A Time for Sacred Stories

April 12, 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

We are in a sacred time. Whether celebrating Passover or preparing for Easter or praising the abundance of birdsong and buds bursting out everywhere, we are all in a sacred time marked by stories of rising and uprising, of liberation and new life, of hope and relief from tyranny, suffering and dormancy. Powerful transformative stories told in words and in the earth’s changing seasons.

In this year, perhaps more clearly than in some others, we need stories like these.

One of my favorite books is A Way of Being Free, by Nigerian writer Ben Okri who writes about the power of stories. He writes:

It is easy to forget how mysterious and mighty stories are.  They do their work in silence, invisibly. They work with all the internal materials of the mind and self. They become part of you while changing you. Beware the stories you read or tell: subtly, at night, beneath the waters of consciousness, they are altering your world.

So many stories in the news today show us the deep suffering caused by those who put their own greed and need for power before the needs of others for basic human rights and the dignity of being seen. They are stories of scarcity and fear, of mistrust and misperception, of ego and lies, of violence and disregard for others. It’s enough to make us shut down when taking these stories in. They can work on our hearts like the whips and restraints of bondage. They take their toll on our thirst for justice like a vinegary sponge held to dry lips. They can bring the deep freeze of despair, despite our knowledge that winter has never outlasted spring’s arrival.

We are living in times of tumult and change. We need the power of good stories, stories that keep our hearts awakened both to sorrow and suffering and to the promise of new life. We need stories that call us to act, to move, to rise, to live and to love. Theirs is no small power, Okri says of stories:

Stories are the secret reservoir of values: change the stories individuals or nations live by and tell themselves, and you change the individuals and nations. 

What are the stories you live by? What stories do you tell yourself every day – about others, about yourself, about power, about life, about love? What changes might you make in those stories today that could begin a new chapter – one that you’ve always longed to live in? What are the stories you might live by and tell yourself and share with others in spring’s blooming tomorrow?

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