“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” – Albert Einstein

…was graciously supplied by Sheila, who also was nice enough to reiterate the rules and the history of the quote challenge at her site, so I will not repeat them here.  I almost opted out of the challenge this week.  First, I have been on vacation – since I sit on a computer all day at work, vacations generally mean I do not look at a computer for the duration.  Second, I have been in the middle of acephalgic migraines, and, among other annoying side effects, they tend to make me feel stupid and slow.  So, if this response is lacking my usual scintillating wit (and are in violation of most rules of educated grammar) – blame the brain for taking a longer vacation than I intended.  Chances are, you aren’t going to notice the difference, and the main effect of the migraines is a breakdown in my own powers of self-deception. 

 “If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.”
~Barry Lopez, Crow and Weasel

 

When I think on this, I think of stories, not in the more conventional way, not in their ability to entertain, or even in their ability to teach or to inform.  I think of stories in a more visceral, basic way.  Stories are the stuff of our lives, they are the mechanism by which we define ourselves and order our place in the universe.  Our personal history is our story – as series of vignettes we relive in the telling to make sense of who we are.  We connect these slices of our life in a narrative that grows with the telling. 

When we tell our stories, we are, in essence, proclaiming our existence.  We are saying “I am, I have been, I have a place”.  Our stories become more true with remembrance as time passes, not less.  Perhaps the factual nature of the story is less reflective of objective events, but as we see our stories with the filter of time, and with our growing self-identity, they become truer representatives of the person we have become.  The stories shape us, and we shape the stories, in an endless cycle of continuity from birth to the grave.

Food and water may keep alive the flesh of our body, but our stories form the essence of who we are as the person inhabiting that flesh.  They give us our very identity, our dignity, our history as a unique ONE.  Cherish your own story.  Respect and honor those of others.  They are the birthright of humanity.

November 27th, 2006 at 6:05 pm