"Become aware what is in you. Announce it, pronounce it, produce it and give birth to it." - Meister Eckhart

18 April 2013

All the World's a Stage

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts."
(Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II: vii)

Shakespeare's observation that we come to play many parts over the course of our lifetime certainly rings true for me. While my father worked for one company for thirty-five years of his working life, I, on the other hand, have had to--and at times chosen to--play many parts -- gardener (my first teenage job for pay); hitch-hiker and wandering minstrel (no pay); hard-rock miner; steel-worker; factory labourer; carpet-layer; salesman; house-painter; door-to-door salesman; college student; adolescent-care worker; coffee-house waiter and dish-washer; handy-man; family therapist; record salesman; western-wear salesman; window-washer; truck driver; furniture mover; traveller; gang-leader (that's a long story); school-bus driver; group-home parent; university student; literary researcher; night-time baker; gifted student adviser; writer and poet; book-binder salesman; PhD candidate; university lecturer & tutor; high-school English teacher; pastoral counsellor; business web site builder; private tutor; peace education facilitator; teacher development adviser and assessor; education consultant; workshop facilitator and trainer; filmaker; and a son, grandson, brother, lover, husband, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, ex-husband, friend and not-so-good friend; coach and mentor; leadership consultant and . . . (whew!) . . . a STORYTELLER!

My chequered working life has demanded flexibility, agility of mind and body, and adaptation. It has made me who I am today. And it has coloured the narrative arc of my life story. Of course, there are times--mostly when I don't know where the next pay-cheque is coming from--when I think what my story might have been like had I settled for one profession instead of being a sort of "jack-of-all trades and master of none".

But mostly I am grateful for the story that I and the countless people whose paths I have crossed and walked on have co-created. I try to think of it as a tale of a rather long apprenticeship. It's not to say that there are times when I wish I could have become a professional storyteller at a younger age; but then I think, I couldn't be the storyteller I am today if I'd not encountered all those experiences and stories of which I was a part over a lifetime.

No, I'm learning to accept what I've made of life--the successes and failures, the achievements and mistakes. I'm learning to cherish the talents entrusted to me by the divine. I've tried to do the best with them. I just hope She/He/It has enjoyed the story as much as I have.

So, what's your story? What parts have you played in the play that is your life? How have you used your talents?

I'd be grateful if you'd share that in the comments box below (or email me if you wish). Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. A great post Michael, you've really just spoken my heart too - I couldn't have put it better. I've been so many things in my life and that Shakespeare quote has always been one of my favourites. When I was at school I wanted to leave at 16 and get an apprenticeship but it just wasn't the done thing then especially for a girl and I was persuaded not to, but as it's turned out, as you have said, my life has been an apprenticeship. I don't have a degree in anything my highest qualification being an HNC; I've always said that life has been my school and of this life so far, I've learned more from storytelling than anything else. I've discovered cultures and traditions, met people from around the world, travelled and stretched my capabilities more than I could have imagined. I wouldn't have it any other way. And at times I am so poor it drives me crazy but when I tell stories I feel like the wealthiest person on the planet; I mean really rich! You know you are doing your souls work when you feel that good doing it. The only thing that's come close is being a bicycle messenger....



"We have received only very positive reports of your workshop, and must thank you for being so flexible and responsive both before and in the course of implementing the workshop. It has been lovely to work with you. . . . We are hopeful this project will give rise to future storytelling endeavours, and would be very happy to work with you again if the opportunity arises!" Muireann Crowley, At Home in Scotland, University of Edinburgh, May 2014 ("Storytelling, Research and Public Engagement" workshop)

Michael Williams is a a storyteller of compelling skill. He is also a fine human being who engages in all situations and draws people into the warmth of communication and shared experience." Donald Smith, Director, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh Scotland

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