This week’s reflection is presented by friend, colleague, and co-author, Jane Ripley. It is a followup to the last few weeks. We have just published a children’s story. The Rainbow Tear. It is a modern folktale that, like all folktales, offers images to explore the whole range of human feelings. If you wish to order a copy of this book, please contact email@example.com
The focus of the past few reflections has centred around the aspect of home; that is, finding a core space within us that allows us to speak and act from our authentic voice (our sacred core). To reach that core may be aided by friendship, solitude, music and other art forms, to name but a few. When we may be, metaphorically speaking, “at home” to ourselves, we may then be “at home” to and for one another.
To expand on the notion of how to reach this core of one’s being and then to act from that core, it may be helpful to explore the notion of “script.”We all have a script, or story that we follow and even, at times, that we may wish to shed. First, however, it is important to acknowledge that we do indeed have a unique personal script. That script, says Sam Keen, is a story that in large part has been given to us from, or influenced by patterns imposed by people that have been closest to us. Especially in childhood, but often beyond, Keen says we take or inherit ways of being, fears, attitudes and the like from parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, and so on. These become part of what he calls, our unconscious autobiography. We assume impressions, choices, decision making processes that do not necessarily reflect the core of who we are or would like to become.
As has been suggested in past weeks, the process of what Katherine May calls “wintering” (that is, a slowing of our busyness, with time for reflection and contemplation) is a step in the process of becoming more engaged in our own authentic script.
Medical Mission Sister, Miriam Therese Winter has a wonderful observation that may be helpful as we move in the direction of authenticity. She says that not only does all humanity hold a particular personal script, but that all that is within the universe has a script, a story. In every story, and at whatever point in that story, there is also a “back story.” We all have a story of our own and one that arises from a story that precedes it. This notion, she says, applies to our greater universe story as well. Science confirms a universe story that is the back story, she says, to the biblical account of the creation story.
Winter goes on to say that putting our back story into our current story means that even a familiar myth that we have carried or embraced can be revisited and made new. I believe this is the gift of each new breath. In each breath there is a turn around time, that is, a moment when we neither take in nor let out the breath. It is such a short moment in time that we are not likely even to be aware of it. And yet, in that moment, all we have taken in may be gathered into our own being and given back outwardly as we exhale. What I believe this means in metaphorical terms, is that each new moment in our story may be shared from what that breath has taken in, then where that breath has rested, and finally what we allow or choose to breathe out.
In each new breath, we may take in love, kindness, hostility, anger–the whole range of human emotions and, in that moment before exhaling, we make a decision as to what to release into the next moments of our personal story and, even, in some sense, to our universal story. Our awareness of this turn around time in its reality and its greater philosophical essence, contributes to both stories. We therefore need to be awake to the breath (in Latin, spiritus, meaning at once breath, wind, and spirit), so that we may create a life-giving spirit to and for both stories. Being awake is the essence of a spirituality that is willing to change/grow, hold on/let go, and to embrace the both/and of life.
Miriam Therese Winter says that we are people of the story, a story that encompasses ourselves, each other, the planet and the universe. While we need time in “wintering” to process our story in the quiet and calm, Winter reminds us that the universe is unpredictable and that spirit is not so active in quiet and calm as in restless chaos.
And so, along with caring others on our journey, may we learn to embrace, learn from and wonder at our joys and moments of peace and tranquility, but also from our questions, uncertainties, and even struggles that are part of the unfolding of our own life stories and beyond.
Jane Ripley, March 12, 2023