Tell Your Story
I spent the last few days in The Low Country USA.
The coastal region of the southeastern United states is famous for moss-covered Oak trees, antebellum architecture that withstood General Sherman's firestorm, and some of the nation’s best and richest cuisine.
But if pop culture had a say, the most famous spot in the Low Country lies in the heart of Savannah, Georgia, where Forrest Gump sat and told his story.
I watched the movie Forrest Gump last week and here I was, spellbound, at a mildly retarded man’s highly fictional account of his accidental good fortune.
Why do we continue to love that movie?
Because we need STORY in our lives.
Story lifts us out of the swamp by connecting the fragments, and igniting the embers of childhood fantasy.
But there’s one thing even more powerful than a good story. And that is YOUR STORY.
I know what you must be thinking:
“Why would anyone want to hear my story?”
“I don’t want to bore you to death.”
“I got nothin’ good to share.”
I got news for ya. Your story is a freakin' masterpiece.
As Schoepenhauer said, “When you are into your life, it's a mess, just one surprise after another. Then later, you see, it was perfect."
On Friday, I got a sweet sense of Schopenhauer...
I sat down right where Forrest Gump sat, and just like Forrest, I shared some chocolate...at the opening of the brand new Savannah Power Yoga.
And in that quiet park in historic Savannah, I told my story, quietly, silently, proudly.
I told it to the canopy of moss-covered branches.
I told it to the surrounding statues honoring America's war heroes
I told it to the doubter and the hater who haunts my soul, but does not define my soul.
I told it not to, but FOR my wife, whose loyalty and strength has been a been a pillar on my meandering road dotted with successes and failures, small fortunes and rough months, moments in the spotlight and moments in the deafening shadow of mediocrity.
I sat there making sure both of my feet remained firmly rooted on the ground, looking up at those gorgeous trees, and I went back through it all:
My early childhood spent peppering my parents with questions...
...reliving sicknesses and surgeries...
...feeling those Little League triumphs and middle school sorrows...
...love and marriage, death and divorce...
...being fit...and being fat...
...yoga classes with 1,000 people and yoga classes with 1 person...
...months and years in love, and months and years in the pain chamber.
It’s amazing how you can dance and crawl, jog and scadaddle through a 40 year landscape in 60 odd minutes.
Here’s what I realized:
Your story isn’t a story until you tell it to someone.
Before that, it’s a hodge-podge of madness, pounding at the sides of your skull, begging to be liberated, shared, glorified!
So here’s a way to celebrate today:
Tell your story. Tell it beautifully. Tell it with pride.
Trust me, look back, all the way back, and you will see details, “coincidences,” pieces of your life that fit together like distant continents long adrift and suddenly reunited.
Telling your story will heal you in ways that no doctor, therapist, or yoga teacher can.
You will laugh hard, and cry harder.
You will uproot disease and shake loose your demons that have been locked inside for all these years.
Tell your story. Tell it to the trees. Tell it to your best friend. Tell it to your parents, your journal, your partner, your kids.
Tell it to me! I want to hear your story.
Just start writing, speaking, singing. Get it out of you.
Because it won’t be long before you bust through those confining braces on your legs, and your soul, and your heart...
...and you too will hear those words carrying you forward...
RUN FORREST RUN!