Reply To: What does your story have to do with myth?
Hello James and all,
Thank you for your lovely post that explores the idea of a “personal myth” and one’s own story. You ask, ” what does this type of framework have to do with: Art, Literature, Music, or any of the other forms of expression and one’s idea of who they are and their moment in time?” These are big questions, and for me very difficult to answer, because I find I am constantly uncovering another lost part of me, and wondering how did I land here? Thank you for the youtube video of Dead Poet’s Society — Robin Williams quotes Walt Whitman:
“Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?”
So this is where I am right now in life, James, “Of myself forever reproaching myself, for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless? and “Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me, Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined”
But to answer your question, ‘what will your verse be?’ I do have a verse, albeit borrowed from a poet, and it is, “I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.” (John O’Donohue). The powerful play goes on and I am simply flowing.
These days, Dr. Peter Fenwick’s research on dying and the art of dying + other articles and posts, have occupied a good part of my reading. Story telling does hold a very important place in his research as he explores the experiences of the dying or those who nearly died.
Citing Peter Fenwick, who among other things, is a Neuropsychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital and at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England, and is widely regarded as an authority on the subject of Near Death Experiences and the mind brain problem. Dr. Peter Fenwick writes that the dying have a hundred stories to tell. It’s these stories that they share with the health care workers in nursing homes and in hospice centers that bring meaning to their life’s journey.
Dr. Fenwick writes, “It is the nursing and hospice care-workers and relatives who are, and who, we found as this research progressed, had a wealth of stories to tell. …….We were told many stories by the families of the dying of visits made by the dying at the time of death to someone emotionally close to them, and the message that they always gave, that they were ‘OK’ (Fenwick & Fenwick 2008; Fenwick & Brayne. 2010). Fenwick, Peter. Shining Light on Transcendence: The unconventional journey of a Neuroscientist . White Crow Books. Kindle Edition.
He adds that our instinctive side has dominated the reflective side. And as the dying reflect on their lives, they relive those moments through stories. He notes that “these two sides (the instinctive and the reflective) are characterized by mythological stories throughout the ages, ‘with battles between good and evil, the Jekyll and Hyde aspects of our personality.” That our battles intensify as we approach our sunset years. This weaves into what Alain Forget (another scholar that Fenwick quotes in his book) writes, “Remember how the Devil tempted Christ during the forty days in the desert and how Mara and his army of demons appeared in front of the Buddha just before his awakening. It is always the same mechanism, always the same story.” He adds that to awaken is to compel an illusion to see that it is an illusion”. And, Dr. Bucher in his latest mythblast wrote, that “an impactful story can cause oppressors to turn from their harmful ways. It can also unite people around a tyrant. It can end a season of torment and cause new life to bloom forth from stony ground”
Today, in the forest, I did find new life – blooming
What greatly resonates with me is Dr. Bucher’s earlier post on courage, and strength in writing a new story. James that’s what I am waiting for, a new story, collectively experienced.
Quoting Dr. Bucher, from his earlier post, not the latest Mythblast, “We find story at the core of every art form, both known and unknown to us. Storytelling empowers us to charge into the cyclical patterns of our own life, believing that a better chapter may be waiting on the other side of the darkness. Where a previous year might have brought struggle, heartbreak, or even tragedy, an inherent drive within us draws our eyes toward the horizon and causes us to consider the possibilities that may lie beyond the horizon if we can stir up the courage to craft new wings and fly towards it. Perhaps there is new release waiting, as Campbell and Joyce believed. Perhaps there are unseen allies, mentors, and strategic partners just around the bend in our journey, if we only turn our mind to unknown arts and rise to believe what might be possible in the new beginning we just collectively experienced. Many of us long for a new story— a better story—in this new year. May we rise together, finding fresh narratives, enchanting opportunities, and the tools to craft new wings.”
Presently, it’s holding on to my belief, “that a better chapter may be waiting on the other side of the darkness. ” Hence the verse, “I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.”