Scheherezade, the Power of Story & the Creative Mind

Do you know the tale of Scheherezade, the famous queen and storyteller o fOne Thousand and One Nights? The thing that I love about her is that unlike so many fairy tale heroines she is as brilliant as she is beautiful.

As the story goes, the king Shahryar’s wife was unfaithful to him. Upon learning of her infidelity Shahryar is so upset that he vows never to be betrayed again and marries a new bride each day and killing her the next, so she never has the chance. At his command this horrible fate befalls a thousand women...but not Scheherezade.

You see, Scheherezade convinces the king to allow her to say goodbye to her sister, whom she has secretly told beforehand to request she tell a story.Scheherezade begins to weave riveting a tale for her sister and the king, who listens with rapt attention. He is so disappointed when it remains unfinished as the dawn breaks that he spares Scheherezade, so she can finish the story the next night.  
The next evening, she finishes it and begins an even more fantastic tale only to leave it unfinished as the dawn breaks. Again, the king spares her, so she can finish the story the next night. This continues for 1001 nights and 1000 stories and the king realizes he has fallen in love with Scheherezade and makes her his queen. And talk about the power of story!

Telling her stories literally saves Scheherezade’s life.

And what a beautiful metaphor that is for creating, sharing our stories and expressing ourselves. When our voices are silenced, a part of us slowly dies. For those of us who write or paint or dance or sing or create heart-led businesses and other beautiful things, expressing that creativity is a kind of lifeline. Even if we don’t think of ourselves as creative (and, believe me, we allare creative beings!), we all need some kind of outlet in our lives to express ourselves. But, even more importantly, as human beings we need to be heard. We are by nature expressive and we need creative play, but often we don’t gives ourselves the time to explore the right half of our brains.

And this is sad, because the truth is that beautiful things start to happenwhen we use our voices and when we give in to our creative impulses. Einstein described creativity as "seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought." And it's true. Using our creative mind shifts our perspective. Through creative endeavors, we often find ourselves processingideas and sometimes even deep feelings that have been with us for a long time in new ways and we start to flourish. And that's why storytelling is not just Scheherezade’s art, but her lifeline. Have you found yours?

Creative expression, whether that means writing, dancing, bird-watching, or cooking, can give a person almost everything that he or she has been searching for: enlivenment, peace, meaning, and the incalculable wealth of time spent quietly in beauty.

~ Ann Lamotte