Got Storytelling Skills?


My boyfriend picked the movie last weekend, which is how I came to be sitting in front of Adam Sandler on the big screen.

It surprises me that a week later I’m still thinking about the show Bedtime Stories.

In the show Adam is asked to babysit his young niece and nephew for a week. He quickly learns the kids prefer a bedtime story before going to sleep.

On the first night, Adam tells a lame story (correlating to his own life) about a guy who fails at work and lives unhappily ever after.

But the kids don’t let him get away with such an awful story.

They jazz it up with raining gumballs and such, reminding Adam that it’s a story, you can have fun with it! There’s nothing off limits and it’s okay to detach from reality when you’re telling a story.

The kids teach him that your story doesn’t have to make sense or be believable. The purpose of it is simply to have fun and be entertained.

Seems an important lesson to some of us adults who may have lost the gift for fantastical imagination, and have trouble detaching from “reality.”

After all, it’s our ability to imagine and conjure up that our tomorrows rely on. If we get stuck in what’s possible, likely or even acceptable, we dramatically limit the experience of our lives.

Since our life unfolds according to the stories we keep and tell, storytelling seems an important skill for a deliberate creator!

So I don’t know about you, but I’m going to channel some no-rules “children” energy in my adult life to reconnect with crazy magic and fun ideas that lead to completely senseless and delicious unfoldings.

Thank you, Russ and Bedtime Stories, for providing inspiration that helps us get even more free and easy with our expectations of life!  🙂

  • January 12, 2009
  • Janette says:

    If you like the hidden – or even not-so-hidden – messages in movies, check out Stephen Simon’s book “The Force is With You”. It’s a wonderful look at the mystical messages held within some of the most unexpected movies.
    The title makes reference to an obvious one – Star Wars (the archetypal hero’s journey, co-authored by the late great Joseph Campbell). But some of the titles are movies I would never have expected to have messages. Seems the truth will out, no matter what!
    And if you’re trying to remember where you know this name from, he directed the amazing “What Dreams May Come” with Robin Williams some years ago.
    These days he has an online club where you can get spiritual movies. Details at – and no, I’m not on commission – actually not even a member (blush…)
    Just thought some of you might find this interesting.:-D
    Janette’s last blog post..The Universe loves me!

  • Peregrine John says:

    Oh, the frustrations. This is no place for me to recount the pathos that is several areas of my life, so suffice to say: ARRRRRGHH! How did I get to these places? Wasn’t I generally following the methods of manifesting, even before I knew what they were? And do I really think such a thing can get me back out? (Really, when the box is locked with the key inside, you have to think outside the… uh, box; so yes, I’ll throw my lot wholeheartedly behind the notion that what I do and feel and ask for makes a difference.)
    The fact is, it’s very difficult to feel the way one should when the wrong feelings are running rampant. A very realistic-feeling sense of hopelessness is especially onerous. Sure, I can tell a good story (I say to myself), but it’s still just a story. So it goes, with a slight sense of panic lurking behind it all.
    Sandler’s character (by all accounts – I haven’t seen it yet) has a similar sort of problem: his halting attempts to shape his world have collapsed around him in a fashion so bland that he doesn’t even have the satisfaction of grandiose failure. (My world isn’t that bad; but it hangs by a thread.) It’s not that he did anything heinous, it’s just that what he thought would happen didn’t. Didn’t he think/feel he was doing the right thing, seeing the outcomes he wanted? How could it have fallen apart?
    Because there’s a difference between Allowing and Not Paying Attention.
    I have the day off, tomorrow. I see a matinee in my near future.

  • Leigh says:

    Hi Jeannette,
    I just stumbled across your blog and I love it! I also love this post about Storytelling as I just did a presentation about this to my co workers. Storytelling the one of, if not the most, important communication tools we have. I, myself, am trying to become a better storyteller.

