Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, Storytelling

Where is the Story Going?

Ever begin a book and after about 50 pages wonder where the story is going?  I have friends who must finish a book once they start it; I’m not that way.  If I don’t see where the story is going and I’m not hooked I abort the mission and move on to something more pleasurable.  Life is too short to get caught up in a bad story.

Interestingly real life works the same way.  We all have a story to tell.  We all have a story that is near and dear to our hearts, but not necessarily to others; especially if we tell the same story over and over.  You may be thinking about abandoning this post right now, but hang with me for a moment.  It’s not that people in your life don’t love you, but often we’re waiting to hear coming attractions or a sneak preview of one’s life to keep us engaged.

One of the fascinating things about your life story is that for those you’ve known a long time they hold your history.  They can help you reflect and remember those times you’d probably like to forget (like the naked pictures taken of Prince Harry).  So what happens to your story following the diagnosis of a chronic or life-threatening illness?

I’ve sat with thousands of people and facilitated thousands of hours of support groups so I’ve heard a lot of stories.  Undoubtedly one of the most powerful moments in a group is when the facilitator or another group members asks, “So what does this mean for tomorrow”?  The inquisitor wants to create a spark in the person sharing to challenge them toward movement.  We’re not talking about making major changes, but if you’re sharing something with others, they want to know why?  What is it you’re expecting from those who are listening to your story?  If you’re only intention is to expel hot air then maybe a support group isn’t for you.  However, if you share your story with others and you’re able to get a glimpse of what’s possible based on other’s stories, then you have moments of hope and possibility.

How can I spark you today to ask yourself, “How is what I’m sharing going to influence my life tomorrow”?  “What will I take from the responses I receive from those with whom I share my story”?  “How will telling my story impact the chapter on health and healing”?  “By telling my story, what’s possible when I turn the page”?

I’d love to hear your stories!  You can share them in the comment section below or email at  Also, check out the videos at


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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