To be human is to be storied.
We’re always living out a story of one kind or another. And we mostly have no idea the extent to which we inherited the stories we’re living from our culture and from our family.
Our stories tell us who we are, and what’s possible for us.
Sometimes – often – the stories we’re living are way out of date, or way too small for us. They fail to account for our lives. They hide possibilities to step forward and contribute. They mislead us. They’re the stories others handed us, rather than those we could tell about ourselves.
And here’s the thing: whatever story you’re used to living, there are almost certainly hundreds of other stories that could account for who you are and what you’re up to more accurately and expansively. Stories that bring you to life. Stories that evoke courage and presence, kindness and discipline, compassion and wisdom.
Can you tell what story you’re living, and what size world it produces? Does it increase or reduce your suffering? The suffering of others? Does it have you hold back, or come forward with your most whole-hearted contribution?
And are you willing to be a story-hunter, finding other ways of accounting for your life that would address these questions?
For a wonderful, precise and illuminating account of the storied world of human beings, you could read The World Is Made of Stories by David Loy. It’s filled with examples, powerful quotes and language sharp enough to show us the mostly invisible world of stories we’re all swimming in.