How To Unfold Our Own Myth

But don't be satisfied with stories,how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth,without complicated explanation, so everyone will understand the passage, We have opened you. . . . ~ Rumi


By way of welcoming and introducing you to this blog, I begin with the ancient and timeless words of the Sufi poet Rumi as he speaks of stories, myths, and an opening.

An opening. . . . . .

Take a moment and feel how those words resonate in your body.

We can know a great deal about ourselves from this simple exercise. Can you feel your chest expand and your breath come easier? Or do your shoulders curve a bit inward, the feeling of opening bringing apprehension or anxiety?

Take heart. Neither is right or wrong, good or bad. It is simply a way of knowing what our story is, not "how things have gone with others." It is from this place, this wisdom place in our own bodies, from which we unfold our own myth. It is from this place where we will be opened to our story. The one that only we can tell. The one that only we can live.

Unfold our own myth, advises Rumi. Do not make it up; create it. Craft our myth. Unfold it. Encounter it. Let the Self be encountered—by an adversary, by an Other.  The myth of our life, Rumi implies, is outside of volition and will. Often this leads to dissolution and confusion, to choice wrestled out of the grasp of ego-mind. The defenses so carefully built and shored up are chinked or blasted fully away—a distinctly uncomfortable experience. A mythic view to this kind of suffering can give us the courage to stay the course.

Sometimes the dissolution is not traumatic or one of suffering but is an ecstatic moment when we have the keen sense that we are not in the world but of the world. In these times, we may have the innate knowledge that our breathing and the waves of the ocean are one in the same; that our heart beat is as the beating wings of Hummingbird or Hawk; that where we stand on our small square inches of ground connects us to the entire planet.

And who is this "we" of whom Rumi speaks? The verse above is oft-quoted and well-known. However it is a few lines from a much longer poem filled with stories of prophets: Jacob, Moses, Jesus, Solomon, and Omar. Wisdom seekers and wisdom givers. For me the answer lies not in the men named but their stories. Stories are living entities that open us.

What stories compel you, that you come back to again and again? Are they fairy tales? Ancient myths? Family legends? Pivotal epiphanic moments in your life? What stories do you find yourself ruminating over in your mind in quiet moments?

Pay attention! These are the stories that create the myth of your life. Listen carefully to how they live in your body, in your gut, and heart. Again, these are not bad or good, right or wrong. But it is here, in this listening place where you can begin to determine the mythopoetic attitude of your life, or the mythopoesis by which you are living. It is from here where you can begin to see where your choices lie.

A mythopoetic attitude or approach to life endorses the power of the unconscious, meaning-making, and insight. To live mythopoetically generates thoughts of new and previously unlooked for possibilities for our life. Mythopoesis opens up landscapes in our life for meandering and movement, for mystery and poetry. When we live mythopoetically we inherently honor mythic and poetic reveries and language and image. Whether these are reveries and images of suffering or ecstasy, it matters not because these are the fabric and threads of life. We do well to be present to both as much as we can.

In times of suffering, it helps to be with someone else who can hold the space of presence when we cannot. This is a mythopoetic movement - to be witnessed in our suffering. And oh, how joy is expanded when it is shared with someone!

How do we unfold our own myth? We let ourselves be opened by our unique precious stories which live in our bodies, our relationships, our encounters with the world.

From the place of resonance upon hearing the words, "We have opened you . . ." our story unfolds with all of its heroics, dramas, suffering, daily pleasures, and ecstasies.

Unfold myth with attention, with breath, with questions, with words, with heart.

From this place of unfoldment, we are now living a mythopoetic life, stepping into our life and our world as if it all matters. As if it is all Poetry. As if it is all Mythic. As if it is all Mystery.