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Episode Five – “The Art of the Story” | Gregory Amundson

Show Notes – “The Greg Amundson Show / Episode Five”

Hello, friends, and welcome to Episode Five of The Greg Amundson Show. I’ve been so overwhelmed with gratitude on the number of positive responses to The Greg Amundson Show that I have received, and among these positive responses has been a request for, rather than a bi-monthly show, a weekly show. Well, my friend, here is my thoughts on the matter. I appreciate the interest and the encouragement for the weekly show. However, for the time being, I am convinced that having two shows a month is adequate because the content of each show is so rich in wisdom, in information and in opportunity for you to do additional research. For example, all of the mentors whom I mentioned on every show have their own resources. They have books, they have shows, they have podcasts, they have seminars, they have workshops, they have opportunities for you to continue your education. So for the time being, I think twice a month here on The Greg Amundson Show is going to be sufficient for us to build the foundation of the material that we need for where I ultimately plan on taking you. 

Now, that being said, what we will do is meet in the middle. So what I mean by that is every once in a while when the inspiration and impulse hits me, or when a great question is posed by one of you, the listeners on the show, then what we’ll do is have a special show to either ask and answer that particular question or, as in the case with tonight’s show, we have a special opportunity to learn a skill-set that will become very, very important in every subsequent show, and episode, and series that we share together.

Tonight is one of those special shows. Tonight’s show is dedicated to understanding the art of the story. As many of you know, I am passionate about sharing stories. The reason for that undoubtedly has to do with some of the great mentors in my life. One of whom in particular told me these famous words. He said, “Greg, if you tell me the truth, I will believe you. If you tell me a fact, I will listen. However, if you share with me a story, then I will remember.” I just love that because when I reflect on some of the great lessons that my mentors instilled in me over the years, it was always through the context of a story or a unique experience, a setting, a circumstance that allowed the lesson that my mentor was desirous of teaching to really stick. Tonight, I want to share with you one of my most favorite stories of all time. This is a great story to utilize for the lesson of understanding the art of the story.

Years and years ago when the warrior tradition was rich and alive with storytelling, the elders would gather the young warriors around a fire to share these stories. In ancient warrior tradition, it was believed that life would give the young warrior of an increasing level of intensity, as many opportunities as it would take for that young warrior to learn the lesson. If the warrior was very, very skillful, perhaps they would be able to learn, comprehend and understand the lesson the universe was trying to teach them on the first iteration at the lowest level of intensity possible. And such a warrior would be very blessed as they moved through life, for their rate of acceleration and advancement would far surpass their peers, because they were able to learn and understand the lessons that they were being handed through their experiences on a very fast basis.

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Well, my friends, that has been one of my most passionate subjects for teaching and learning in my own experience is contemplating that question in any given moment. What is the universe trying to teach me in this moment? There’s such a wonderful Bible verse I keep coming back to in moments of sorrow or despair or uncertainty or anxiety or stress, and it’s been a great source of comfort in my life, because it’s a Bible verse that allows me to have a very fast, very radical change of perspective. And that Bible verse is “My God supplies all I need according to His riches, in the glory of Christ Jesus.” What’s so beautiful about that Bible Verse is the key phrase “everything that I need”. That means in any given moment of your life, regardless of how you might be judging or labeling a circumstance, or an event, or an experience in your life as either good or bad. In fact, whether you label it as good or bad, the experience is independent of your judgment. The experience is independent of how you label it. The experience is provided by God because in that moment, you need that experience. And in time, every experience of your is ultimately for your good in the glory of Christ Jesus.

The key, therefore, is for you and I to cultivate the ability within our mind to see everything that is happening in our life as an opportunity for advancement, as an opportunity to become stronger, as an opportunity to grow closer in our relationship with God, and in our understanding of His Word and His power in our life. Everything really boils down to our perspective, the way we choose to see things. This is why I think the work of Victor Frankl, the author of the book Man’s Search for Meaning is so important, so vital for the modern day warrior. He teaches us that regardless of what it is that happens in our life. No one can ever touch our last human freedom, which is our ability to think for ourselves. Within the temple of our mind, we always have an ability to influence and ultimately change the quality of our thinking.

Here we go, my friends. Let’s share our story and then investigate the nature of the story so that in every future episode together, we have a new context for how to listen, how to experience, and ultimately, how to share a story.

