You have experienced certain things in life that only you’ve seen and heard. These experiences could very well be common for the universal, but what makes your story unique are your “emotional walking miles” – or your emotional perspective. This is why it is so important to get clear on the emotions that drive your Story. Why is it so important for you to tell this Story at this point in time?
Many people are eager to get started with sharing their stories. But they are often overwhelmed. Where do they begin? Obviously, you can’t tell all your unique stories all at once, so you have to be selective. You need to start by truly getting clear on what drives the emotional part of your Story. This will also allow you to be your most creative, passionate and creative self.
Tip #1: Listening to your heart will give you access to all the Voices that weave your Story in the most passionate and authentic way possible. Your greatest Story has been living inside of you for a long period of time. Take the time now to discover that Story.
Free-flow exercise: Honoring the Emotional Drive of Your Story
Gathering story material is not a “one time deal.” This exercise is best done over the course of several dialogues, observations and meditations, where you begin to gather all the “voices” of your Story. Each time you do this exercise, you’ll also get deeper and clearer.
Take a few minutes to get grounded, quiet and centered. Find a place where you can just “be” for a few moments without distractions. Breathe in and out allowing the breath to fill you completely.
With each breath, begin to open that space in your heart that longs for creative expression. Imagine yourself expressing your Story for the sake of self-expression in front of a group of people who have specifically come to hear you speak because you have an important message to share. They are so happy to be there and hear you. When you become aware, you notice that they are listening attentively with their hearts and souls. At this moment, you are not sharing your Story for money. Not for fame. But for the joy and emotional fulfillment of self-expression. In this space, allow yourself and your body to get even quieter.
Magical things will emerge when you take the time to get grounded and centered. Keep breathing at a steady and comfortable pace until your mind and body are relaxed.
When you’re ready, slowly open your eyes, take a pen and reflect on the following questions in the space provided. Feel free to use more paper if necessary.
- Why is it so important for me to tell my Story at this point in time?
- How will my Story help and heal and serve others?
- Recognize that all stories have a universal healing mechanism by the very virtue of their Story power.
- What parts of the story are emerging? Can I see the images or scenes?
- Are there any interactions?
- Are there any general universal themes that are popping up?
- What voices am I hearing?
- What emotions are surfacing?
- What time and place am I being transported to?
- Who do I see?
- What am I doing? How am I acting or reacting?
- Where am I?
Observation makes powerful storytelling. There are two main purposes for observing. First, you’ll want to share your emotional interpretation of that “scene.” Look for opportunities to enrich your storytelling by finding ways to support your emotional interpretation of the experience.
Notice the difference in the two levels of observations as I share in my memoir, Silence: What the Israel Defense Forces Taught Me about Faith, Empowerment, Courage and Love
Observation without emotional interpretation
It was my first task as a new immigrant who would soon-be-inducted in the Israeli army: to cover branches of avocado trees with aluminum foil.
Observation with emotional interpretation
I didn’t know what would be more challenging for me as a new immigrant: working in the avocado fields under the blazing sun, or being able to understand any Hebrew as a way to fit in with my new surroundings.
The trick here is to insert words like “I felt,” “I knew,” “I wondered…” “I thought” – all clues that give your target audience an idea of how you are feeling. Don’t overdo it though. By doing this, you’ll give your target audience a richer emotional connection to what you have seen and experienced. It is through observation that you pick up on colors, textures, smells, sounds, and interactions. You become skillful at describing them in your mind’s eyes.
Over to you: Keep an observation journal where you record snippets or details of a story scene and if possible, tie the emotional connection with each scene or memory. Keep the observation and emotional interpretation as balanced as possible.
- Describe the scene as vividly as possible. SHOW don’t tell. What do you see, smell, feel?
- Your emotional interpretation: What is it about this scene that makes you feel the way you do? What feelings do you associate with this scene or memory?
- How will your emotional interpretation help tie your story all together?
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