I’m in a workshop this weekend, studying mythology and personal mythology. I signed up for this workshop because I’m interested in story and how humankind repeats the same stories throughout history. Those stories, myths from Greece, fairy tales from Europe, tales from around the world give us clues as to who we are and what our purpose is. Those stories help us to see what it means to be a whole human being.
I’m also here because I’m aware that we are all living through a story that’s bigger than we are. It’s a story that frustrates me, that makes me angry, that makes me feel impotent; a story of good vs evil, right vs wrong, violence vs peaceful, and truth vs fact. So, what to do with this? What I’d like to do is go to Washington with my posse of women friends and clean the House . . . and the Senate! Wash out the mouths of every politician who has lowered themselves to blaming, shaming and name calling. Wash their mouths out with soap until they stop and see that good only comes when we united and we don’t make each other the enemy.
In fiction writing there’s a saying: “get your protagonist up a tree as fast as you can and then throw rocks at them.” Well, I think we’re up the tree. And here is the great calling. In the hero’s journey there is the call and the refusal of the call. Has my anger and frustration been my refusal of the call? Do I need to trust that change will happen with millions of little steps taken by millions of people? Do I need to remind myself that for all the good we do, for all the beauty we create, we often don’t get to see the results? To take those steps, anyway – that is the answering of the call.
Each of us makes a difference in how we live our lives. For me, I want to care about others. I want to practice kindness. I want to make art. This is the quest for me: To parse through my anger and frustration about the state of this country, and the state of the world, and then to live life as an homage to all that is good and beautiful. I don’t mean sticking my head in the sand. There are times and opportunities to march, to protest, to write, to share about the hard things that matter – each of us, in our own way.
Anne Frank wrote in her diary, that in spite of everything, she still believed that people were basically good. I want to believe that too. I experience that from the people around me – it’s just that the power-hungry, the politicians have the bigger megaphone right now, but not necessarily the bigger force. I need to remember that.
Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground, wrote the 17th century poet, Rumi. Maybe that is the first little step, being faithful to the beauty that I love.