Storytelling at Work
August 09, 2020
FEEDING OTHERS

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The following is a guest post from the very soulful and talented Burrill Crohn

The COVID crisis has only increased (vastly) the disproportion between the privileged haves and the far larger population who are somewhere on the scale between hungry and starving (often to death).

While the crisis has seen more hoarder mentality in many, there are others -- individuals and organizations -- who have been able send massive amounts of food to those with little or none. And so can we all, in whatever capacity.

But there is another approach as well, borrowed from the long-time Buddhist loving/kindness meditation practice -- one that breathes in the suffering of others, whether a specific individual or all sentient beings, and on the outbreath sends love and compassion to one and all.

When eating, I do my own variation.

As I eat -- whether snack or meal -- I invite others, anywhere, to come and share in the taste, nourishment and sheer joy of this food. Sometimes it's a blanket, open invitation. Sometimes I focus on a group: prisoners in isolation, someone I read about in the news, or a homeless family I see on the street. Other times I send this energy out into the non-material world seeking specific others or just any and all who can tap into what I'm sending.

One morning, for instance, eating a hearty breakfast, I specifically focused on all the front line COVID emergency responders who might have left home without a nourishing breakfast, or maybe were feeling a mid-morning let down of glucose metabolism and needed a pick-up.

Sometimes I see this like Keith Haring graffiti, lines of energy flowing from me to others; sometimes it's like inviting strangers, as is almost a requirement in many cultures and religions, into my own home (or in this case, body) to share a meal. There are other variations, as well, but you don't need examples from me. As you develop your practice -- if you so choose -- you'll find plenty of your own.

-- Burrill Crohn

Photo: Ashkan Forouzani, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:20 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2020
NEW FROM PREM RAWAT: Once Upon This Time There Lives You

NEW from the master storyteller, Prem Rawat! ONE 2 ONE, a series of daily talks about the story of all our lives -- the real plot... the true telling of the tale... and YOU are the character.

Feel free to subscribe to his newly launched YouTube channel to stay up to date with the timeless.

,

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:14 AM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2020
Sheikh Waseem

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The first week of my two and a half year relationship with Al Siraat College -- a K-12 Australian school in the Islamic tradition, I facilitated a 90-minute workshop for the school's teachers and staff. The experience, praise God, was very well-received and a big relief that my somewhat oddball approach to "teaching" was acceptable.

The next week, just as I was about to begin a second workshop with the same teachers and staff, one of the school's Quran teachers, the very noble Sheikh Waseem, approached me.

If this was a movie the two of us were in, "central casting" had nailed it because Sheikh Waseem was, most definitely, the living embodiment of a Muslim man -- at least the one I had in my mind: bearded, long white robe, white turban, and the kind of seriousness that spoke of a deep commitment.

With a twinkle in his eye, he stepped closer.

"Mr. Mitch," he said. "You are my teacher."

Caught off guard by this unexpected comment, I smiled, slightly bowed, and replied, "Oh no, Sheikh Waseem, you are MY teacher."

Then Sheikh Waseem smiled, bowed in my direction, and spoke yet again. "Oh no, Mr. Mitch, you are MY teacher."

The two of us just stood there, looking at each other. Realizing it was my turn, I spoke again, "Oh Sheikh Waseem, I am very curious. Why do you say that I am your teacher."

"Because Mr. Mitch, last week, at the workshop, I learned something very valuable from you."

"And what would that be, Sheikh Waseem?" I replied.

"I need to have more FUN!"

Wikipedia: Prophet Muhammed, PBUH

35 sayings of the Prophet Muhammed
An excerpt from "A Thousand Muslims and a Jew"
Meanwhile... in Mexico

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:51 AM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2020
SILVER LINING STORY #1: Finding Our Common Humanity

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This just in from the totally wonderful Julian West in Kathmandu.

As countries worldwide slam shut their borders and condemn millions of us to enforced and self-enforced isolation, something wonderful is happening. A new sense of humanity, fueled not only by natural compassion, but the knowledge that from Beijing to Bologna, from Seoul to San Francisco, we are all going through the same thing. The Big C is here, everywhere, and it could be coming for us, too.

All of us are worried: about our health, the health of our friends and families, our communities; our livelihoods and those of others; our ability to survive. Governments everywhere have proved themselves inadequate, in many different ways, to coping with this crisis. In a matter of days, countries like Britain are melting down: the ragged state of the safety nets designed to protect people, but torn apart by decades of government cuts, exposed. We have a health service that can't respond; employers that either cannot or will not pay sick leave; supermarkets whose supply chains have broken under the weight of human fear.

But we also know that ALL of us are experiencing this. And from that shared experience is blossoming something rare and precious: community, humanity, compassion, and kindness.

I belong to Nextdoor, one of many neighbourhood groups, usually carrying notices for workmen, or local news and tips. For the last two or three weeks the site has filled with offers to help elderly people; links to volunteer groups; tips to stay healthy and fed; compassionate words of support and advice for the sick or scared -- of whom there are many. It helps people feel less isolated. To feel they are not alone. For indeed we are not.

The other silver lining to this dark cloud hanging over us all is the improved environment. For the first time in years, in Beijing you can see the sun. Smoggy grey skies are now blue. In Kathmandu where I live for much of the time, streets are clean of cars; the magnificent Himalayas are out in full glory; we can breathe.

These are just some of the ways this crisis is helping us: to find our common humanity, to see the glory of the beautiful world we live in; to offer, as a counterpoint to dystopia, something truly divine.

-- Julian West

How to submit a silver lining story to this blog

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:09 AM | Comments (0)

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Storytelling at Work is a blog about the power of personal storytelling – why it matters and what you can do to more effectively communicate your stories – on or off the job. Inspired by the book of the same name, the blog features "moment of truth" stories by the author, Mitch Ditkoff, plus inspired rants, quotes, and guest submissions by readers.

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