Monday, September 08, 2014

Profound or Profane? What's Your Story?

I love The Velveteen Rabbit, a "children's story" that has reached across generations to touch hearts and minds for almost one hundred years. I referenced a particularly potent passage in a radio interview earlier this year, and more recently quoted the same material in a client blog post on creative aging. One of the regular readers, a rather dour sort, had a very different response to this glowing passage: he called it "garbage," "crass" and "repugnant".

To say I was shocked is putting it mildly.

The real question is, what story was he receiving? Clearly not the one I intended. Comedian Fred Allen said, "A human being is nothing but a story with a skin around it." My skin is rather thin since my awakening journey. Yet I'm still running a storyline.

Alan Shelton has crafted a way through. The creator of Story Theory and the Globalish Institute says, "Story is more than something you tell, read or watch. It's a moving target that comes to life as you live it. Without the proper rooting, you (or your organization) could easily live someone else's life." Story Theory and the Globalish Institute grew out of Alan's own roots, in downtown L.A. What better way to engage the future than to engage with the world in which you've been steeped to a potent brew?

Every day we hear words that our minds can weave into stories either profound or profane. The distinction lies in how deeply we listen, and whether we respond from our head or our heart — ideally, a blended wisdom of both, in service to a higher purpose.

The classic quote that angered the above-mentioned blog reader follows. I'd love to know how you feel about it:

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up, or bit by bit?"

"It doesn’t happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or who have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

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