This Republic of Stories

From Gaza to Gallipoli- A missing piece of the ANZAC puzzle

As a young boy growing up in war torn Gaza,  you learn pretty quickly that life is precious and fragile. I am 28 now, and a graduate of Gaza University, a soccer player who played for Palestine and a coach, and I am excited to be beginning my graduate studies in Istanbul. But most Gazans of my generation never leave their childhood behind because, between the ages of 10 and 21, we had to survive three wars. Surviving meant coming to terms with death, making friends with our mortality. Read More


Image result for CHURCHILL….And the Audience ( that’s us folks) has to stop being an Audience to grief
Audience to horror,
Audience to division
Audience to disturbance
The new story must Audience us (A)  as citizens rising to the occasion
Supporting each other, taking responsibility for each other’s health and well being and filtering out the noise of any political bickering. Read More

Noah’s Ark saved the world- What will save ours?

Image result for Noah Ark..Nothing like this has happened in our lifetimes. Even my late parents who lived through the darkest days of World War II would not recognize how a virus is holding us to ransom. Hitler or Stalin, or Cold War, or even anthrax, for sure.  But COVID19? Try putting that on a wanted poster. Read More 

From CaronaVirus to Carona Virtue

Washing your hands
Is better than wringing them
And when our experts warn of pandemicImage result for Spanish Flu
Our ancestors late,
of famine and plague
And yellow fever and TB
Will laugh sick from their healthy graves
at how evolution with us
seems to have gone backward.   Read More 

Who has the Ball? Who has the Position?

I was watching the start of the 6 Nations Rugby over the weekend and enjoying both the art in the force and force in the art. it is a brutally beautiful game. Like a war but no one gets killed.

One of the most amazing parts is the maul,  when France had the ball  and was pushing towards the English try-line, with the White jerseyed defenders peeling off and regathering to resist Le Bleu’s moving scrum. Pound for pound, the pack of forwards are equally enough matched in most cases, but when you watch a winning team drive their opponents back, you would think one side must be so much heavier to muscle their way so tenaciously. That may be part of it. But that got me thinking. What was the difference? Keep Reading 

Image result for the power of listeningLiving Stories Revisited 

This insight challenges what we thing about power. What if the listeners are the final arbiters of meaning? What if, in this age of media overload, we discovered that we had much more power than the tellers do.  What sort of empowerment would that lead to?

It means we can listen against the grain, or turn the tables and subvert the teller’s intentions completely. We can refuse to be captured in the story that someone tells us to divide us, to imprison us in rage or silence us in shame. We can refuse to give power to the stories that want us to hate all immigrants or the stories that want us to think that every politician is corrupt or every person with wealth is rorting the system. We can start a rebellion from where we sit….Read  More 


 Image result for where to?Showing Up in your own story

Tomorrow, we will push the chairs aside and open up the room so space has a voice. We will ignore the Power Point and shut off the phones, and invite the members to walk back into the story of their service, retracing WHERE it began, ( not why or when) and then walking into the space that reveals their expanding horizon of possibility. We will ask the magic question “What do you know from here that you did not know from there that will help you get to where you are headed?”

We get so tied up in the Why or the How. We forget a far more important question- Where? We start with WHERE. Even that word “question” is loaded with the same insight because it contains a “Quest,” which wikipedia calls “a long or arduous search for something.” To ask a question is to be going somewhere.

Our other focus will be to invite stories that go beyond excuse and blame, stories of the decisions and choices that members made to get this far and the decisions and choices that lie ahead. Too often, our lives in the telling sound like experience after experience, “this happened” and then, “this happened,” or as one writer put it, “one damned thing after another.” But this only masks the character in the story who is walking the road and deciding which path to take. Even deciding to take no path is deciding on a path. Decision comes from the same word as “incision” meaning cutting off one option to pursue another. A choice of a path is a choice about what story you will be able to tell….Read More


….Cliche tells us to “count your blessings” but Lincoln and Julie had a different take. They wanted us to count our calamities and catastrophes first, and only then feel the pulse of morning to see and if we are still breathing. If the sun rises on you and me tomorrow, that at the very minimum qualifies us to celebrate thanksgiving. You lived through that horrible divorce, your cancer came back but you are coping, you lost your first born or you were fired or sued, or you still face crippling debt. But you lived through it. Till now. No-You have not overcome but you have not been overcome. You have not become the hero of your own story-yet but it’s still your story and you are alive to still tell it. Life itself is no small achievement right now. The strategic plan has three simple steps: “Breathe in, Breathe out, Breathe in.” That is grace at ground zero….Read On


What the USSR could not win with Nukes
Russia has won with Narratives

…Russia has always got ‘story’- its power, its poignancy, and its ability to infiltrate and torture the human heart with guilt and fear and doubt. The USA reverted to water-boarding in the invasion of Iraq, using the Inquisition’s theory of change, that if you make people suffer, they will tell the truth. Of course, even the Church while still promoting abusers, has given that up. But Russia got smarter as it got weaker, out of necessity. They may not have got the ballistic missiles but they had the stories- always did.  All they needed was a delivery technology to launch them and unleash their explosive power on the world. They only had to wait 30 years. Enough time for us to lower our guard, drop all vigilance and go to sleep…



A story needs surprise– that uncertainty about ” what comes next” that drives any drama forward and keeps us as on the edge of our seats.

Recent commentators in the “Washington Post” are  saying this current impeachment proceedings lacks surprise. At least  compared to the halycon  days of Watergate, when we had hidden tapes and John Dean’s testimony and the smoking gun. Watergate  unravelled as it unfolded such that one week we knew so much more than we thought we knew the week before. The commentators makes a good point. No surprise, no story. So do we even have a story with this process?…Continue

You win some and you lose some.

End of Part One-The Fourfold Path to Nowhere-






RULE THREE- Be passionate – then get over it

RULE Two- Get Lost on Purpose


PREFACE-You are not stuck in life, you are stuck in a language that no longer moves.





Introducing a New Geography of Change
(Learn about the new storywise methods of narrative mapping, and why the key question is “Where?” not “Why?”

Living and working in Washington DC, we have come to refer to it as the Republic of Stories. By that we meant that while other great cities grew up organically beside a river or the coast and emerged as centers of great stories. DC was designed from the start to be a city that would be built to tell the story of this young Republic. That is why it was given the name of the person probably most responsible for the new nation’s existence. From that time on, the city has added memorials and museums and sacred sites to promote the telling and the retelling of those seminal stories that make up the Republic.