  • Yes, Kate, and to inspire even MORE beautiful visions for those who haven’t let themselves entertain such thoughts!
    PS – thanks for being such a strong advocate of the PRJ process. I sometimes don’t toot that horn as much as it deserves (because I don’t want to sound like I’m pushing a book sale), but it really does deserve a spotlight as a powerful manifesting aid.
    Thanks again, Kate!

  • Yes!! This is a good way to look at it.
    Lately I have been back to the PRJ and I can see how this plus the idea of story telling your goals is a tremendous way to motivate and dispel the idea that you are unrealistic for having the beautiful vision for your life.
    Totally cool!!

  • 8 to 11, huh, Michaela? Hmm .. that’s interesting to think back to that time and what was going on dream-wise back then.
    And to your point about how things get complicated as we get older, I think our opportunity is to turn that around. Maybe that’ll be a fun story to tell ourselves, huh?! lol
    Thanks for joining the conversation, Michaela! (I can’t help but wonder what YOU were dreaming about between the ages of 8-11?)

  • Kim Falconer says:

    I love this post and all the comments. Saying Yes and breaking out of the comfort zone, as MaryK suggests, and appreciating the childlike self that is still in touch with our authentic desires, as Michaela points out, all fit in with the idea of ‘Storytelling our lives’! .
    This power of storytelling never ceases to inspire me! 🙂
    I tell stories for a living now and more and more the scenes I write in my novels come walking straight into my life!
    I wrote a scene about forest ravens only to have one adopt me a few weeks later, doing the same antics as the one in my book! Last week I wrote about a particular rare lily and this week there is a clump of them growing on my path to the beach. Not kidding! ‘m still wrapping my mind around that. They aren’t even native. Where the heck did they come from?
    My thoughts?
    I wonder when the Sword Master Rowan An’ Lawrence is going to knock at my door 🙂 I think I’ll tidy up, just in case.
    I love deliberate creation!
    🙂 Kim

  • Michaela says:

    Hello Jeannette! I haven’t seen “Bedtime Stories” but I really like what you wrote about creating stories that are “fantastical”, not stuck in “what’s possible” with nothing being “off limits”. It reminds me of my dreams when I was a kid. Children dream up things without abandon (I certainly did), they create imaginary friends, imaginary pets and even imaginary worlds. I wonder, can we really conjure up ANYTHING, meaning manifest it in “real life”, too? How outrageously may you dream then?
    I remember reading that children between the age of 8 and 11 are particularly sensitive to their inner voices and actually know exactly what their real dreams and ambitions are. They know instinctively what’s good for them. So if you are looking for your life purpose, you should always go back to that exact period of time and remember what you really loved to do back then – and what your dreams were. So maybe kids intuitively know that the “impossible” dream might be possible after all because they are still open and receptive to dreaming “big”? Does this make sense?
    JM, I completely agree with you: I love to learn from “kids’ stuff”, too! 🙂 I’m still very fond of childrens books and movies and often wonder why things have to become so complicated when you get older.

  • Hmm, we’re finding lots of inspiration at the theaters, aren’t we?! Well, and at home with Netflix. 🙂
    Glad I’ve got such great company in appreciating and learning from our professional storytelling industry.
    Thanks for posting, Flavia!

  • Flavia says:

    We just saw “Bedtime Stories” this week-end and I loved it. First because of everything you said in this blog post and secondly because I really got the vibe of being told a bedtime story, which I kind of forgot how it felt.
    And I also enjoyed “Yes Man” very much. I highly recommend it!
    Talking about movies, I also saw “Frequency” on Netflix Instant view and I thought it was amazing. There’s a little mention of Quantum Mechanics and then through a series of “coincidences” he manages to contact his father from 30 years ago and help him stay alive by making a different decision. But by entwining the past, present and future, he gets much more than he bargained for. …Really fascinating!

