time to write your story. It doesn’t have to be a book, a blog post or even shared – it just needs to be written. Your story is a gift to yourself and to your family. When we hear a story we can relate to, our levels of oxytocin increase, which is why oxytocin is often referred to as the “feel good” hormone. We all want to feel good right now and stories allow us to feel more compassion, have more trust, and encourage empathy. In other words, our stories make us more human.
In my quest to be more human, I wrote my book SPEAK, because stories make us happier humans. Now in this uncertain time, I want to write more. I wrote a poem, I wrote some standup, I wrote this blog post. Writing heals us and writing our story has staying power that no amount of ice cream, Netflix, or glasses of wine could ever fill. Trust me, I’ve tried.
Lately it feels like the only stories we make time for are Instagram stories, and while I love a good IG story, they are fleeting and don’t last. Speaking and writing our story lasts. Story allows for true connection and is the remedy for healing pain and reducing fear. Each and every one of us has a story and we all have the power to speak our story and change it if we want to.
Remember that feeling you had in kindergarten or grade school when your teacher asked your class to gather on the rug for a story? That’s the kind of comfort I’m talking about.
So, as you shelter in place alone or with your loved ones, take comfort in your story. Write it, speak it and remind yourself and the people you love of everything you are and everything you have accomplished, experienced, learned, cherished, and hope to be.
It doesn’t matter the size of your audience, it matters that an audience has gathered to listen to you. Reward your audience by being who you are. Speak! Love your story. Your audience is waiting.