How Stories Are Told Around the World

Stories are how we make meaning of the past. We tell stories to share this meaning in the present and inspire action and thinking for the future. This week’s blog question is: How do you keep the past alive in your life? I encourage you to consider submitting your story, which might be as short as a description of some small ritual or as long as … well, as long as you like.

In the meantime, it’s important to remember that there are many ways to tell a story. The oral tradition of storytelling is the most obvious, but every artistic medium offers itself to the telling of a story: dance, visual art, music, crafts, and more.

TED is an organization that is devoted to sharing ideas that are worth spreading. Check out the article Amy S. Choi wrote for them, titled How Stories Are Told Around the World, about just that. See if it doesn’t inspire you to consider how you might tell your story?



Track 1: Hello & Goodbye: Keeping the Past Alive

The opening song on this album, Dreams & Ghosts, is a tune called Hello & Goodbye. On the first listen, it’s a simple story about someone walking around their neighborhood. But listen closely – this is a song about living in the past.

There are many ways in which living in the past is not necessarily a good thing, as you might imagine the narrator of the song feels when he makes his discovery. However, keeping the past alive in our present lives can also be in service of staying connected to a person, a place, or an experience that is no longer in our lives. In fact, as humans, it is in our nature to make meaning of our experiences. These meanings all together make up our memory, or what we remember.

Individual and collective memories interact with each other, so that individual experiences contribute to a sense of a collective’s history, and likewise, this history contributes to the learning experiences of new individuals. This process of remembering our way into the future is a basic mechanism of human survival. Without making meaning of the past, we have no direction forward, we learn nothing and we know nothing. Being meaning-makers is what makes us human.

Ok, one more step. Stay with me. How do we make meaning in a way no other species does? We tell stories. What we remember and how we understand the past can determine most any choice we make, from what to order at our favorite brunch spot this week to deciding what career we want to pursue (or not); from the smallest to the greatest of goals and aims.

Each song on this album offers its audience – that’s you! – a certain invitation, a question, an opportunity to pause and think about your own stories and experiences. With Hello & Goodbye, I invite you to ask yourself: How do you keep the past alive in your life? What are the memories you keep with you in some tangible – or intangible – way through each day? The people, the places, the meaningful experiences? What rituals – intentional or not – have emerged in your life in honor of the past?

You’re welcome to share your story and experience – my ears and heart are always open to a good story! You may also want to check out posts related to the category Hello & Goodbye: Keeping the Past Alive and/or other Invitations and Writing Exercises offered by the songs of this album.