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Tonight I had a mind blowing epiphany about storytelling in relation to learning and mindfulness.

Those are my “Big 3,” and for years I’ve emphasized mindfulness as the foundation that supports the other two. And tonight, on the way to the kitchen for a snack, I realized that storytelling—consuming and creating stories—was and is the ACTUAL foundation of MY life.

I consumed and wrote many stories before I really started to love learning. Before I became earnest in my spiritual journey.

A love of learning grew out of storytelling, and learning led me to mindfulness. And now all three constantly intersect and illuminate each other.

Life begins and ends with story, with an infinite web of narratives along the way. I think that’s true for most people. Our earliest memories are usually in the form of stories, real or imaginary. Stories entertain, inform, inspire, terrorize, and define us across our lifetimes.

The obvious hiding in plain sight. Again. Pedantic, theoretical me, unconsciously ignoring my real life EXPERIENCE (and likely that of others) while clinging tightly to a mental model.

I have a lot of rewriting to do; but wow am I excited and geeking out!

John M. DeMarco is a writer, executive coach, and activist based in Nashville, Tennessee.