Double Warning: Mystical conversation about the life force of stories within.
I just received an email suggesting that I should use ancient wisdom tools to sell my business.
[Insert throws up hands and shakes first at the sky]
I see and experience stories as living entities.
(I know, work with me here).
Stories carry a life force. Think about the last time you were at the dinner table. Were your people inviting in fear when they chose to share one miserable story after another? Did they invite wisdom to belly up to the table through a story from an elder, did they invite perspective and humor through a story about something learned? The stories we tell to others and ourselves have a tremendous influence about how we think and what we believe about the world.
So if we understand that stories are living entities, that they affect us as much as the person who is teling them...that they have the capacity to be alive, and can shift and transform depending on who is telling and who is listening, and that they have a magical capacity to reveal insight and wisdom to the teller if the teller can be humble enough to continue to listen to something they believe they already know (sound like something you need to do in any long term relationship?), now you are embarking on being in an alive relationship that can be dynamic and interesting and exciting and …nourishing.
Here’s why the “Using a story” is like fingers nails on a chalkboard to me.
Lets begin with the origin of the term “use”. It was used to replace Old English brucan from late 14th century which meant to "take advantage of."
Use is created from the origin term, and then went on to be created from Latin stem uti, which means "make use of, profit by, take advantage of, enjoy, apply, consume."
So in essence~ when we say we are going to use stories for a desired outcome, we are in essence speaking our intention to take advantage of them and enslaving them for our personal benefit.
We decided long ago that we weren’t proud of this human tendency to slave.
Do you think you can receive the best part of any living thing that has been enslaved and forced into hard labor for your personal gain? I would imagine that a being that is enslaved will give you exactly what you demand and not one thing more. In other words, you won’t be receiving any gifts from it. You won’t be receiving the gift and miracle of its life force.
I get it, we're used to the phrase, “use a story”.
But here’s where it gets interesting: the ancient codes embedded in this wild technology of language leads us to the next part of the phrase of the using a story to sell something.
Sell originates from the gothic term saljan, which means to "to offer a sacrifice", which is ultimately from PIE root *sel- (3) "to take, grasp." (and yes, I’m choosing to go all the way back rather than stay on the more recent terminology of to give).
So it would seem that combining the terms use and sell are actually appropriately linked in intention even if one didn’t know the roots to which they are speaking.
I could so easily digress next into the role of resonance in our language…so what we speak….matters. But I’ll do my best to stay focused….
I wonder what might happen if we turned our focus on the language of “working” with a story.
When you journey back to the origin of this word you will meet the
suffixed form of root *werg-"to do." Meaning "physical effort, exertion" is from c. 1200; meaning "scholarly labor" or "artistic labor”. The meaning "labor as a measurable commodity" is from c. 1300. Work of art attested by 1774 as "artistic creation,"As of 1728 this term was akin to "artifice, production of humans (as opposed to nature).
I’ve been slowing retraining myself to embody this new approach to meeting stories. To work with stories, to meet them as equals who I can look in the eye and take the time to get to know, to respect, to allow themselves to reveal themselves to me over time, just as a new friend or life long family member… rather than wrap a chain around the story's neck and drag it along for show and tell.
Perhaps I should meditate or go for a hike before I take on the promotions section of my inbox.