The Story of the Millipede
Inspiration for beginners
Learn the wisdom of the millipede in this heartwarming story that will inspire you in those moments when you feel confused, overwhelmed, or unsure of where to go next on your personal journey. The millipede reminds us of what to do when we fall and how to get back up.
In this episode we discuss:
The millipede's journey
How this relates to our own creative process and the journey to peace
I've had this story with me since I first discovered it in 2015 in Robert McKee's book. It's been on my cork board this whole time and continues to inspire me in those difficult moments. The moments when I feel like I have too many things going on, too many interests, or when I discover a new gift that I've had all along and I don't quite know how to integrate it into my life.
We can travel on our journey in a reaction based way but I'm sure you've found that it will only get you so far. What would it look like instead to spend some time learning more about yourself or a particular gift you've had that's calling for more attention? What would you learn about yourself if you allowed yourself the time on the forest floor exploring? What new dance move would you have as you resurface?
I know you are full of wisdom. I'm sure if you're here you have many passions and an incredibly big heart. No matter where you find yourself in this story - I invite you to continue to move forward. Ask for help from someone who's been working on something similar, give yourself some time and space to understand who you are on a deeper level, and don't be afraid to stumble or fall.
What's waiting on the other side for you might just be a new way of being in this world, a more dialed in and realized version of yourself, and a beautiful dance that you were not meant to miss.
The story of the Millipede:
High above the forest floor, a millipede strolled along the branch of a tree, her thousand pairs of legs swinging in an easy gait. From the tree top, song birds looked down, fascinated by the synchronization of the millipede’s stride. “That’s an amazing talent,” chirped the songbirds. “You have more limbs than we can count. How do you do it?” And for the first time in her life the millipede thought about this. “Yes,” she wondered, “how do I do what I do?” As she turned to look back, her bristling legs suddenly ran into one another and tangled like vines of ivy. The songbirds laughed as the millipede, in a panic of confusion, twisted herself in a knot and fell to earth below.
On the forest floor, the millipede, realizing that only her pride was hurt, slowly, carefully, limb by limb, unraveled herself. With patience and hard work, she studied and flexed and tested her appendages, until she was able to stand and walk. What was once instinct became knowledge. She realized she didn’t have to move at her old, slow, rote pace, She could amble, strut, prance, even run and jump. Then, as never before, she listened to the symphony of the songbirds and let music touch her heart. Now in perfect command of thousands of talented legs, she gathered courage, and, with a style of her own, danced and danced a dazzling dance that astonished all the creatures of her world.
-Robert McKee, author of Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principle of Scriptwriting
- Where are you in this cycle right now? Are you on the forest floor, losing your balance, or dancing with the songbirds?
- What are all of the parts of you that hold you up as you move through this life? (talents, experiences, certifications, strengths, deep knowings)
- Draw a picture of where you are right now in this story. You might want to add symbols or words on each leg of the millipede.