  • I’ve heard several thumbs up on Yes Man, Mary, but I think it was this post from you that’s finally put me on track for seeing it.
    Thanks for sharing the inspiration you’ve picked up in the movies and inviting us to join you in it.
    I will follow your lead! 🙂

  • MaryK says:

    I haven’t seen Bedtime Stories yet, but another good movie out right now is Jim Carrey’s The Yes Man. I don’t particularly like Jim Carrey, but in this movie he wasn’t over the top and the message was really powerful for me.
    The movie is about a man who says “no” to everything in life and is basically miserable. A friend convinces him to go to a self-help seminar, where you learn to say “yes” to everything in life. After some convincing, Jim Carrey’s character begins to say “yes” to everything (including some things he really should have said “no” to!) and his life drastically changes for the better.
    For me the movie served as a good reminder that sometimes we need to break out of our comfort zone and try new things, instead of always doing things the same old way and wondering why the results in our life are the same as they’ve always been. And I’ve even started saying “yes” to some new things in my life since seeing the movie, and have been pleasantly surprised that I actually enjoyed doing the new things! I guess that was the whole point of the movie… 😉

  • In fact, JM, that’s something I’ve said to a couple of clients this week … that having kids in the house is like having living breathing examples who already embody several of the goals we have for ourselves. Certainly their ability to “detach from reality” is one of them!!
    Thanks for pitching in, JM. Let me know what you think of the show if/when you see it. And remember, I didn’t officially say “go see it” – I just managed to pull out some good stuff from it while I was there. 🙂

  • JM says:

    That is one of my favorite things about childrens entertainment! We truly learn the easiest rules about life from them, but something teaches us that it’s “silly…just for kids” stuff as we grow up.
    Had little desire to see this flick…and now I do!
    (You could work for the studios, Jeanette!)

  • Although it’s not a show I’d put on my top ten movies, it was excellent for the story telling inspiration/reminder.
    Let me know what you think if you see it, Thauna! 🙂
    Nice to see you here – you’re reminding me it’s time to check in on the Good News!!

  • Thauna says:

    Great post and awesome reminder! What a cool example of telling the store we want. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’m hoping to see it soon. I love Adam Sandler! I’m going to work on my fantastical story telling skills. Time to dust off my pray rain journal…why did ever did I put it down???

  • Excellent point, Ms. Nikki! Pray Rain Journaling is EXACTLY that! Developing our skills at storytelling, immersing ourselves in the scenes of what we want as if we were already there.
    Ha – thanks for pointing that out to me!! lol
    And thanks for being willing to embrace the pray rain journaling process yourself. I suspect you’ll have some fun news to share once you put that to work for yourself! 🙂

  • MsNikki says:

    I so love this idea of storytelling!!Isn’t that what the “Pray Rain Journaling” is all about? I bought the little e-book but haven’t started yet! I finally found the perfect Hello Kitty pink journal to start telling or rather writing my own stories!

  • Iyabo Asani says:

    O yes, Jeanette. This is a great movie. We cannot connect with our broader selves unless we ignite our imagination and story telling is one of the major ways we do that.
    Each of us is a master story teller because we can all find opinions that we have converted to facts in our lives.
    That indeed is storytelling.

  • Sounds like you picked up a great story to have some fun with, Ms. Tee!! That’ll be a fun one to hear the ending to! 🙂
    Thanks for reading and for posting, Mark and Ms. Tee. Much appreciated!

  • I like that, Mark: “the RIGHT and BIG imagination stories.” That’s what this show helped me find my way back to. Thanks for capturing the essence of what I enjoyed about the movie so well. lol

  • ms. tee says:

    i went to see this movie with my sons too and thought it was kinda boring but they liked it. i understand the principles that they were trying to stress though. adam seemed old and tired to me in this film. hes still cute though!
    this gave me an idea. i entered a contest to win tickets to the inauguration and the winners will be announced on friday. i will write a story tonite about what it will be like when i win and all the fun i’ll have in dc next week! ~smile~ feeling good just thinking about it!

  • Mark says:

    I loved the beautiful example of deliberate creation through telling the right and big imagination stories in Bedtime Stories. I’m happy my son talked us into going.

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