As part of the teaching, I ask the Dragon students to write out and revisit their learning over time.
A simple truth is we do cycle and repeat patterns in life. Why not reuse our learning, revisit the results over time and see them in a new light and build upon them?
In patience, we each should build an internal personal library from our experiences that evolve with each reuse. Don’t let the teachings you receive be static… otherwise even teachings decay, get lost and then forgotten over time.
Make your teachings, living teachings, so they are always fresh.
Discover that the act of rewriting what you learned for others, will help you fill it out for yourself. Then to see it from a fresher angle. This is in fact what I do myself. Much of what I do write or post on the Personal Tao site is just my revisiting something again and then re-expressing it so I can build upon seeing patterns and then condense it down to simpler ways of understanding my life.
Our Stories“We shall not cease from exploration, and at the end of all of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
– T.S. Eliot
I’ve reached the point in my journey where it makes sense to revisit the teachings from the very beginning. When Casey suggested I share these lessons with the Dragons both as an exercise for myself and the benefit of others, I happily obliged. It is an interesting position to be reexamining these ideas with a different sense of knowing than my first time around – both with fresh eyes and the opportunity to have practiced and grown against them with experience.
I sought Casey’s mentorship when I found my marriage, and consequently myself, in crisis. In many ways, it was a perfect storm with the birth of my now two-year-old son, the beginning of the “7-year itch” in my marriage, and a society in crisis. As result of these conditions, among other things, my husband started undergoing an intense period of change, and my marriage spiritually ended during a time when I felt the biological pull of being a new mother to hold my partnership tightly. Lost, scared and clinging to my story, I was lucky enough to find Casey and feel fortunate to have experienced the grace I have today as a direct result of his guidance.
As an ecologist, I spend a lot of time thinking about animals. So, when Casey posed one of his very first questions to me, “what sets a human apart from other animals?” I was shocked to find myself unsure of the answer. His simple explanation has had a powerful effect on the way I see my life. Humans are animals that hold stories. We use our stories to define who we are and explain what we know of our lives. But, stories are not truth; they are stories. We are constantly reformatting and constructing our stories. We cycle through stories during our life and don’t challenge them until we are no longer satisfied with them and feel the need to rewrite.
This was scary for me at first because who are we, after all, if we are not our stories? But, it is also empowering because if we can exercise some control in forming and living our stories, then we are not trapped in any one story. If we can find a way to hold our stories loosely, we can create the space for change as we flow with our external circumstances. We should be careful not to cling too tightly to any single story as we are many stories all at once. For example, I am both a loving friend to my husband and genuinely want to give him space he currently requires, but I am also a new mother who wants to secure my partnership with him. These stories are at odds with one another, but I am both of these things. During a time of change especially, I’ve learned that it is more graceful to leave space in my story for flexibility and change so that I may be true to my essence. If I see my current situation solely through the eyes of my biology and do not release my husband, things will break. On the other hand, if I ignore my desire to be with my husband, I will deny my biology. To find balance in the story, I need to use it to ground me without becoming emotionally attached to it. The space I am trying to find is one where I can let the story shift and change as it wants and shift with a pace that will help me go the distance.
Dragons, while our stories may be different, I’m also sure they are universal in their way. I wish you all the best on this Tuesday night and hope you have the strength to be your authors.