This is why we tell the story…
life is why… pain is why… love is why… grief is why… hope is why… faith is why… you are why
–once on this island (flaherty/ahrens)
There are times I wonder what it’s all for – not always in a futile sense (though we all have our days) but curiously, inspecting the thing to see what it is. Why do we do these plays, tell these stories, over and over again? Why is Shakespeare still relevant these centuries later? Why do I write, talk about my own journey and process, when yours is inevitably your own?
“When the student is ready, the teacher appears,” we say. I think teachers can appear in all sorts of guises, be they books, quotes, people, blog posts – however the message can get to us, it will, just when we are ready and able to hear it.
When I reflect on the teachers in my own life, the shifts and passages and the inspirations that led me along, I can see how each thing led to the next. Or maybe we just like to look at it that way in hindsight, make a linear story out of a motley existence. But it seems at least at some point that it all makes a sort of divine sense – I couldn’t learn that lesson until l did. I wasn’t ready to move out East until the option of safety had been swept out from under me. It’s the old hitting rock bottom truism. Why we all let things get impossibly worse before they get better is beyond me, but it seems to be how we learn.
Some of it is choices. Some of it is just the erosion of time and goodwill on the hardened callouses of habit, until comes the moment when our shiny pink potential can see the sun. Even after we’ve been at that thing with the pumice stone til our eyes cross.
At the moment I’m re-reading Women Who Run with the Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, a Jungian psychoanalyst and cantadora (a singer of songs! a teller of tales) who uses the power of story to open gateways to the soul and spirit. She is a keeper of stories, an archaeologist of fairytale and myth, unearthing the bones of the old teaching stories from before they were whitewashed by Grimm and Disney. She talks of these tales as nourishment, as maps, so that no matter who we are or where we are in our lives, we can find ourselves in them and plot our way forward. “This being human,” as Rumi put it, is nothing new. There have been many before us, and thank the stars they told the story, and over again, for those days (like maybe yesterday) when we thought we were the first and only to ever feel like this.
The uncertainty is why we tell the story. To remember is why we tell the story. To express ourselves, to teach, to pave the way for whoever follows, to re-affirm those who have gone before. To process, to heal, to get through the day, to forgive, to laugh, to lighten up.
Why else, do you think? Leave a comment and let me know.