What Is The Story You Have To Tell?

You live out the story you tell.  Tell a story that inspires others that shows how you overcame a challenge in your life. 


Have you ever been in the presence of someone who is so clear that it’s feels different but you can’t figure out what it is? I believe it’s someone who has awakened and shines like a rare jewel.

“Be the illuminator. You can only shed the light when you’ve found it.” – Cheryl Strayed Click To Tweet

Last March, I participated in a five-day writing retreat in Maui with Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild.

The only way I can describe the experience is to say that I believe that we were in the presence of a woman who has used writing to heal and in the process has awakened.

Writers use narrative to heal and be heard.

Cheryl taught us that it’s important to write about our wounds. She told us to write into that place and trust the heat.

“When you’re making art, you’re making sense of yourself. Click To Tweet

You can’t write a book and not be changed by it,” said Cheryl.

“The root of it is not about you — it’s the human condition we’re all grappling with. You want to use a raw Universal voice. This is consciousness.”

She said that art has to transcend the self and go beyond the particular story. This is why Shakespeare’s writing is still relevant today.

The story you have to tell comes from your wounds, fears, and obsessions.

All literature is born from that. Write about what you think you can’t bear and what was revealed to you by the experience.

The second day of the retreat, Cheryl said she felt like we were in church.

It felt as if we were all sharing a sacred and spiritual experience. It felt deeply moving and unlike any other retreat I’ve attended.

This was the day our writing prompts all centered around revelations.

I learned that the revelatory moments in life are the key to writing. They are the experiences when you see something new and dramatic that you might not have seen before. These are the lessons you are to learn in this lifetime.

I believe our task in this lifetime is to awaken and learn from every single challenge and heart break. To transcend those experiences. This is how I live my life.

Cheryl encouraged us to write into our defining moments – the turning points –when we became a different person because of what happened and what we learned.

Your life is a story.

Each of us has a story that we have to tell.

Some people get stuck in negative stories. You live out the stories you tell. It’s said that we are the sum of our total of the top 10 defining moments in our life.

Each of us has had defining losses where we’ve felt hurt, wronged, not seen, heard or loved. This is where the heat is and it’s important to write into that heat and not run from it.

Cheryl StrayedUse narrative to heal yourself.

Even writing in a private journal is a way to understand and make sense of what was revealed to you by an experience.

Putting your story on paper is healing because it allows you to make sense of it. If you write into your vulnerable times and share it in a way that shows us what you’ve learned, people can see themselves in your story, and it will resonate with them.

I’m not suggesting that air your dirty laundry in public. There’s a difference between literary writing and writing as catharsis.

“If you want to write transformative work from self to the world, it has to do with the consciousness of how your story is not really about you. Learn how to speak with the most intimate raw voice that ends up being a Universal voice.” Cheryl Strayed

If you want to write a book, these tips will help you:

  • Write from your most intimate raw voice that will end up being a Universal voice.
  • Write everything you have to write – get it down on paper. Then you go back and put in structure. The writing process is about making compost then you sift through it to find the key themes – the through line.
  • Ask yourself, am I helping the public by putting this in?
  • Pay attention to the world and your responses to it.
  • Notice the small details.
  • Build a bridge between your writing and the world.
  • You have to let go of trying to impress people. Instead write to engage them.

When you’re writing to share with others – perhaps on your blog or in your book or products, always ask yourself, “what is my purpose in sharing this with people. Why would they care?”

Write everything down and then go back and look at what that experience revealed to you.

The revelations are what tap into the Universal voice. What was revealed to you by an experience you had?

Consciousness on the page is having the courage to write about how you bear what feels unbearable. Your write from your wiser self and share your truth. Find the courage to be who you are and share your insights with us. That’s what we want from you.

Share with us what was revealed to you by the broken heart, the loss you didn’t feel you could bear or that time you felt like you were dying inside. What did you learn? This is the story you have to tell.

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