“Our stories come from our lives and from the playwright’s pen, the mind of the actor, the roles we create, the artistry of life itself and the quest for peace.” ~ Maya Angelou
My life long mission has been to understand human nature. That’s why I became a writer, and why I am now preparing to launch a podcast about the importance of story. As my first three guests all expressed, stories are what makes us human. It’s why stories were told around campfires, why civilization after civilization created myths that we still study today. That’s why we continue to create modern myths. On some level we’re on our own quests to understand ourselves.
These ten weeks of staying at home, I’ve been writing and exploring the stories that have great meaning to myself and my podcast guests. And I’ve been reading a lot. I’m trying to make sense out of all the crazy stuff going on.
The latest book I picked up is Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer by Gregg Braden. As I read the second chapter about the link between hurt, love, forgiveness, and wisdom, I realized why millions of people flock to the box office to see some of the big block buster movies of the recent past. These movies are our modern myths. They examine the link between experiencing pain and suffering and the decision to heal or not and they do it on an epic scale. The characters make a kaleidoscope of choices that we get to examine. Actually all stories do this for us. That’s why we’re such big story consumers.
Gregg Braden wrote something that made me pause. He asserts that the size of our “hurt” reflects the size of the opportunity to open up to love and forgiveness, which eventually leads us to wisdom. And I found that to be extremely profound. Braden has studied ancient cultures all over the planet and our human story throughout the centuries has always been the same. No one escapes experiencing pain. The wisdom that’s been passed down to us is a result of people who have dealt with their suffering. We don’t learn anything positive from avoiding feeling our pain.
When I have suffered huge painful events, I’ve recognized that I have a choice. There are two paths I could take. I could try to avoid the pain. Or I could embrace my suffering and move toward, forgiveness, love and eventually the gift of understanding what wisdom the pain was trying to get me to see. It’s my choice.
After a particularly life shattering incident years ago, I wanted to mask my pain, to blame others for it, and to seek revenge. I held onto those feelings and made my life miserable. I fell into a kind of dark pit and don’t really remember much about those years. I was going through the motions of being alive as I nurtured the hurt. I had put myself into a cage.
I’m not sure what brought me out of my stupor. It might have been my father’s death. When the extended family gathered, we shared so much love, and some family drama too as happens during family crises. Suffering brings out our best and worst natures. But one thing was clear, we shared stories about my father that showed what a positive influence his love had on all of us. I thought, “I want to be a person like my dad. I want people to remember me with love.” And so I acknowledged that it was time to examine my pain and start working on forgiveness.
Fortunately, I was teaching English at the time and in some of the stories, the characters had to deal with horrendous situations. I was able to do some self-examination through osmosis. The characters kind of pointed the way for me to deal with my own pain. Forgiveness and healing didn’t come to me for a long time, but I felt better and better as I let go of my suffering.
I’ve taken this great opportunity of being home, to re-evaluate my life. What grudges have I been holding onto, what wounds have I left unhealed. It’s been a revelation how many wounds and grudges I’ve glossed over and ignored. But I want to deal with them now or else I won’t be able to move forward when we come out of this crisis. Of course, it will be an ongoing process, but I know from experience, it’s worth my efforts.
I hope you are staying safe and healthy and maybe even doing some reevaluation as well.
Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. Welcome to my new followers. I’d love to hear the creative projects you’re working on or any “aha” moments you’re experiencing.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.
Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.
The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.