You have to carry a big basket to bring something home.*
Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience.**
Frances Hesselbein is now 106 years old and possibly still working – she certainly was at 100.
Making herself through volunteering, she moved into her first paid employ in her mid-50s, transforming the organisations she worked with, including the Girl Scouts in the United States. She had no plan as she set out on this epic journey, feeling ill-prepared for each role and learning as she went, a favourite beginning to her story being “I never envisaged … .”
Frances carries a big basket.
And we all have our basket.
Even if we haven’t been intentional, we’ll have gathered plenty along the way and it will be worth our while to take a look at just what’s in there.
And knowing it’s there, we can make it bigger: widening it to gather more, deepening it to hold more.
To borrow, Robert McKee’s words, what we are then doing is creating a story to take what we have and make a difference, as Lewis Hyde exhorts us:
The only essential is this: the gift must always move.^
David Brooks offers the following as the stages of intimacy: a glance, curiosity, dialogue, pushing open the gates.^^ They provide us with our own stages for peering into our basket: take a look, ask questions, begin exploring, commit to finding out more. There are more stages to follow – the leap, crisis, forgiveness, fusion (try out ensuing ideas, fail, start again, commit) – but for now I just want you to take a peek at what’s in your basket.
*Frances Hesselbein, after a girl scout leader, quoted in David Epstein’s Range;
**From Robert McKee’s newsletter: Why Audiences Love Action;
^From Lewis Hyde’s The Gift;
^^From David Brooks’ The Second Mountain.