Meditations on Story


When you tell your story, you tell your meaning.

This is more than a pithy assertion. We deeply crave meaning in our lives, and will accept undesirable conditions if there is meaning in the moment. Ask anyone who has suffered through climbing Everest, and the answer will be about meaning. And, if we have desirable conditions, but no meaning, our life is hollow.

As I discuss below, we create meaning through story. What is your story; what is your meaning?

March 12, 2019.

We create meaning by the stories we tell. Without a story to shape a narrative from a set of facts, the events of our lives are just one fact after another. But our nature is to find patterns in what seems random, to shape a narrative from those patterns, and then find a meaning within the narrative.

Amazingly, two different stories can be told from the same set of facts (actually, it is more than two). Both are true. But the story that resonates is the story that reveals a transcendent truth about ourselves.

Most people think they don’t have a good story to tell. This is not so. Everyone has a great story to tell. The trouble is just that most people do not understand the archetypes and narrative arcs that resonate with all of us. But when we hear a story told with those archetypes and narrative arcs, we stop, listen, and are transported.

I think we have all had the experience of listening to someone describe an amazing experience in a boring way, and another describe an ordinary experience is an exciting way. The difference is the first person does not know how to tell a story, but the second does.

You have something to share and people want to hear what you have to share, but you need to tell them this in the form of a story, and the form of that story must be one that resonates.

I understand the essential story forms that have been with us since our preliterate times, the stories that were spoken and survived and later were written down and reprinted and revived in different settings with different characters. We are telling the same story over and over again, and if we tell it right, it feels familiar and completely original.

If you are trying to tell your story, but it doesn’t yet seem to transport your listeners, I can help.

Christopher P. Kriesen

July 5, 2017

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