Tuesday, October 28, 2014


For those of you familiar with the New Testament, have you ever wondered why Jesus almost always responded to difficult questions by telling a story (parable)?

The answer is that there is power in storytelling. Lately I've been noticing how many of the people I admire are talking about this. For today, I simply want to chronicle what they're saying.

First of all, take a moment to listen to Lynne Twist - author of The Soul of Money and founder of Pachamama Alliance - talk about the power of story.

The story we tell ourselves or the conversation we're living in is actually where we live...and we have absolute omnipotence over that. We may not have power over the circumstance we have, but we have absolute power over the story we tell about the circumstances or the conversation we have about our lives...That's not only where you and I can change the game, but can change our lives and the world we perceive we're living in. Its not pollyanna. Its not positive thinking. Its actually the access to power so that we can behave and act in a way that we stay competent, effective, powerful and know who we are.
A few months ago I shared this video of Jon Favreau - a very wise young man - who talked about the most important thing he learned from working with President Obama.

But I think the most important lesson that I learned from President Obama was about the power of storytelling to instill a sense of hope - and why that's so important right now.
And here is Marshall Ganz, senior lecturer at Harvard's Kennedy School and designer of Camp Obama, talking about Why Stories Matter.
The way we talk about this is not just to go up to someone and say, “Be hopeful.” We don’t just talk about hope and other values in abstractions. We talk about them in the language of stories because stories are what enable us to communicate these values to one another.
If you prefer a video of the same content from Ganz, here it is.

Just yesterday, Al Giordano posted this on Facebook:
If you're frustrated with how the world is, forget about the world. Tell your story. Tell it boldly. And ignore whatever crisis the media is telling you to worry about. Your story, my story, is what rules the world. Not their version of it...
Finally, here is Christina Baldwin, author of Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives Through the Power and Practice of Story, talking about the role story plays in our lives following the death of her son.
In my book, Storycatcher, I say, “Words are how we think, story is how we link.” Life story is developed by attaching a new experience to an old one, like putting two children in line together and saying, “Hold hands. Don’t let go. Help each other cross the street.” A previous experience, which we have already transformed through the narrative function of the mind into meaning, serves as a tutor to help us absorb a new experience and begin to integrate it.

But when the new experience is extreme in some way—we can’t link it. This is called shock. The world right now is full of shocks. And what observers call “news”...is individual, familial, and community survivors experiencing breakdowns in their capacity to integrate what just happened into what has happened before: shock on a massive scale.
Narrative is our life-line. The psyche goes into free-fall when our attachment to meaning is broken.
I am still in the process of absorbing what all this means - for me personally as well as a way of understanding what is going on in the world. So I'm not going to comment on it right now. Just know that this is what I am busy exploring and what you'll likely see reflected in my writing going forward.


  1. Thank you for posting. Very powerful!
    -- Lydia

  2. Great post, Smartypants. Couldn't agree more!