Storytelling at Work
December 03, 2020


Recently, I spent 10 weeks, 7 days per week, 10 hours per day, sorting through 26 years of possessions, preparing to sell my Woodstock home -- infused, as it was, with countless memories of birth, death, fire, celebration, devotion, love, friends, inspiration, rites of passage, madness, dreams, dancing, bedtime stories, baby showers, live opera, dead mice, and ten thousand outtakes from the movie that seemed to be my life. I kept having to decide what to take, what to toss, what to give away, what to sell, and what to store.

Michelangelo, when asked how he created The David, said it best. "I simply took away everything that wasn't." Indeed! The statue was always in the stone. All he had to do was remove what wasn't. Less is more. Or as Dizzy Gillespie once said, "It took my entire life to learn what not to play."

And so, as I gave away, threw away, tossed, sold, and stashed, I got to experience the odd revelation of seeing what remained -- my own David, you might say, being revealed to me. What I noticed was this: no matter what form these objects took, they all served the same function: REMEMBRANCE!

What remains of my estate reminds me of what I truly value in this life. A FEELING! A sacred moment out of time. My souL's longing. God within. A wink from the Great Beyond. The experience of presence, contentment, and joy. The form it takes? Many Buddhas, especially, Hotei, the laughing Buddha. Photographs of Evelyne, Jesse, Mimi, and me when we were at our best. A 40-year old I-Ching. The Tao Te Ching. The poetry of Hafiz, Rumi, and Kabir. A child's drawing. A puppet. Many photos of my amazing Master, Prem Rawat. A black and white photo of my parents kissing on their wedding day. A picture of my sister, Phyllis, God rest her soul. My dog Chili's collar. An old turquoise beret. And several boxes of journals I have never been able to throw away -- the hieroglyphics of my heart on fire.

This is what remains. This. This is my David. The rest? Just stuff.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at December 3, 2020 05:12 PM

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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.

Order the book:

Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling for the Revolution is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling to elevate the conversation on planet Earth. Provocative. Evocative. And fun. YOU have stories to tell. This book will help you tell them.
Storytelling at Work
"The world is not made of atoms," wrote the poet, Muriel Rukeyser. "It's made of stories." Learn how to discover, honor, and unpack the stories of yours that show up "on the job" in Mitch Ditkoff's award-winning 2015 book, Storytelling at Work.
Do you want to know more about the book before buying it? Click here for Mitch's response to frequently asked questions about Storytelling at Work – the perfect book for people who think they have no time to read.
The Workshop
Storytelling is an "unconscious competency" – an ability we all have that all too often remains inaccessible to us. Enter the Storytelling at Work workshop – a simple way to activate this powerful, innate skill.
Wisdom Circles
Want to establish a culture of storytelling in your organization or community? Looking for a simple way to help people to share their meaningful, memorable stories with each other? Here's how.
Podcasts & Videos
Click here to view and listen to a series of interviews with the author of this blog. Go beyond the written word. Listen. Feel. Elevate the conversation. Understand what the big deal is about personal storytelling.
Blogs 'R Us
If you like this blog, you might also like Mitch's other two blogs: The Heart of Innovation and The Heart of the Matter. Mitch is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.
Idea Champions
When Mitch isn't writing, he's captaining the good ship Idea Champions, a leading edge innovation consulting and training company based in Woodstock, NY. What their clients say.