Modern Mythology Lessons

Statue of Zeus in Greece

“The more difficult it is for us to articulate our experiences of loss, longing, and feeling lost to the people around us, the more disconnected and alone we feel.” 

~ Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience

“We are dangerous when we are not conscious of our responsibility for how we behave, think, and feel.” ~ Marshall B. Rosenberg

Shane as Iron Man

All the crazy things that have been going on in the world the last few years have convinced me of one thing; it is our out of control emotions, and our failure to take responsibility for them, that causes all the pain and suffering in the world.

I’m preparing to teach Dramatic Structure one last time. Watching the movies I’ve chosen I got to thinking about all the things we can learn from stories. In fact I believe they were one of the very first teaching tools of humanity.

Out of all the lessons we can learn by discussing the nuances of stories, I think emotional intelligence is the most useful. For some reason, characters from the MCU came to my mind. Even though I’m 69 years old, we have a teenage nephew who is a huge superhero nerd. So, to keep up with him, we have watched lots and lots of superhero movies, both DC and MCU. I have to say the MCU is my favorite series, but Wonder Woman is amazing.

Anyway, while we were in the PNW on vacation, we watched the latest Spider Man movie. In that version, (spoiler alert), there are three versions of Peter Parker. The older ones help the youngest one solve a really big problem and in the process the teenage Peter, learns a bit about his emotions and that it’s not good to stuff them.

So, I do this random thing where I’m thinking about a story in the back of my mind as I’m doing other things. One thought led me to another. First, superhero movies are one genre of modern stories that are our modern mythology. Then I was thinking about the things we learn from stories. And this random tidbit from my teacher training came to me. It’s as important to foster emotional intelligence in our students as it is mental processes, so they can learn to think critically. In fact, Those two things go hand-in-hand.

The MCU is a perfect example of the importance of emotional intelligence. There are characters on either end of the spectrum from highly emotionally intelligent to not very emotionally intelligent at all. Here is my example. Tony Stark is a mental genius, but not very emotionally intelligent, at least not at first. He makes decisions without really taking time to consider the consequences. He thinks taking action will alleviate his jumbled emotions. Steve Rogers, on the other hand, is not stupid, but his genius is his emotional intelligence. He’s able to take a step back when a problem presents itself, think of the consequences of his actions, and think strategically to come up with the best plan. All the other MCU characters are at various places on the spectrum between those two.

There are so many examples in stories where a character tries to stuff his or her feelings and then just reacts without much thought when something goes wrong. When they do that, the outcome is usually not very good. They get themselves into deeper and deeper trouble. 

I can attest to the fact that stuffing my feelings made my life so much more miserable because the pain grows. It doesn’t disappear. If I allow myself to feel the pain, it tends to dissipate quickly and I can see options to solving my problem.

The thing I love about stories is that, if we choose to, we can put ourselves into the character’s shoes and maybe learn from their mistakes, strengths, and successes. How are we like them? How are we dissimilar? And does what they’re going through give us clues to take home and apply to our own lives? Those are the kinds of questions my parents put to me whenever we watched movies, TV shows, or read books together. Those are the kinds of things I want to promote with this blog, my podcast, and my Patreon Community. I want to foster dialogue about the things we learn from stories.

Those are my thoughts today. I hope you are doing well. I’d love to hear what stories you love because you learned something from them.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2022

The Space Between Time

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, after the last few years, 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.

Lucinda is also the host of Story-Power a podcast where she and her guests discuss their creative endeavors, and/or the stories that have changed their lives. It’s available here on Sage Woman Chronicles and on Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps. Please rate and leave a review. It helps people find me.

Patreon

I’m so passionate about stories that I created the Story-Power podcast and Patreon communities so I’d have an excuse to talk story with other story lovers. If you’re passionate about stories too, and want to talk about what you’ve learned from your favorites, come join me at patreon.com/StoryPower.

PodMatch

If you are a podcaster, or have a message or fantastic product you want to share with the world, I encourage you to check out PodMatch. Use the affiliate link and tell them, Lucinda sent you. Then contact me so we can set up a Story-Power chat.

Published by lucindasagemidgorden

I grew up in the West, the descendant of people traveling by wagon train to a new life. Some of their determination and wanderlust became a part of me. I imagine them sitting around the campfire telling stories, which is why I became first a theatre artist, then a teacher and now a writer. They are all ways of telling stories.

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