The Stories and the Things that Connect Us

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Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 1.34.58 PM As the holiday season kicks into high gear and our inboxes start to get overloaded with gift ideas and nudges to buy the latest and greatest toys, it is important to remember the more important things in life — the things and the stories that connect us.

A few weeks ago, Yerdle co-sponsored the latest “Journeys” event series from Wakingstar. Over the course of the evening, five Bay Area movers and shakers shared personal stories that have

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shaped their lives. This is our first post in a series on the “stories of the things that connect us” through which we will share their stories.

The master of ceremonies of the evening was Jay Golden, co-founder of Wakingstar. Jay told a story that began with his friend Ellen — who after losing many friends and loved ones during the tragic events of 9/11 — noticed something interesting in the phone calls and chat room conversations people took part in as they tried to track down friends and loved ones in the days and weeks following the tragic event. People were talking about what it meant to be an American and the true meaning of freedom.

So Jay and Ellen did what many of us in search of greater meaning and connection do (or at least aspire to do). They took a month-long road trip across the US to meet people in different cities and explore the ideas of freedom and American-ness. Their job was to tell the story of what it

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means to be an American by telling the stories of the people they met.

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As they headed north on the Golden Gate Bridge, they realized they were missing something. They didn’t have anything to give to the people who shared their stories as a token of their appreciation. It just so happened that the first person they met was an artist and financial wizard named Ron. At the end of the conversation, Ellen asked Ron if he might be willing to part with one of his paintings as a gift for the next person they met on the journey. And thus began the circle of giving from one city and one storyteller to the next.

The gifts ranged from paintings to poems, baseball tickets to arrowheads. Even though the recipients of these gifts never met the person who gifted it to them, they were connected through the shared story and meaning that the objects had represented in peoples’ lives.

One of our favorite gifts was an angel coin that had helped one man stay sober for 12 years. He didn't have many possessions, and yet he was willing to give away this coin that played such an important role in his life.

Jay’s story is a great example of the bonds we develop through the simple act of sharing things — especially when we share with strangers. We hope this story will inspire you to share something on yerdle from your own life that has meant something special to you. Get sharing!