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Posts Tagged ‘Storytelling’

Leaving the Station

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Next stop – the Bronx. I often wait a long time at the Pelham Bay station for my train to leave the station. How long have I sat scrolling social media or reading or meditating or listening to a Podcast while waiting to leave the station? Over the years, I have left many stations behind – some that I have not returned to in years and some ever again. Leaving the station of people and places often means letting go and moving on.

Leaving and arriving are daily practices. It’s when I am stuck in the station that negative emotions arise. Leaving the station can mean a good-bye, a travel away, a travel towards, a moving on, a welcoming, a grieving, a homecoming, a shift in perspective. I have learned that we all leave the station at some point and each time is different. What are we really leaving?

Everything changes. And in the end, I have learned that everyone leaves in some form. It’s the inhale and exhale of life. Breathing in and breathing out. We meet each other in the in-between breath.

We all leave the station at our own pace. Welcome the leaving.

Soon the conductor will shout, “Leaving the station.”

Next stop…

This is dedicated to my mom who passed away 17 years ago. Glad we had time together to share the in-between breath.

This essay was inspired from the Prompt a Day Program with Cynthia Morris.

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Book Review: The Power of Starting Something Stupid

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” Paulo Coelho, Author of the Alchemist

What if we realized that in order to accomplish our dreams, we will sometimes have to start something stupid?

After reading Richie Norton’s new book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid, I learned that the smartest people in the world don’t run away from stupid ideas; they lean into it. What if we let go of excuses and gave into our dreams?

If anyone has ever told you that your idea was crazy, then you would be in good company.  Richie Norton reminds us that many brilliant minds before us were labeled as crazy: Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Sara Blakeley, Ben Horowitz, Walt Disney and William Shakespeare.

In The Power of Starting Something Stupid, Richie Norton redefines stupid as the new smart and explains that life-changing ideas are often mislabeled stupid. What if the key to success, creativity, and joy in your life lives in the potential of your stupid ideas?

As Norton says, “Projects allow us to experiment and determine what works and what doesn’t. They allow us room to fail and modify our ideas to achieve eventual success.” The important thing is to make room for the experiment – the stupid idea.

Isn’t it better to look back years from now and not have regret for what we didn’t do? There will always be an excuse of why we didn’t start something. Norton points out the three most common excuses: the lack of time, the lack of education or experience and the lack of money. Even if we had all of these, there is still no guarantee that our idea will work. How liberating to just go ahead and live out our stupid idea!

This book is rich and inspiring. Norton shares a very personal story about how he came to live his stupid ideas. After great losses in his life, he learned from grief what he calls Gavin’s Law: Live to Start. Start to Live.

No more excuses. Start something stupid — the smartest thing you can do.

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TED Talk ~ Enjoy the Gift of Storytelling

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story

I am a storyteller. Here is to sharing more stories! Mary Anne


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A New “Once Upon a Time”…

Friday, March 13th, 2009

“Once upon a time…”

How often have I heard those words? The expression is more about where we were at one point in our lives then where we are now. The implicit meaning is – this is how we did things – once upon a time.

As I listen to my story said aloud or the telling of other stories, I can usually find the place of “once upon a time.” What we believe about our once upon a time will often be played out. We usually go for the familiar or comfort even in the simplest of things, like, that favorite sweatshirt or pair of jeans or what I like to call our “old story” (otherwise known as our deep-rooted story we have believed to be true). What if the story had a different ending?

To see this in practice, I tested out a theory about stories. I told famous fairy tales to 1st – 3rd graders and changed the ending. In the Three Little Pigs, I had the wolf huff and puff to blow down the brick house, only to be exhausted. I had the wolf express that he just wanted some good home cooked food and didn’t know how else to get an invitation from the pigs. “No!” the kids would shout at me. “That’s not how it goes.” When I asked what really happened, I would get a summary of the fairy tale. The children would say the ending exactly as it had been read to them repeatedly.

The next part of my experiment would be to tell a story that most of the students had probably never heard of and I would make up an ending. In this case, they sat at the edge of their seats to see what happened next. And, of course, I would always have a happy ending.

Here was my discovery. When the children had no attachment to the stories, they were very excited about the ending. But when the story was known and told over and over, the ending had to be the way they had memorized it.

I also noticed the stories followed a pattern. The characters would leave to find themselves, to find their families, to escape, or to discover fame or fortune. They would often return realizing everything they needed was already in front of them or inside of them.

The power and meaning of our stories can hold us back or set us free. In Jim Loehr’s book, “The Power of Story”, he reveals that your life is the most important story you will ever tell. Loehr says, “Everyone’s got a story. And thank goodness. Because our capacity to tell stories is, I believe, just about our most profoundest gift.”

So, here is the invitation. First, read or think about your favorite fairy tale. Really listen to it. Then change the ending and notice how you feel.

Second, identify your own story. Start with “once upon a time” and continue writing your “old story.” Once completed, re-write one sentence, one piece, one theme, or even the ending. You have the power to tell, to write, and to share an amazing epic – your new story.

If you would like to learn more about the transformative power of stories and how to powerfully identify and release the old ones and call forth the new ones, then join me May 14 – 17, 2009 for a gathering of Women Wisdom-Keepers.

Visit: http://www.toningtheom.com/events.html#cosmic

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