“This is the sorcery of literature. We are healed by our stories.” ~ Terry Tempest Williams

When Hiba Hamdan, DTM, approached me about joining a brand-new club that was forming, I knew it would be something special. Hiba’s help and her personal story had been crucial to my early Toastmasters experience, as she mentored our company club at Boeing and taught us to be Toastmasters. I was honored when she invited me to join StoryMasters as one of the founding members.

Yes, we had some growing pains at first, especially with finding the right location. I might call them logistics challenges. Tina’s lovely home turned out to be a perfect place for us.

In several speeches I’ve heard recently, people have said how they found their own voice and finally learned to express their own truth. We all have a deep desire for someone to hear us, for our stories to matter. It is life-changing for those who, at long last, find their voices.

At StoryMasters, we give acknowledgement to those people. We do the most important thing we can do: we listen. We are present. We give loving feedback that assures each speaker that they, indeed, were heard.

When I say to myself, “I am” — what words follow? Do I affirm my power, my success, my beauty? Do I say, I am wealthy beyond measure? Do I have gratitude for health, relationships, family, opportunity, and do I still dream?

Perhaps life itself has no meaning – we give it meaning by how we live and the stories we tell. I grow as a human being from hearing yours, and I hope you learn from mine as well.

Lin Van Gelder
Lin Van Gelder

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