And where are most people before they embark on a critical trans-formative process? The strengths of the times are also the challenges. Vast information and conflicting value systems and powerful global forces combine to create a potentially overwhelming context to respond to as a growing individual. Our education system runs on top down industry orientated principles that homogenize and ostracize. Our cultural history is laden with the trauma of world wars, colonialism and the destruction of natural beauty and ancient cultures. The world our parents grew in, and their parents before them, is gone, but the legacy remains. Each generation has thrust upon them the psychic material from the past...
It has been my great pleasure to find myself in service of the Story, that ephemeral realm of character, setting, and process. Stories and storytelling are arguably what makes us human, and a great deal of emphasis is placed on narrative, paradigm and dare I even say it 'truth'. What I find to be particularly significant, is that a story both serves and obscures, it is a map, and a blindfold. Life experiences often impress upon me the importance of a trans-contextual, and indeed integrative approach to stories. It is no secret that there are patterns that shine forth from the apparent chaos. One only has to look with an eye for similarity, rather than difference, and patterns, large enough to encompass the spectrum of human experience, appear. Pattern recognition is that delightful part of human intelligence that showers grace on the fussy beggar of the mind. Here, and in moments like this, there is something that leaps out at us, a cartographer's sense of order. The full territory may not be mapped, but there is enough ink on the page to know, at the very least, that there are indeed dragons, and by god someone else noticed too!
So, having survived a desperate longing for...belonging, in a world of maddening complexity, how can I best transmit that which helped me to settle into a sense of safety? Well, if not safety then at least an invigoration in the face of uncertainty. Determining the difference between the two seems unnecessary, given the effect is the same; a desire to share the wonder and scale of a story that allows for both safety and challenge, that cutting edge of a life that expresses itself in totality, in a present moment that is born of two mothers: the falling and the flying, the speaking and the listening.
Metaphor and symbol could well be thought of as gods. We could erect great statues in honor of the divinity of these fundamental elements of experience itself. Such majesty in seeing through the titanic eyes of these gods. What does a thing represent? What do a few things, in relation to each-other represent? The pattern speaks to us with these voices. And importantly, us, not some abstract sense of what a person is, but to us in our personal experience. Somehow, and this seems miraculous, metaphors and symbols speak from the abstract to the personal in an inclusive way. However, we need to have the courage to allow our personas the required flexibility to be seen! This is to say, omens are many, if we want to hear what they say. Their messages come hidden in plain sight in all experiences.
The liminal zone, that space between worlds, is the comfort of some, and unknown to others. There is, at any moment, a source of importance, a mysterious fuel that feeds a fire in the consciousness of experience. Harnessing this substance, the very feeling of 'emphasis', 'meaningness', 'significance', is the act of connecting to the unknown powers within and without. The shape of the fire is not so important as knowing how to catch this essential spark.
How then do we seize this dragon-fire? The terrible truth is, without facing the fearsome beast itself, ourselves, we don't really know what the fire is. Do we need to be burned in order to understand the power of fire? Challenge is a double edged sword, slaying and discerning. Fear does strange things to one's sense of importance. Avoidance is the other face of fascination...the very thing we turn away from is the gatekeeper to the tunnel through obstruction. Death, disillusion and the void await the courageous explorer.
Rebuilding, reigniting, carrying the torch out of the dark forest, branches scratching ones face maybe, fleeing the wolves of truth maybe, we return by choice or perhaps we fall straight back to the dinner table, and no-one even notices we were gone. How do we know what we found? We found it, nobody else, so it falls to us to speak it. As we hear ourselves tell our travels, we find that we are not so different after all. That lots of dragons have been encountered, and lots of fires reclaimed.
What have you found? Where did you go to find it? How did you get there?
I build a fire, to catch a spark. The spark was thine, by the fire is mine. The wood is hers, and I lay down my furs. A dance of dust, with feet of land, and the breath of light, in wizard's hand.
These are words, for shaping worlds, but tongues that speak long grow weak. Shorter still, the best in town, I laugh and laugh...a shadow clown. Wild dogs run circles nearby. Will you dare come closer? There are seats, one for you and me. Lets share this night, and this burning tree.
Creative Mentoring and Personal Mythology