Here’s a story: a parable worthy of ancient times.
Once there was a man who felt quite compelled to finish everything he began. While this was considered a fine quality in a person, enabling many others to be able to rely upon him and thus allowing his business to swell with gratitude and pride for his abilities to keep on going with his work at all costs, it also became quite a drain for the man who would not stop. Moreover, in addition to finding he was unable to stop and therefore felt quite compelled not only to finish his work, the man who would not stop also felt quite compelled to finish everything he said.
Now as you can imagine, this man after a time found himself in many a situation wherein it would have been just as well or perhaps better if he had only the power (or, as some would begin to say, the wits) to stop talking at just the right time. But no, the man who would not stop simply went on and on. And he grew to anger many a former friend and business client because of his inability to simply stop talking when the others around him had had enough.
One day, then, the villagers in this man’s village gathered together, meeting in secret. They knew that if word got out to the man who would not stop about the meeting, all their plans would be ruined, and of course he would be unable to keep any manner of secret himself, being unable as he was to simply stop talking when it was time to do so. The villagers decided to make the man’s life hard, very hard indeed. They decided to stop giving their business to him and to instead use a man two towns over who did shoddy work that was never on time but who possessed one redeeming quality that the man who would not stop did not: the power of judicious silence.
So all the village’s business that would have ordinarily gone to the man who would not stop went to the man two towns over. And the man who would not stop was puzzled. Where were his friends? Where was his business? Where were the coins that used to come rolling in aplenty? The man who would not stop was puzzled. And then he became angry. He became so angry in fact that he simply disappeared one day in a puff of angry smoke and was never heard or seen from again.
Now, the villagers of the former man who would not stop grew puzzled themselves. They felt that perhaps something bad had happened and felt guilt in their part in creating that bad thing. And so they began to talk. They talked amongst themselves. And it was as if they were becoming, each of them, a little piece of the former man who would not stop. And the quarreling started. And fights broke out. And villagers refused to do business with neighbors they had known all their lives. And the life of the village was disrupted. No one was happy.
After a time, however, a witch decided to take up residence in the village. After all, it was just her sort of place: angry, mean, spiteful. The witch felt very happy there in the village. But the villagers grew even more suspicious. They began to blame one another for the presence of the witch and for every bad thing they thought had ever happened to them. One day, however, the witch called the villagers together and told them that she was going to tell them a secret:
If it is me you no longer wish to see, call him in from the departed again
All you need to do is allow him to be; let him speak and you set yourselves free!
The villagers were perplexed. Did the witch mean that they invite back the former man who would not stop? But he was dead, was he not? They spoke among themselves and yet soon were in agreement. They would try what the witch suggested.
And so the villagers raised a man from the dead and he did walk again among them. And he never again spoke a word. And everyone was happy.
We’re off to Tuscon to do a workshop this weekend. Even with my condition, it should be fun!