Myth and Storytelling with Martin Shaw

My notes from the weekend with Martin Shaw.

May 19, 2018


  • Rain movement is masculine; rain essence is feminine (Guatemala)
  • The time between dog and wolf is the time between dusk and night
  • Tatterhood is born the moment before the time you are born
  • We each have a Tatterhood; and, our adult journey is to find our Tatterhood (wild twin)
  • When Tatterhood was born she was relentless shamelessness
  • My says “earn your name” — find what you stand for and earn it
  • FOLLOW-UP: “lament of the dead” by Carl Jung
  • In Fairytales, the one who is not named is usually “you”
  • When beholding a fairytale, ask “Where is this working on my bones?”
    • Cthonic = Belly of you
  • Wear your shadow as your cloak
  • “Pin pricks of the eternal” —> Rilke
  • “Find the right kind of trouble” – Irish saying
  • “Giving others a chance to wonder”
  • “Confusion is a ritual device” in myth
  • “matter” and sense of the story
    • Matter is what happened
    • Sense is your experience and the details you put into it
  • Age 10 to 14 boys = 50x the testosterone
  • Cinderbiter
  • Brooding spots: Sit in the presence and see what it says to you
  • Locker — write in with green ink so you don’t scare away the spirits

Goose Girl:

  • Seeing the horse but not the rider
  • “Joyful participation in the sorrows of the world” — Hindu saying
  • Without chaos there is no eros
  • The dead horse’s head says to Goose Girl, “Your mother would have weeped a hundred years to see what has has happened” … “What you are going through is not okay” and it is important to know that; for your pain to be witnessed
  • Don’t show the gold too early
  • Treating goose gathering as the holiest of vocations
  • “Gathering my geese” – gathering my thoughts in the morning
  • “My heartbreak is not my children’s business”
  • Before two people get married, he tells them to go look at a magpie — the blue chemical makes the feather look blue from different angles
  • “Live in the tension of the leap”
  • Shaw decided to be a bridge rather than to leap
  • “The loneliest thing is a debt free society” – Martin Shaw

May 20, 2018


  • Alisa shared about her husband dying of ALS
  • The commonality of ALS patients was an overriding sense of duty and responsibility
  • They all had the black seed of “I am not enough” planted in them.
  • “Find a way to tell your story but cut out all the lies” – Robert Bly
  • As we get older we send our personal energy away
    • Bit by bit we give up what we love
    • How do we get out of exile? Those parts of us that we have seen away
  • “If you haven’t been fed, become bread” – Robert Bly
  • “Cultivate the details, and take courage” – Martin Shaw referring to the writing of his first book, which made no sense at the time. He was playing in a wedding band, working in fast food, etc.

Finn mac Cumhail pronounced Finn McCool

  • Life preserving vs. life giving
    • Live like a mighty river
  • “If you are around a young man, and you don’t figure out a way to praise them, you are hurting them.” – Martin Shaw
  • Rumi’s “Greedy soul”
    • Coleman Barks “I was on television to 90m people, it was almost enough”
  • Where is your longing?
  • Longing will not be met but desire has a possibility
  • “Holding longing well is dancing well on the tip of a spear” – Irish Saying
  • “Let the souls meet” is the courtship
  • The women was part fairie, woman and deer
  • “What good is a feast without you?” — say that to one and other 😉
  • Remember you have an audience in the other world” — make yours worth watching/telling tales about
    • What are you doing to get their attention?
  • “The wilder Finn got, the calmer he became.”
  • If the rivers flowed with silver, and all the leaves were gold, Finn would give them all away” Try to be as generous as Finn.
  • These stories will mentor you
  • What has your longing given you that you have?
  • “Myth is the only thing to hold what has happened”
  • “proceed as if the world is alive”
    • Give life to the world — e.g., the tree or the wood is your grandfather
  • Depth, humor and humility — all the men
  • Storycarryer — can we find a way of telling the truth?
  • “Be as magnificent as the mountain, and as giving as a river” – Vijay
  • Regarding saving the world, “Victory is not a priority for me.” – Martin Shaw
  • “I need to write at the edge of my understanding” – Jung
  • “Your incompleteness is your authenticity. You are enough…you have more than enough what you need. Take courage.” – Martin Shaw
  • “Who has God blessed more than you?” – Martin Shaw
  • We see thistle; William Blake would see a little grey man waving at him.
  • “Don’t wait for an audience” — Martin Shaw
  • Exercise: Make a timeline of when you gave away exiled parts of you away…

