The most powerful story of all

Fairytale scene - butterflies

I watched the new live action version of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ not once, but twice last week. The original animation came out when I was 10 years old, and the latest version hasn’t changed at all. It struck me as I sat glued to the screen that there’s a reason, other than being a hopeless romantic, that these stories call to us, and don’t age.

At its heart, the story is the unfolding process of the two main characters having their hearts broken open. There is a moment when Belle and the Beast are wandering around the frozen gardens of the Beast’s castle, which are in an eternal winter, and he says to Belle that it feels like he is looking at it for the first time.

His external surroundings haven’t changed, but because internally he is shifting, softening, everything externally does change for him.

Equally Belle must let go of her judgement and fall in love with the Beast as he is before the spell is broken, and any external transformation can occur.

It is, as the soundtrack reminds us, the ‘tale as old as time’ of lostness and redemption. Of turning around and seeing that you had everything you needed all along.

It’s a timeless tale that has always mesmerised us, and always will, because it’s all we’re ever up to in this life.

Tale as old as time
True as it can be
Barely even friends
Then somebody bends

Just a little change
Small to say the least
Both a little scared
Neither one prepared
Beauty and the beast

Ever just the same
Ever a surprise
Ever as before
Ever just as sure
As the sun will rise


Whatever we’re up to in life, it’s always this: trying to find ‘home’ again. And if we’re lucky, we’ll wake up to the fact that it’s not in a far off utopia, but has been with us all along.

As I was watching I was reminded of two of my mentors, Chip and Jan Chipman, who are masters at pointing us back ‘home’, through their powerful, timeless stories. The story of how Jan saw through Chip’s fear and anger to the beauty of his heart. How Chip let go of being right and got curious about what Jan had discovered. The story of how Chip forgave his father, and his father forgave himself.

At the end of one of Chip and Jan’s events, I said to Chip how much the story of his father had resonated with me. He looked at me and said, in his beautiful, soft way, ‘When it comes down to it, we all have the same story’.

When it comes down to it, whatever film we’re watching, book we’re reading or even client we’re working with, it’s always the same story. What I’m seeing more and more, is that there’s untold treasures in the simplest of things. The story of the heart is not a complex one. But it is a constant one, and one that will always bewitch us… because it is one we all share.



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