Saturday, February 25, 2012

the stories we tell, the stories we live....

Many many years back, in a book (which now has been eaten by termites - don't even remember the title), I had come across this story...
    "Whenever there was misfortune in the land, the great Rabbi would go to certain parts of the forest. There he would light a fire, say a special prayer, and miraculously the misfortune would be averted.

    When the great Rabbi died, his principle disciple carried on with the custom. When the misfortune would strike the land, he would go to the same place in the forest, and say: "O Lord! I do not know how to light the fire, but I am still able to say the prayer." And again, the miracle would happen.

    Still later, when the disciple died, his own appointed pupil would go to the forest to save the people of the land. He would say: "I do not know how to light the fire, and I do not know the prayer, but I know the place and this should be sufficient."

    And then it fell on the newest rabbi to overcome the misfortunes. Sitting in his armchair, his head in his hands, he spoke to God: "I am unable to light the fire and I do not know the prayer; I cannot even find the place in the forest. All I can do is to tell the story, and this must be sufficient." And it was sufficient.

    God made man because He loves stories.

This made so much sense, since just around that time I had come across this quote/wisdom from Henry Miller - and it has remained with me:

"I am a man telling the story of my life, a process which appears more and more inexhaustible as I go on. Like the world-evolution, it is endless. It is a turning inside out, a voyaging through X dimensions, with the result that somewhere along the way one discovers that what one has to tell is not nearly so important as the telling itself."

To me - then - it boiled down to a simple understanding:
we are just a story/myth we tell to ourselves, and live (as much as we can)...

...which led to collecting the quotes/wisdom who knew that life is a story to be lived and told...

  • The ability to see our lives as stories rather than unrelated, random events increases the possibility for significant and purposeful action.
    — Daniel Taylor (Author,Tell Me a Story: The Life-Shaping Power of Our Stories)

  • When you’re conversing with coworkers, customers, or investors, the richness and meaning of your story is what people really buy.
    - Tom Durel (former CEO, Ocenia)

  • It’s all a question of story. We are in trouble just now because we do not have a good story. We are in between stories. The old story, the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it, is no longer effective. Yet we have not learned the new story.
    — Thomas Berry, Theologian, Philosopher, and Cultural Historian

  • A great brand is a story that’s never completely told. Stories create the emotional context people need to locate themselves in a larger experience
    — Scott Bedbury (Author, New Brand World: Eight Principles for Achieving Brand Leadership in the 21st Century)

  • Great stories agree with our world view. The best stories don’t teach people anything new. Instead, the best stories agree with what the audience already believes and makes the members of the audience feel smart and secure when reminded how right they were in the first place.
    — Seth Godin (Author, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us)

  • I had to know and understand my own story before I could listen to and help other people with theirs.
    — Barack Obama (44th President of USA)

  • Those who tell the stories, rule the world.
    - Hopi American Indian Proverb (Also attributed to Plato, Greek Philosopher)

  • Humans have been storytelling for 100,000 years around the campfire; the media is now our campfire.
    — Gloria Steinem, Feminist icon, journalist, and activist

  • There is no greater burden than carrying an untold story.
    — Maya Angelou, Poet

  • Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.
    — Hannah Arendt, German Political Theorist

  • Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives — the power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change — truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts.
    — Salman Rushdie, Novelist

  • The highest-paid person in the first half of this century will be the storyteller. All professionals, including advertisers, teachers, entrepreneurs, politicians, athletes and religious leaders, will be valued for their ability to create stories that will captivate their audiences.
    — Rolf Jensen (Former Director of the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies)

  • By refusing to have our stories bounded by race, belief, ideology, nationality, and even by time, and by grounding them in our awe of the universe, we choose to enact a larger, more hopeful and more positive story of humanity.
    — Michael Bogdanffy-Kriegh (Architect and Past President, New York Society for Ethical Culture)

  • We live in story like a fish lives in water. We swim through words and images siphoning story through our minds the way a fish siphons water through its gills. We cannot think without language, we cannot process experience without story.
    — Christina Baldwin (Author, Storycatcher: Making Sense of our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story)

    Some stories, I realised (as I lived through them) also have no ending or resolution... Martin Gardner, the mathematician wrote once:

    "There are only two stories in the world: someone goes on a journey, and a stranger comes to town"

    ... I am still trying to figure out if I am soaring eagle, or homing pigeon

    ...not that it matters, really - does it!!?...
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