Roger von Oech

Creative Think

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I love the following description of the relationship between God and his creation:
"Come home yourself!
Come back to your senses! Do you hear that bird sing?
How can you hear the song and not hear the singer?
How can you see the wave and not see the ocean?
How can you see the dance and not see the dancer?"

we are the song, the wave, the dance...


nice post.

last year i ran a blog that was looking at proverbs on the tongue or speech posting one a day for a month.

the most intriguing and what became my favourite was:
a gentle word can break a bone

the blog is still up -

Tariq Khan


I enjoy reading your blog.

One of my favorite metaphors is in John 7:38. Jesus said that rivers of living water would flow from the innermost being of those who believed in Him.

There's so much to like about this metaphor. From the perspective of the one who believes, there is the aspect of a constant, powerful flow of a river. That blesses the believer -- speaking of power within. There is also the blessing of quenching thirst, water for crops (food from farming and seed for the next season's crop), and other things for those around the believer -- speaking of provision for their spiritual needs.

That the river flows out of the believer speaks of service to others. That it flows from within suggests that the service should be genuine and heartfelt.

The land that Jesus spoke in was mostly arid or desert. The flow of a river spoke of refreshing and restoration to those who were hot and probably weary. The metaphor would have evoked interest and probably stayed with the hearer for a considerable time.

David Anderson

since we all believe in synchronicity (don't we?), here is the metaphor - or proverb, if you will - that I got directly, March 4. (you can feel-out the meaning of this admonishment for yourself)

"Don't let them pin their tales, on your donkey"


One of the most stiking metaphors I've ever heard, was from one of my coachees "I've fought hard all my life to get on top of the [social] ladder; now I'm there, I realize it's against the wrong wall..." (he was 50 & pretty scared).

Roger von Oech

Peter: "We are the song, the wave, the dance." Good thoughts.

Jonny: Thanks for the link — good stuff. I wonder how Solomon would have fared in the blogosphere: "even fools are thought wise if they keep silent and discerning if they holds their tongues." Would Solomon be a King/Blogger?

Tariq: Great observations. Having just returned from the Nile River, I can attest to the power of flowing water in the midst of a great desert.

David: ! [Indeed]

YGG: What a striking image! It takes a lot of work — to say nothing of humility — to climb down and find a different wall against which to place one's ladder.

John E.

"An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips." Proverbs 24:26

Tom Haskins

From Taoism about the practice of emptiness:

Collide with an empty boat - no offense
Collide with a noisy boatload who ignore your warnings - offense

Tom Haskins

Some questions for colliding with empty boats:

What would change to take no offense?
a) Would we have to see the noisy boatload as empty?
b) Would we have to be empty to see empty?
c) both

What would we be empty of if we saw a noisy boatload as empty?
a) Reacting to evidence literally?
b) Thinking inside the box of conditioning, labels, and categories?
c) both

What would bring about such emptiness?
a) A whack on the side of the head?
b) A kick in the seat of the pants?
c) both ;-)

Roger von Oech

John E.: Thanks for your image.

Tom: You give me a lot to think about. You write your comments as though the were koans! : -- ) Thanks!

Mike Wagner

"Men without chest"

CS Lewis wrote about people that lacked virtue and honor and used this metaphor.

It came from Plato's symbolic anatomy of the human being.

For me it completes the relationship between "head" - reason and "belly" - desire. The head and belly are moderated by the chest.

Lewis raised the concern that we are becoming a society without "chest" and yet we still want and need people to act honorably and with virtue.

I think he was onto something.

You can read what Lewis had to say on this in the first chapter of "The Abolition of Man".

Great post Roger. The right metaphor in the right conversation can take that conversation to wonderful places.

Keep creating,

Roger von Oech

Mike: Thanks for your contribution. Thanks for putting some "chest" in the discourse!

Taoist Arts

There are loads in Taoism, like Chuang Tzu's famous 'Am I a man dreaming I'm a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming I'm a man'

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