finding a more authentic, playful life --- finding your story

Monday, May 6, 2013

Power of Truth... or Karen and the Frog

I recently taught a writing retreat. It was called "Finding Your Voice, Writing Your Story". I had no idea what to expect. Would people have stories? Be willing to find them? Be open to share them? Who knew!

There involves a great deal of bravery in story telling. You're telling your story! Sometimes that ain't easy. When was the last time you bared your soul to a group of virtual strangers, let alone a loved one?  But I believe there is value in this because:

a. maybe it's a good story that needs to be shared widely
b. maybe it helps others if you speak your truth
c. maybe it helps you to heal/recover/start again

That's been my experience in storytelling. I have written 2 plays and 2 books all based on my life. Yup! I write allllll about my life: the good, the bad and the ugly. Why? Because I can't imagine processing some of the events in my life without it. And I think there's power in a story well-told.

Mexican poet and author Rosario Castellanos said, “Writing has been a way of explaining to myself the things I do not understand” Can I hear a what-what? Agreed, Rosario. Agreed!

A woman in my retreat lost her daughter, Karen, about thirty years ago and to this day has yet to truly speak about it with her family, including her other living daughter. It seems they have all buried it under the proverbial family rug --- too painful, even after all these years. So in she comes in to my retreat and drops this story bomb. She then followed it up by saying that said she had no intention of writing about it. Hint, hint. But less than 36 hours later, she wrote a story about a frog who hung out in a garden with a beautiful girl named Karen. Bingo. She opened the vault. She started to write about her daughter. Brought me and our whole group to tears. More stories came. She was on a roll. By the end of the session, she was considering sharing her writing with her other daughter in hopes of opening up a conversation about their shared loss all those years ago. She told me the retreat changed her life.

This is the power of brave storytelling --- the power of writing your story and speaking your truth.

Everyone has a story. What's your story?


  1. I love this - the retreat changed my life as well. I was in a bad space today, and set out to write for ten minutes. An hour later, my emotional treading water had touched solid ground and I was back on solid ground. Amazing.

  2. Amazing indeed Jackie. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing and thanks for SUCH bravery in the workshop! I feel so grateful for you and the leaps you took. Keep leaping. :)