This is part 1 in a series of blogs about my experience at STORY 2018.
“You should get a gravity blanket, it will help you sleep,” they said.
But I already sleep under the weight of the world these days. The news, Twitter, a conversation about politics with every single Uber driver on the planet. Why would I want more weight? What I want is to be lighter. Float higher. Feel all the emotions other than heaviness.
That is why I went to STORY. To feel.
I didn’t know much at all about STORY before I went. I bought a ticket and then I purposefully didn’t Google everything about it. I wanted it to be a little mysterious. And it did not disappoint. This is how STORY describes who they are:
STORY is an uncommon creative community for storytellers, artists and dreamers who believe that stories matter.
Members of the STORY tribe have a natural bent towards impacting and influencing the cultures in which they live, work, and play. We are not just about telling stories for the sake of entertainment, but we understand that great stories are what influences the minds and hearts of others, and ultimately, change the world.
Our flagship event is an immersive, two-day conference-style gathering designed to inspire, challenge and equip artists, creators and storytellers who work in a variety of industries. Join us at what many say is "the most creative conference in the world," and others call "TED for Creatives."
Yes, I thought. These are my people. And they were.
It would be difficult to explain to you exactly what this conference is like. I commented to someone yesterday, “It wasn’t about business or selling or numbers. It was about people and feelings and passion and culture and wonder and mess and joy and trying and failing and music and art and creating ... within our work and our life. It was all the things your soul needs to eat and feel fed.” And really, I can’t top that.
What I can do is share some of my favorite a-ha moments with you. I’ll include a few here, and then drip them in pieces over time, as I process and digest and mull over.
The theme of this year was WONDER. I am not sure that I ever used that word enough in my daily life prior to this week, but I know I’ll use it much more now. As Brad Montague (the creator of Kid President) said, “Wonder is one of the most desired states, but it’s the least studied, because you can’t simulate a moment that creates wonder. Wonder is, basically, a moment that makes you say, woah.”
I attended a full day workshop with Brad before the conference started, and I could fill pages with the delightful things I learned. Today, I am going to start with just three.
A spider opens up its guts to create something.
Brad started with a line from the author Mary Oliver, who once penned:
“Here you are. Alive. Would you like to make a comment?”
Woah. The world needs your stories, he said. It needs our insideyness to come out. We aren’t made to keep all the good stuff in. It has to spread to the people we meet. Emotions are contagious. Wonder can be given away, because each of us have within us the power to create things that create wonder. We all need to be about wonderwork – work that makes the world more wonderful. Work that reminds you what is wonderful. We don’t need to have all the answers, but imagine if our purpose was to create wonder.
Create starts with small.
You don’t have to write a book or take a giant career leap. It can be a tiny step. Smile at someone. Don’t follow a recipe and see what happens. Every day we wake up to a blank page and we get to fill it up. Creating doesn’t mean you have to be famous or even insanely talented. You just have to be brave enough to put something on that blank page.
Did you know…as lobsters grow and expand, their insides get so big that they crack their shells. Then, they shed their too-small shells. Their insides ooze out and they grow new shells. It’s a vulnerable process to have their insides all exposed like that.
So a lobster’s life cycle is basically growth, then pain, then healing, then growth... on repeat. (This happens like 44 times before their first birthday!)
We aren’t all that different. It’s super scary for us to grow and expose our insides. It’s painful when we crack. But the world needs our insideyness. And for us to grow, we have to be willing to leave behind the smaller version we once were.
And so… those are just 3 small lessons from the dozens I wrote down at STORY this week. I have 48 pages of handwritten notes that I can’t wait to turn into ideas and blogs and stories to share with you, friends.
In the meantime, if you are a weirdo, a misfit, a rebel or a possibilitarian – if you are a creator of things, a teller of stories, a taker of risks, a lover of people, a writer of words, a dreamer of dreams, a doer of things – if you are a laugher, a cryer, a schemer or a skeptic – if you want to create more wonder, look into the stars and push your limits far, far beyond them… consider joining us at STORY 2019. You will see me there.