Updated: Mar 24, 2021
Words. They’re the most powerful things on earth.
Everything you know came to you via words. Every ‘truth’ is a story someone told you. A story you believed and then ran with. Everything that has ever transitioned from an abstract idea to something concrete needed a story to get there.
Stories are all that exist between us.
But sometimes we forget to listen. Sometimes others refuse to listen.
So we shout louder and we have tantrums; we take drastic measures to be heard. And all the while we become less inclined to listen, less likely to get heard. We become more disconnected from ourselves and from those around us.
But what happens if we all just stay at the table?
What happens if you tell your story…and I tell mine? What happens if we both really listen to one another?
That’s when we make an actual connection.
That’s when I stop turning you into “other”, when I can focus on our similarities rather than our differences, when the idea of causing you harm becomes abhorrent, unthinkable.
Because when we connect—really connect—we care differently. We begin to care deeply. That’s true whether that connection is with our loved ones, strangers, even nature.
That's how it happens—when we connect, we care. When we care, we take better care.
And it all happens through our words and our stories. It can only happen through stories. Through listening to those stories; through staying at the table and being responsible. Through holding ourselves accountable. The more we’re able to do that, the more we’ll forge those connections that we inherently—and so desperately—need.
The more we connect, the more we’ll care. And when we care more, we’ll take better care of ourselves, of other people, of the world around us. The need to do so has gone beyond critical. We all know it. We all have a responsibility to do something about it, to create the kind of world we want to live in and the one we want to leave to our children.
On Inauguration Day in the US, when Amanda Gorman took to the podium, we saw, we heard, we felt the power of words, the unadulterated power of choosing a better story.
Tell me...what stories are you telling yourself about other people? About life? About yourself? Have you thought about whether they’re true or are you being led by an old story? A story that no longer works for you…or a story that never truly held up?
You owe it to yourself—and others—to think critically, to examine more carefully, to stay at the table longer. Longer. Longer still. You owe it to yourself—and to others—to tell your story, to keep listening to the stories others have to tell, and to keep checking, keep questioning. Above all, you owe it to yourself to take control of your own stories. They are your everything.
I'm telling a piece of my story here and I’d love to share it with you: grief & loss & love & sex.
From January 28 to February 28, 2021, $2 from every copy of grief & loss & love & sex sold at Indigo, Chapters, and Coles locations, and on indigo.ca will go to the Canadian Mental Health Association, a national community mental health organization*.
That’s the power of story to make a difference. The power of words, rippling outward, reaching others. Connecting. Caring.
January 28, 2021 marked the third anniversary of my sister, Catherine’s, suicide. This mental health initiative is very personal and important to me. But it goes far beyond the personal. We know that amidst the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns and restrictions, economic uncertainties, job losses, and civil unrest, suicide rates, domestic violence, and mental health crises are at an all-time high.
Let’s see if we can help the people who are suffering to write a new story of their own.
“Life takes guts. I love your guts.” L.xo.
* No part of the purchase price may be deducted as a charitable contribution.