Reflections on Season 2: Stories Lived. Stories Told. podcast

reflections on seaston 2 stories lived.stories told

As I approach the halfway point for Season 2 of Stories Lived. Stories Told., I find myself in a reflective space. And if I have learned anything from CMM, it is the value of taking the time to reflect. So, that being said, I would like to share my reflections with you. First, I am so grateful to the amazing guests that I have had the opportunity to speak with on the podcast so far this season, including Stephanie Higgs, Madison Gonzalez, Michelle Colpean, Zev Burton, Paul Porter, Chris Wells, Emma Nicholson, Jennifer Furlong, Karen and Sonja Foss, Ilene Wasserman, and Jeff Branch, along with the countless others that are yet to come in the second half of Season 2.

Looking over this list of names, I am struck by how different each person and each conversation was. And yet, without fail, every conversation taught me something and added value and meaning to my life. For example, my conversation with Zev opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about data, a world that I have mostly disregarded or ignored because I claimed that “my brain just doesn’t work that way.” In my conversation with Jennifer, I was able to put to practice my values around dialogue and engaging in curious and open minded conversations with people who have different perspectives than I do. And in my conversations with Michelle and Madison, I was able to hear stories that I don’t usually get to hear because there is taboo around them.

My hope is that these conversations have the same effect on you and everyone else who listens, too. My instinct is to say that the things all these people do have in common is that they each have a story to share, but who among us does not? I don’t believe that having a “story worth sharing” is something that anyone has to earn, or is determined by the amount of struggle or hardship or success or perseverance in a story. To me, by the very nature of having a life and story at all, you innately have a “story worth sharing.”

I continue to refine and alter the way I approach these conversations in the hopes of creating a more natural conversation that leaves space for emergence. As a person with a love for planning, this has been the biggest challenge and, at the same time, the most rewarding part of doing Stories Lived. Stories Told. As I make fewer plans, and leave room for the conversation to take us where it may, it strikes me just how easy it is to show and up and listen to another person’s story. Sure, it helps to have a deep understanding of communication theories and practices like CMM. But, what is standing in the way of us creating the space for each other to (as Jeff Branch shared) not only feel safe enough but brave enough to share all our stories, other than ourselves?

So, how can we get out of our own way and learn to be the kind of people that create that space for others and claim it for ourselves as well? How do we become people who live every moment of our lives like we actually believe that our stories, and the living and telling of our stories, matter? I don’t have the answer to this question. But I hope you’ll continue (or start!) to join me in conversations each week as I do my best to practice this way of being. I’m so excited to be able to continue to reflect on the previous conversations I have had and to share the upcoming conversations with all of you as well.

Thank you for listening!

With mindfulness and curiosity,

Abbie VanMeter

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