Your Legend is even more True than Your Life
Note from the Editor: This article was first published in 2013, but we love this one so much we are sharing with you again.
Conversations in Going Deeper
Musing on Legend
As often happens, percolating on an article, I encountered three quotes…and at their intersection – exactly what I would like to talk to you about today – which is this:
Your Legend is even more True than Your Life.
I’ll start explaining by hoisting up my first quote by Isabel Allende who began a 2007 Tales of Passion Ted talk by saying, “There’s a Jewish saying that I love. What is truer than truth? Answer: The story.” And she went on to say, “I’m a storyteller. I want to convey something that is truer than truth about our common humanity.”
If you are an avid reader or story yarn weaver this may seem obvious to you. Because it is the storied versions of our life that we hold and share as we walk into our future. The way the bowl and window shattered on impact when that one relationship fell apart. The way the acupuncturist said my body was like a colander with all the herbs pouring through the holes instead of nourishing me. How ultimately shaving my head as I entered the business world was a more true expression of grieving than words. We hold our history in storied images and weave our connections in the sharing.
“I believe in specifics, the specifics of story, and the past… I also believe that in thinking about things — luck, and fate, and coincidences and accidents, God’s will, and the synchrony of mysterious forces — I will come to some notion…of my role. Where I am in the universe, and did somebody intend for me to be that way, or is it just something I came up with? And I also can find that by imagining fully, and becoming what is imagined…that is how I find particles of truth, not the absolute truth, or the whole truth…all possibilities including those I never considered before. So, there are never complete answers. Or rather, if there is an answer, it is to remind myself that there is uncertainty in everything, and that is good, because then I will discover something new.”
The quote is a bit obtuse, but I’ll simply suggest that the thread to take is when we really wade into story, we let go of knowing how that story turns out. Like the storywalking terrain shown in the images above where a companion seeks help from the moon, but emotional power cannot help, and from the sun, but the intellect doesn’t have the answers, so finally he visits wisdom who from the dirt under his fingernails creates two creatures who know just what to do. Doesn’t that sound so much MORE like a part of your life where you searched and searched for the answers and they weren’t in the normal places and then finally you were blessed by the ‘dirt under your nails’ (the just living)? Yes. So true. So perhaps what Amy Tan is saying is that good stories allow for ambiguity, and crafting them with uncertainty can show us new meanings.
Cosmic Cowgirls holds “Legend” as our Holy Grail. The crafted story of how you ongoingly choose to tell the story of you. Which parts to accent and which to leave out? But there is one final important distinction – also my third quote, which I found in an article on The Reality of the Fairy Tale by Helen Pilinovsky:
“Thanks to the changes in the old tales made first by Victorian editors, and then by modern film–makers, “fairy tale endings” are now associated with unrealistic, inhuman flawlessness and situations in which everything, however improbably, goes right…The original purpose of folk stories was not only to entertain but to teach: to show listeners that they were not alone, to communicate societal attitudes towards topics deemed unspeakable in open society, and to present possible solutions through the metaphor of magic.”
And that brings it all together – Stories of ourselves, our “Legend” allow us to find the autobiographical thread of truth. To explore the ambiguity and open to larger truths and meaning. And when done with full permission to include the messy, vulnerable and taboo, our legend gives us new possible solutions – “magic” answers which would not be available in our normal everyday ordinary world. Crafting our Legend becomes not only a holy grail but an alchemical cauldron in which to become our own answers.
- What is one experience from your history that you particularly carry in story form?
- What stories do you tell the most? the least?
- What symbols have been showing up in your life recently and how might you make them a part of your legend?
- Brimming with the quirky enthusiasm that prompted her nom de plume, Jenafer Joy rides bareback at the center of a Creativity Revolution. Using every trick in (and out) of the book – vibrant paintings, whimsical writings, and an unwavering faith in every person’s innate intuitive genius – it is impossible to spend time in her presence and not fall in love with yourself, with the whispering of your muse and with Jena’s heartfelt and contagious love of the creative life. Jena has been in the healing & creative arts leading Inspired Inquiry courses since 2003. And she had the joy of five years at the helm of the Cosmic Cowgirl Community as one of directors from 2010-2015. You can see everything she’s up to on her website www.jenaferjoy.com and can always find her paintings and a ridiculous pile up of journal pages on Facebook at The Art of Jenafer Joy.