October 27, 2014

Fill Your Heart and Let the Universe Shrink

Every couple of weeks I have to do something that fills my heart to the brim—something that speaks to me so clearly and so purely that for a second the universe seems to shrink.

Looking up into the black, the stars seem less vast and I feel connected to whatever or whoever is out there. This past month has been spotted with moments of clarity where, though I am wandering (to be cliché), I do not feel lost. I am where I am meant to be.

Since coming back to California from Chicago, I’ve attended an awesome festival promoting art, civic engagement, and equity in urban planning in San Francisco. I shared an intimate book reading with Smiley Poswolsky, the author of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough, and friends about the power of finding meaningful work. I’ve met up with Emily Pilloton, the founder of Project H, and hung out at Studio H with middle schoolers learning design under the tutelage of the bad ass Ms. Nini.

Most recently, a friend and I went to a storytelling event in Oakland hosted by The Shout. This event had two rules. First, the story must be true. Second, the story must be about you, the storyteller. Since storytelling is one of the core competencies of Ei, I figured it would be both an enriching experience and a way to develop a deeper understanding of effective storytelling. What actually happened was much more powerful.

My friend and I left in awe, feeling inspired by the openness of others. Reflecting back on the history and culture of oral tradition, storytelling is one of the key activities that make us human. When you hear someone tell you about their life in such a raw and unfiltered fashion, you have no choice but to lean in and become enthralled. When you feel connected with a complete stranger, it’s like saying “I see you. I understand you.” That’s 100%, not from concentrate, country-style heart juice.

As I chart my course into the unknown, allowing the winds of change to shift my narrative as it is written, I know that to truly make the most of this experience I must share it. I hope my stories fill your heart and shrink your universe so that the stars don’t seem so far—because they’re not. Within this short time since starting Ei, I have found myself in the company of those who seemed so distant before, and by hearing their stories I have learned that the greatness of our heroes does not come from how they are different, but how they are like us—human.

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