Thursday, September 10, 2020

"i am not my story about me..."

"there is a reduction
of identity to biography..."

Krista Tippett interviewed John O'Donohue before his passing in 2008 and the above quote stood out to me as he spoke in measured, but lyrical stanzas.

Let me make this very clear. I love this man. I love his poetry. I love his heart. I love his wisdom. I have no objectivity when it comes to his words. I love them. His books of prose and poetry some of my dearest companions.

There is not a song to keynote this post - at this moment. But, the above statement plays in my heart like a song. To hear John's voice - lyrical and resonant - is a gift that sings to my heart.

t As for the content of her interview (which I have to admit I would have listened to even if he had only been reading of the Dublin telephone directory) well, took my breath away. Not because it is something new, but because it so nails what I believe to be true at the deepest level of my being.

We are not our stories. Yes, we have stories -- just like we have bodies -- but they do not define us. They are instruments of language for communicating what we think we know about our selves -- but they are not "us."

If you have this blog, you know from over 750 posts, since 2005, I have a bunch of stories. In fact, each of these posts is based on an experience. I am not a rhetorical writer. I do not know how to speak or write from the standpoint of thesis. But I can tell you what I have experienced -- a story -- and how that experience was meaningful to me, and further awakened in my a deeper spiritual understanding.

So, to say that I am not my story -- here on this blog -- might seem a bit (or a lot) paradoxical. But it is what I know to be truer than true. And to have it in John's words and spoken by his voice is only more wonderful than i can say.
We are not our stories. Sandy Wilder once shared an exercise with me that stsopped me in my tracks. It shook me -- the storyteller -- to the core. I felt that false sense of who I was shatter and crumble to the ground like a statue turning to rubble at a feather's touch.

I use these stories to illustrate some spiritual awakening in my heart. But I no longer think that these stories define me or are the historic construct of who I have become, or foundational to who I have yet to discover about the "I am." One that is continuously welling up from the depths of a spiritual wellspring in divine Love.

In thinking of this story-free spiritual identity, I can't help but remember that Mary Baker Eddy wrote her own autobiography, Retrospection and Introspection, in 95 pages. And that at page 54, she stops telling "her story," and the last half of her autobiography includes nothing of her human story, but is all about sharing her love for the Science she had discovered as Life itself.

In the last chapter of this autobiography, Waymarks," Eddy offers:

"Hear this saying of our Master:
"And I, if I be lifted up from earth,
will draw all me."

The ideal of God is no longer impersonated
as a waif or a wanderer..."

Without saying it, she says it all. Having been lifted up from her own earth-story -- by the cross of experience -- she was no longer the once-sickly child, or the homeless women who had lived in over 60 homes -- she was spiritual. Her story was "immovably fixed in Principle."

I will leave this here. I hope you feel the depth of your own spiritual identity. I hope you know -- at the very core of your being -- what is pre-existently and eternally "you" as the reflection of the "I AM," -- ever-unfolding, ever-fresh, ever-new. I hope that you can look at your stories as narrative language for sharing what you have discovered, not as an accumulation of experiences that define you.

And since I can't stop a song from scoring a post in my heart -- after I start writing -- I will share Kate Edmonson's beautiful recording of "A Voice." Perhaps our stories are simply the songs we sing to each other to say, "you are not alone."

offered with Love,


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