Years ago, when I was an elementary school teacher, my kids favorite subject (and mine, too) was Show and Tell.
Do you remember Show and Tell? To be given an opportunity to take center stage and share a story about something you treasured, whether it was a beloved stuffed animal, a picture of your grandmother, or maybe even a pet tarantula (that was one I’ll never forget!) was so much fun!
The object wasn’t important, it was all about the story.
Sharing stories gives children (and adults) a feeling of connection to one another.
You might think you are the only person in the entire world that feels a certain way or that has been through a particular experience. Yet when you open up and share your story, someone might hear it and say, “Me, too.” Every story shared is a chance to make someone feel less alone.
When I was a teenager, I was going through a very traumatic period in my life.
I felt alone and depressed. I even considered suicide. One day I heard a story (in the form of a song by James Taylor) that resonated with me on such a deep level and made me feel like I was not alone in my struggles. Someone got me. His story comforted me and gave me hope.
Because of that deep connection through his words, I was empowered to open my journal and write about everything that I was going through. By writing the words and then subsequently sharing my story with my mother, I was able to forge a path ahead and get the help I needed to heal.
Today, I belong to a women’s group called Born To Rise in Newport, Rhode Island.
We host quarterly storytelling events at a restaurant that has a room for large gatherings. We ask a handful of women each time to share a story based on a theme, and sometimes I work with the women ahead of the event to help them piece together the story they want to share. We have drinks and appetizers and basically stage a grownup “Show and Tell,” though the show is not a loved object, but rather a piece of each woman’s heart.
Regardless of who the speakers are, what the theme is, or if the appetizers are any good, it’s always a beautiful night filled with laughter, tears, and deep connection.
Sharing personal stories empowers and transforms us. We find compassion as we begin to understand others and what their lives are all about.
Why bother to share your story? As the poet Sean Thomas Dougherty says so eloquently:
Because there is someone out there with a wound in the exact shape of your words.
Rebecca Lyn Gold is an author, editor and the founder of YogicWriting.com, a practice that utilizes the philosophies and disciplines of yoga, meditation and journaling for writers of all levels to heal, reveal and leave a legacy through writing life stories.
She is the author of That’s Why We’re Here: Stories from Passionate James Taylor Fans, Till There Was You: An Adoption Expectancy Journal, A Wizard Called Woz: a Biography of Stephen Wozniak, and How To Write It Funny with author/humorist Amy Koko.
From the early 1970s when Rebecca first heard the song “Fire And Rain,” James Taylor has been a source of inspiration and healing throughout her life.
Rebecca lives in Rhode Island with her husband, Osvaldo. They have three children, four grandchildren, and one sweet puppy, Brownie.