Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Telling Life: Specialize in the impossible

What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible.
- Theodore Roethke

This is what storytellers do every day. We reinforce the idea that the impossible isn't so far fetched after all. Whether we tell fairy tales and myths, redolent with wonder and magic, or personal stories of loss and triumph, we demonstrate over and over again that human experience is universal and that we can connect with one another regardless of whatever boundaries seems to exist.

I specialize in the impossible. So do you.

  • When I create a new story I put together words and ideas in new ways. Sure, every story has already been told, but not the way I tell it. And not the way you would tell it. Storytelling is a continuous act of creation and recreation.
  • When I tell stories you create your own world. What I say is a vessel, a ship taking you into your own imagination, hopes, dreams, fears and adventures. I am not telling one story but a myriad of stories, one for each and every listener, all in one voice.
  • When I listen to your story sound waves travel through the very air and impact my timpanic membrane. I can actually make sense of those vibrations and turn them into meaning. 
  • What's more, listening to a story creates an alignment in neural activity that is the next best thing to telepathy. When we listen to each other our brains look alike. We understand and experience more deeply than with any other form of communication.
  • When I teach and coach I help you find your own voice, your own understanding of your story, you have a chance to listen to yourself. In a world full of noise and distraction, it's nothing short of miraculous when we have a chance to listen to ourselves.
  • On a more personal level, I am still standing after a devastating loss. What's more, I am learning to thrive again, to love again, to live again. When I talk about these experiences I remind people that love and loss are inextricably bound and, if we are lucky, we love deeply enough that we will grieve.
    I'm creating performance pieces about these experiences. I write about them. I am embracing the impossibility of life after death. My years of telling stories of love and death have helped me remember, over and over again, that while I will never be the same, I will be. It is not impossible. Stories save lives. They have certainly saved mine.
Embrace the impossible. Let it transform you. Live the #tellinglife. I'd love to know how it changes you.

(c)2015 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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