The Lindworm

  • “We all have a dark serpent”
  • Needle and thread the life you make
  • “No fear, no meanness, no evil” – Grandfather
  • “Soul of a man is feminine”
  • “Sometimes a man stands up during super” – Rilke
  • “We want a to be defeated by greater beings” – Rilke
  • “I knew to be a half descent father, I would need to give some excitement and I was willing to do that” – Martin Shaw
  • “How many times do you need to be consumed by an experience, before you know how to enter it” – Martin Shaw
  • What serpent did you exile?
  • Accountability vs consequence

Relevant Links:

A Short Video about Martin Shaw:


Martin Shaw on Soundcloud:

Martin Shaw’s recent book:

Martin Shaw’s Website:




How to pitch an idea to anyone?

How to pitch something to anyone?

1. Understand your why:

Why you do what you do is more important than anything you will do. It is the intention behind something that people can read in your voice.

2. Understand their Needs:

There are six human needs (as summed up by Tony Robbins). Certainty, Uncertainty, Significance, Love/Connection, Growth and Contribution.

What need are you fulfilling for that individual? What need are you fulfilling for that individuals friends, family, customers, etc.

This idea of needs is not a method to mind hack others by fulfilling their needs. Rather, it is an opportunity to build empathy, by creating mutual understanding.

3. Re-Write Down Your Story:

You may have told your story many times, but write it down. And, re-write it. Writing forces us to face our thoughts and fears about what we are doing, and to question why we are doing it.

4. Determine the three Key Takeaways:

After a decade of management consulting,
I have learded one thing : keep it simple. Understand the three most key aspects of your story and why — share this with the world. The arc of your story can always be summed up with three key points. When someone leaves an interaction with you, give them a palpable feeling and story. This doesn’t mean you should over think it. Rather you should have the inner clarity to focus on what is really important to you. And, separate the signal from the noise for friends.

5. Plant Seeds:

The most important thing we will ever do is plant seeds and slowly water the seed at its natural place. There is no rush, there is no right time. Everything happens when it is supposed to. All else is a fiction of the mind wanting something to happen or grow faster. We can’t make the earth spin faster or we can’t make it go around the sun faster. We most must make consistent and reliable effort.

When we plant seeds, we give room for things to grow, but we also give room for other roots to go deeper. We don’t let our ambition of an apple seed to be a peach tree. We give it space to grow and be what it is. There is a great deal of beauty in this frame of mind.

6. Love is the most important thing.

We need to always remember this. Share your love and people can feel it share your true and authentic story, and then share how you are being this in the world. All else is crap and we all know it. It is only whether we are being real enough to take a chance and keep going after it.

The only stories that I have have shared with anyone that have had a lasting impact, are the ones that have heart and are real and raw.

And, on that note, this post wasn’t too raw…

How to write a good storyline? Or, create an awesome powerpoint deck…

Storyline Checklist:
  • Did you consider your audience and purpose?
  • How much time can you realistically take per slide + questions + other presentation derailments?
  • Do you have an objectives slide (i.e. why are we here today?)
  • Does the story follow a logical and coherent flow (i.e. inductive or deductive reasoning based on quantitative and qualitative analysis)?
  • Is there a clear theme? Or, three key takeaways?
  • On any slide or bullet point, can you answer the question: “so what?”
  • What is your “money slide?” The slide that someone could rip away from the deck and be enchanted.
  • Is the hypothesis proven by data? – charts, graphs, tables, quotes
  • Are the charts, graphs, text and voice consistent?
  • Is the implicit made explicit (i.e. state your assumptions)?
Slide Writing Checklist:
  • Is the language consistent (i.e. Titles and bullets consistent)?
  • Is the text the right size for the audience and purpose?
  • Does the slide communicate one clear and easy to understand message?
  • Have you included section indicators (i.e. a header or navigator to recenter your audience on what you are taking about)?
  • Did you clearly cite your sources?
  • Can you transition easily between slides?
  • Did you use active voice (never use passive, it’s passive)?
  • Have you proofread the deck? Begin from the last slide and start from the bottom sentence and move forward. When you read out of context you will find more typos.
  • Have you done an accuracy and sanity check of the data? Explain this to your 15 year old niece or nephew, does it make sense?
  • Are the slides consistently formatted individually and versus all the other slides (e.g., text and graphic alignment)?
  • Do you have page numbers?
  • If it is a draft, did you include “Draft for discussion purposes?”
Source: Based off my mentors and trainers from Diamond Management and Technology Consultants.