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If we had no story, what then?

I’ve often puzzled at the magic that happens with story that floats above and beyond mere words to produce a range of metaphysical properties with the power to form connections between us and others, the power to soothe and reassure in times of distress and grief, the power to open up rafts of possibilities. But beyond all, it reminds me yet again of the connectivity – and vulnerability – of us all, and of all forms of life.

As well, think of the connections that exist between the artificially separated ‘genres’ of prose, poetry and drama. It’s only in comparatively recent times that story has drifted apart from poetry and drama. Think Homer’s Odyssey, Euripides’ Medea, the Histories of Herodotus through to Shakespeare, Chaucer et all — a mix of oral, verse and play — before it all began to separate out. Right there at the very beginning of all our individual cultures was story.

While, on a personal level, some of the magic that attaches to my own stories continues to thrill and amaze me, one particularly powerful set of words with a journey that has gone through several iterations first began with author and healer Rachel Naomi Remen’s My Grandfather’s Blessings before rippling out to the wider world where it was rewritten in the form reproduced below by author and management consultant Margaret Wheatley. It came to me from my author/leadership coach/daughter Tammy Tansley and, in this instance, goes out from me to you — and onwards.

I find the story in these words very beautiful and particularly powerful. It continues to resonate with me on a number of levels — reassurance, inspiration, even warning. It says hope and dreams and patience. I have read it so many times, I can pretty much recite it from memory! If you haven’t yet come across it, I hope it gives you as much pleasure as it has me.


Everything Has a Deep Dream

I’ve spent many years learning
how to fix life, only to discover
at the end of the day
that life is not broken.

There is a hidden seed of greater wholeness
in everyone and everything.
We serve life best
when we water it
and befriend it.
When we listen before we act.

In befriending life,
we do not make things happen
according to our own design.
We uncover something that is already happening
in and around us and
create conditions that enable it.

Everything is moving toward its place of wholeness
always struggling against the odds.

Everything has a deep dream of itself and its fulfilment.

Photo credit: Chepko Danil Vitalevich/Shutterstock

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