As I wrote in last month’s eNote and have spoken about on Sundays, the theme of the 2019 Unity People’s Convention was One Humanity, Many Stories. I know the power of story. At the convention though, I was reminded that stories change us individually, change cultures, and ultimately change the world.
Beginning in 2003, for over a decade I spent a significant amount of time in Uganda. During that time, I saw many cultural changes in the area of the country around Kampala, a major city. One was in dress. Boys and men traditionally wore white shirts and black pants. Girls and women always wore traditional Ugandan dress. By 2013, many in both genders wore American style clothing. Boys began wearing baggy pants and tee shirts, and adolescent girls bared their shoulders and midriffs. This change in dress came as a result of television and the stories told through that media. Stories changed a culture.
Each of us is changed by the stories we see on TV, read, or hear. Some enlighten us and offer the opportunity to grow. Others persuade us to take on what someone else believes is best for us—make us clones instead of supporting individuality. We must read and listen to stories discriminatively and take only those parts that enhance our own uniqueness and lead us toward becoming more of our true self. It doesn’t matter the genre, when read or listened to consciously, we know what will support us and move us into a new story uniquely ours.
Sharing our story lets others know who we are. As we listen to our own story, we begin to hear the intention behind the words. Do we want another to know our deepest self? Are we seeking sympathy? Are we wallowing in victimhood or rising to the best of who we are?
Mandy Aftel, American perfumer and author, says, “As you begin to pay attention to your own stories and what they say about you, you will enter into the exciting process of becoming, as you should be, the author of your own life, the creator of your own possibilities.”
Let’s learn to tell our stories authentically. Let us tell a story that moves us into a new realm, a creator of our own possibilities. Let us tell our story with creativity and honesty. Let’s let our stories inspire others to risk a new story.
I encourage you to join with me as I write the next chapter of my life. I love and support you as you author your next story.