I began this post on May 22, 2011. Here it is June, nearly mid June already.
Weeks and weeks have flown by with too many deep thoughts, new possibilities and unexpected connections making my head spin. How can I possibly capture the moment when the moment is so fleeting? I want to write about it, I do, and yet living keeps stopping me from pausing long enough to string words together.
The urge to begin posting again forces me to the keyboard where the computer screen confronts me with at least ten possible threads to follow…I have been jotting notes for the last several weeks you know…this blog world never far from my heart’s mind.
And the note that stands out in this moment is this:
We are all connected by the stories that stream through us.
AND we need a new story about how the world works.
But oddly enough it’s a very, very, very old story.
I realized recently that I am in service of awakening the mythic consciousness and nudging us toward new cultural storylines, reclaiming the power of myth and story to guide us through these extraordinary times. We are the ones who bring the stories through. . .not necessarily the originators of the stories but the receiver of the storyline from the world around us – as nature and the world and our cultures change, so do the stories…we need not only to reclaim our ancestors’ stories but feel our way into new stories responsive to now, which may bring us back to the old ones.
David Abram pops into my mind, he who wrote Spell of the Sensuous and Being Animal. I remember the brilliance of his ethical thinking. He suggests that we need an ethics of reciprocity to help us stop pillaging and raping and devouring the very earth on which we depend. And he points out that it is impossible to have reciprocity when we consider the world around us as inert, dead, dumb. An inanimate world cannot respond to our overtures.
So it’s simple! Change our storylines. Begin telling ourselves that the world around us is alive and responsive.
That’s all! A simple change in our modern story.
Let that idea sit in you for a second.
Imagine how the world would be if we modern, urban people knew the world was sentient and capable of response, just as all our ancient ancestors did.
Do you sense the enormity of the consequences? Religious institutions would teeter. Psychology would be upended! Being schooled only by other two-leggeds would not cut the mustard.
But for us to survive on this wee planet, we need to take these risks.
Because I haven’t wanted to be considered crazy, I haven’t shared with many an experience that shocked me as a mid-life woman. I’m telling that pivotal story now! Back in 1992, I spent two months in solitude on a wondrous island lying betweenVancouver Island,Canada, and the mainland. I was walking in the cedar forest and feeling bereft. Needing comfort, I spotted a grandmother cedar and without thinking rushed up to her with no introduction and flung my arms around her as if I had the right to invade her personal space that way…as if she stood there only for me. What hubris!
The instant my arms reached round her girth, a guttural utterance raced through my mind. “Get your f—ning hands off me.” I don’t generally use that swear word which made the statement all the more real to me. I reared back full of apologies and shock.
I had shown no respect, made assumptions and presumptions – the cedar spoke to me unequivocally and I had no doubt that this communication came from the tree.
My storyline changed for good then and there…
I’d love to hear some of your living world stories- the ones that reveal life pulsing all around you – the stories that catapulted you over a threshhold and into a new way of bone deep belly full knowing…
Thanks for joining me around this blog-lit fire.
I have a similar story. i was doing streambank work on a reservation a few years ago, and at the end of the job I was collectiong some rocks from the stream side to take home as souvenirs, as I do from every place I go. I was carrying one back to my truck when It literally spoke to me and told me to put it back. I swear I could hear chanting and drumbeats too, and an uncomfortable sense of foreboding. I put the rock back exactly where I got it from, and immediately felt better. I asked and was told I could keep the rest of the rocks – but only because I had asked. I gained a whole new perspective of how intertwined and sacred everything is. Because I was there doing work, i had not taken the time to appreciate how special this place was. I had missed that until the rock “spoke” to me.
Thank you so much, Sherry, for sharing your rock story. A perfect tale to illustrate how our ethics change when we recognize the world around us is sentient. I also appreciate that you are involved with watershed restoration. Now that I live near Puget Sound I am committed to salmon restoration – which relates…as all of it does!
So glad you found my blog and took the time to comment. If you have a blog, too, let me know.