“A man came to the Village Headman and pleaded for help. ‘I can’t stand it any longer. My life is sheer hell. There’s me, my wife, my children, and my in-laws all living together in a single room. We’re arguing, and complaining, and constantly at each other’s throats. It’s destroying us all.’
‘I can help if you promise to do as I say,’ said the Headman.
‘Anything. Whatever you say, I’ll do it. It can’t be worse than what I’m living with now.’
‘Very good. What livestock do you have?’
‘Two goats, a pig, a donkey, five chickens, and a turkey.’
‘Bring them all into your single room and come back to see me in a week.’
What could the man do? He had promised to do as the Headman asked. He came back a week later in a terrible state. ‘The stink! The mess! The noise. I’d be better off dead. It’s like living in a mad-house.’
‘Good!’ said the Headman. ‘Go home and throw out all the animals. Then come see me tomorrow.’
The next day the man returned with a wide smile on his face and his eyes sparkling with happiness. ‘Thank you. Thank you. It’s paradise. So clean, so quiet, and so much space to live life for me and my loved ones.’”
Boy do I relate to this story!! Yesterday, I told my partner that we needed to get some animals (small apartment!).
This is one of many stories in the book, by Nick Owen, titled “The Salmon of Knowledge” Stories for Work, Life, the Dark Shadow, and Oneself. Each tale compiled into this rich, thought-provoking read falls under a specific theme, and contains a moral. Introducing the themed chapters are personal anecdotes from the author, and suggestions of what each story might enlighten.
I was fortunate to meet Nick Owen at the Applied Improvisation Network Conference in Portland, Oregon, in November, where he delivered a compelling keynote speech on Leadership, and touching the heart. Lucky me got to have a brief chat with him the evening prior, and I knew we would be in for a treat. When I asked Nick Owen about his books and he strongly suggested “The Salmon of Knowledge” for me.
Thank you Nick!
If you are on a personal journey of discovery, of life paths, of “just what are we doing here”, of learning to let go, honesty, clearing, acceptance, presence, of illusion, of creativity, of self, this book is perfect. I certainly feel that way as I observe and participate in life’s challenges. Somehow, reading a story, a metaphor that applies to situations in my life helps me to adjust my perspective in a positive way. Or, it just helps me to see that there is another perspective!
Story telling is our most effective way of sharing our experiences. I hope you get a chance to have the thoughtful pleasure I am still having as I read, and re-read this unique collection.