Friday, June 4, 2010

Life, explained (5)

In this haltingly continuing story, we have discussed much and resolved little. I'm pretty sure that's exactly what this whole thing is about, though--discussing, interacting, flowing into and out of each other's stories--so I don't feel at all unhappy with where we have gotten to.

Rather than continue to link back to the previous episodes, I'm going to create a label, Life Explained, which all of the posts related to the tale will be assigned. By clicking on the Life Explained label in the list of labels to the right, you will be able to have the entire group open in a list of posts. Keep in mind that the oldest episodes are at the end of the list, not the top of it.

So, the storyteller has now reached the stage in his life when the looking back is really fun, and the looking forward is not requiring so much energy.

It's the point at which there can be an ongoing investigation of what really happened, or, in other words, how one wishes to tell the story as saga, rather than just scenes from it.

For me, the hero's journey works best. This is a story form which requires a beginning in a commonplace setting with a seemingly commonplace main character, said character unexpectly jerked into a hugely challenging set of events and adventures which proof and anneal, then returned to normal life where his time away gives new perspective which can yield great benefit to all who know him.

We all experience this. Our world, at first, is small and generally safe and quiet. Gradually, as we grow from infants to toddlers to school-age children, we learn more of what is scary in the world--and what exactly that is varies widely from one of us to another, even at a very young age--and decide where we will choose to be. Some choose to stay far from the scary parts, others are attracted to them.

Even when children, the adventures begin for us all.

Leap ahead half a century, and the sheer volume of the saga makes Rumi's Masnavi seem a short story. I introduce Rumi quite by accident, sort of, but then there aren't any of those when one is seeking to reveal and make transparent. Here is a tiny bit of Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks:

I have lived on the lip of insanity,
wanting to know reasons, knocking on a door.
It opens.
I have been knocking from the inside!


Here is where we arrive at late-middle, at the part of the journey where we know almost for sure that we are more than halfway to wherever the heck we are going. Slowly, the journey takes on a sense and life of its own, and we see paradox turned into something more magnificent.

It is now that one can be gentle with the ego, soften the rough edges enough to make the memories palatable, perhaps kick up a tiny bit the amount of courage exhibited by our hero.

If, at the same time, the core truth remains, the story--the saga--becomes compelling.

More? Count on it.

5 comments:

Matthew Cornell said...

I love the Rumi quote!

idea coach said...

I wonder, does paradox always turn to something magnificent? Or is it how we translate the change?
Thanks for making me think. Glad to have met you via the blog challenge. Keep the saga going.

Rick Hamrick said...

Me, too, Matt! That reminds me--I need to dig out my thick Rumi book. Yes, most of it is on the internet, but there is something more momentous about holding a well-worn tome in the palm of the hand and slowly turning the pages.

Rick Hamrick said...

idea coach--like it all is, the outcome of the seeming paradox as we are able to see it with benefit of distance and hindsight is completely in our hands to interpret.

I'm not a believer in inherency in any fashion other than that of Love being the beginning, and the end. All the gloriously rich detail between is a dream we dream at first without conscious awareness, then later with joy in the knowing.

More plainly, nothing always does anything. You are right that how we translate it is the key.

Glad to meet you, as well!

Will Conley said...

Wow, Rick, this fits perfectly into what I am studying at the moment. Jung, Campbell, the life stages, the hero's journey. What treasures of knowledge. You uniquely rendered telling of these themes is very exciting for me to read, for myriad reasons. Thank you.