Many, many years ago, a young man was walking along the seashore, following what had been a horrific storm. In fact, this young man could not recall another time in his life when he had experienced such a powerful storm. He never experienced anything like the wind, the rain, and the crashing waves in his entire life. So after the storm had passed, he decided to walk along the seashore. And as he was walking along the seashore, in front of him, approximately 100 meters away, he saw what he thought was an old man. And what was very strange about his observation of this old man is it appeared to him from this distance that the old man was dancing, in a very erratic, strange dance, up and down the seashore. So the young man decided to get a little bit closer and to inquire as to what the old man was doing.

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So the young man walked up, closer and closer and closer, and suddenly, what the young man saw startled him. It took his breath away. What he saw was the beach was absolutely scattered, littered with hundreds and hundreds of starfish. The storm had washed all these starfish onto the seashore and now that the tide was going out, and the sun was coming up, these starfish would soon perish. So the old man also knew this and he was not dancing. No, no, no. You see, in fact, the old man was running as fast as his old legs would carry him, picking up as many of the starfish as he could and he was throwing the starfish back into the sea, to save their life.

Yet, there were so many starfish. The young man thought to himself, “This old guy can’t possibly make a difference.” And he was so certain in his conviction that this old man could not make a difference that he went up to the old man and said, “Old man, what are you doing? There are so many starfish, and the sun is nearly overhead. Soon, all these starfish will perish. You can’t possibly make a difference.”

With that statement, the old man smiled, and then he bent down, picked up a starfish, and with all his strength, he threw it as far as he could, back out into the ocean, and then he looked at that young man, smiled, and said, “Well, sonny, it made a difference to that one.” And then the old man got back to work, and so did the young man.

Isn’t that just a beautiful story? So when we hear a story, we experience the story three ways. This was understood, you see, in the warrior tradition. The young warrior would hear the story that was shared by the village elder in one of three ways, depending on their experience in that moment. The young warrior would either hear some words that were spoken about a starfish and an old man, by the village elder. He would just hear some words. Now another warrior with a different set of experiences in their life, they would not just hear the words of the story, they would listen to the story. And then, there was that warrior who had been so cultivated through their life experiences that they didn’t only hear, nor did they just listen, this warrior understood the message contained in the story. And in any given moment of our life, this is the blessing and the nature of, not just a story but an experience in our life. You see, in any given moment, experiences are happening to us. We’re either the victim of our circumstances and the experiences of our life, or we’re starting to contemplate, “Hmm, why are these experiences happening the way they are?” “Hmm, why is life unfolding the way it is?” “Hmm, in what manner can I learn from this experience? And so that perhaps in the future, this experience will not repeat itself in increasing levels of intensity?”

So, for example, in tonight’s story, let’s take a moment to consider, first of all, who we are. In this story that we’ve shared of the parable of the starfish, my friend, in this moment, who are you in the story? What character are you resonating with in this moment? Are you the young man, who thinks, “Ah, that old guy can’t make a difference, there’s too much”? “There’s too much to do, there’s overwhelming odds. We can’t make a difference. I can’t make a difference. You can’t make a difference.” Is that where the story hits you tonight? Or are you the old man, who is making a difference? Or are you the starfish that’s being thrown back into sea? Are you the ocean that is receiving the starfish? Who are you in this moment that this story is shared? What character do you resonate with? Are you happy with whom you’re resonating with? If not, how can this story begin to shape your life in such a way that you can gravitate towards that character you would be more desirous of resonating with?

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And you see, my friends, that’s the beautiful aspect of a story in our life is the story allows us to uncover the various layers of our current ego identification. Where are we identifying? Are we identifying, in any given moment, with our ego? Or with our spirit? Our ego often says, “Ah, we can’t make a difference. You can’t make a difference.” Our spirit says, “I was born to make a difference.” And oftentimes in life, what the great spiritual teachers have been doing their very best to remind us of. You see, that’s the word, my friends, “Remind” us. Not so much “Teach” us, yet remind us that we need to focus on identifying with the spiritual aspect of ourselves. Not with our thinking, nor with our egotistic mind, yet with our spirit. For in those moments that we identify with our spirit, it’s those precious moments that we become a combination of the old man who is making a profound difference in the lives of people, and we simultaneously become the ocean, for we begin to lead people back to their spiritual nature, back to God, back to the loving embrace of our Father in Heaven.

So, my friends, until we meet again, may God bless you and keep you safe. I look forward to being with you in one short week here on The Greg Amundson Show. Take care!

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