Wednesday, May 8, 2013

G is for... gratitude

Our storytelling alphabet continues.

Thus far we have:
A is for about
B is for beginnings
C is for character
D is for death
E is for ethics and endings
F is for fun.

Today is about gratitude.

We are so lucky to do this work. No matter the size of your audience, if you have one person who really wants to hear you, you're far luckier than many, many people. No matter what critique you get if you get up and tell again, we are lucky and strong and should be grateful for the opportunity. No matter if you fail, make a mistake, struggle with jealousy or insecurity or any of the other demons that haunt us, every time we stand on a stage, we are so lucky that we can step beyond our own limitations.

We are so lucky to hear these stories. Every time we listen to a story we are being shown into someone else's world in a deep and intimate way. Every time we listen deeply to a storyteller we are giving them the gift of doing the work they love. Every time we are kind to a beginning storyteller or are moved by an accomplished one, we are opening ourselves up to awe, to connecting with someone else, to stopping the tumult for just a little while.

All of this is no accident. By our own hard work, talent and the whim of the universe, we are able to stand up and tell stories in front of interested audiences, be they kids, festival crowds, business people or conference attendees.

I once told my apprentice, just before her first big gig, to love her audience. We went to the balcony and looked down at everyone and I urged her to open her heart, to love each listener, to be grateful to them for their attendance. I do this every time I perform. I look at my listeners, I love them silently and I thank them out loud. It helps me be a better storyteller and more responsive to my audience.

Be grateful. Be grateful for every performing opportunity, for every audience member, for every time you hear a story even if you're heard it a million times already. When we are grateful we expand the possibilites for storytelling. Our gratitude will be obvious to the world.

(c)2013 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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