Monday, December 11, 2017

Net Neutrality matters, especially to those of us without a ton of money and whose opinions aren't mainstream or profitable.  Stand up for a free and open internet by calling Congress.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Lessons from the story book

When you read or watch or listen to a fairy tale, who or what do you identify with?  Does it change?  I hadn't thought about this until I listened to an interview with Michele Tocher, an author who writes about fairy tales for personal healing.  In the interview, she focused on the tale of "Briar Rose", and I found myself connecting with an old, beloved, and familiar story in new ways.  In the past, I'd seen myself in Briar Rose and the Bad Fairy, but this time, I also connected with the wall of thorns, the golden plate, and spinning wheel.

As I've written before, fairy tales, myths, and legends remain pertinent so long as we can find ourselves in them.  If we expand the realm of possibility, we can become magical objects, be transformed, or see our life from a new, more magical, point of view.  Pick up a story you are familiar with and re-read it.  Try to remember what you loved about it the first time you were introduced to it.  How old were you then? What image did you most love?  Do you still feel that way?  Shift gears and think about what images make you feel something strong now.  Do you see something sinister in the story that you once overlooked, or do you have a pang of sympathy for the bad guy?  Do you understand something new about the story or your life? Is it comfortable?

In "Briar Rose", I now wonder about the mother of the princess. Did she feel helpless, or did she agree with the actions of her husband?  What about the fairies? Why were they not insulted by one of their own being left out of the festivities? Was there more to that decision than we can see?  DId the people of the kingdom see their leaders as fools or wise men?  I am uncomfortable now with the kissing of an unconscious princess. I see myself as the castle covered in thorns and roses.  I wonder how everyone reacted to their century-long nap; did they acclimate or did they wither away?

All of these questions and thoughts show me how I order my world and what I prioritize.  My choice of stories is also a glimpse into my mind and heart.  There are tales I love and feel drawn to at different times of my life. These are the stories that I have read many retellings of and that I treasure for comfort. On the other side of that coin is the stories that I feel deep discomfort with. For example, stories of Baba Yaga make me want to read them, and at the same time, they deeply scare and repulse me.  One day, when I am brave enough to look at why, I am certain that I will learn a lesson that I am in desperate need of, until then, I can only speculate about why I am drawn to and pushed away from those images.

I have seen my inner life reflected in stories, and it can be illuminating.  It's a way to look indirectly inside and to wonder about how we see our own image.  Putting your finger on an image or idea can open the door for a mental conversation about why we think what we think.  It also allows us to play dress up with our identity.  Try on a new character, explore their thinking and feelings, look at the world through their eyes.  In the process, you may gain two things, an understanding of someone else and mirror for your own thoughts and feelings.