I just returned from a wondrous trip to Arizona with my mother and sisters. Though it was my fourth time seeing the Grand Canyon, the sight was no less awe-inspiring! The vast scope of the water-whittled canyon, the layered colors of rock exposed in pillars and hoodoos and temple-mound shapes, ultimately brings human beings–even our talkative foursome--to stunned silence.
The layers of the rock tell a story spanning millennia. I found myself taking a bazillion photos, fully aware of the impossibility of capturing more than a small rectangular glimpse of this story. The canyon puts human life in perspective: we are small creatures immersed in the vast, cosmic story of the ongoing creation.
Even so, our stories matter. Each of us gathers unique wisdom as we journey through our lifetimes. In the fast, individualistic culture of the present, we lose touch with our stories, which accumulate like these rock layers through the passage of our days. We have so few opportunities to contemplate our stories with others, to stop and gaze into the “canyons of our memories”* with awareness and reverence for our own and others’ wisdom.
Another highlight of the Arizona trip was the opportunity to view some amazing murals by Hopi artists Michael Kabotie and Delbridge Honanie in an exhibit called “Journey to Balance” at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff.
The murals depict layers of history from the Hopi point of view, beginning with the emergence of the Hopi, showing the coming of the Spanish and Anglos, demonstrating the sickening of the people in the abuse of foods, drugs, and drink, and revealing new hope in a present rebirth of ancient beliefs and new traditions with information-age technologies. In each panel, layers of order and chaos are in tension, but as the storytelling process unfolds, we are invited to reflect on both the light and shadow sides of our collective history, resulting in the emergence of healing, balance, and harmony.
As the mural artists put it, the images they've created gather up “the fragments of the past so that the wholeness held in the memory and conscience of our elders can be shared with our young ones and with those who have forgotten the stories…”
I was nearly as awe-inspired by these murals as by the Grand Canyon. Both experiences helped me heal from the anxieties of our pandemic age by inviting me to perceive my individual struggles within the scope of a much bigger picture. Each experience brought me back from the illusion of small, fragmented disconnection into a conscious relationship with the Wholeness which encompasses us all.
Have you lost an awareness of your connection with the Wholeness, of which each of us is but a small part? Have you forgotten your own stories, or lost touch with the stories of others?
Story-sharing and listening is a powerful means for us to remember our wholeness together. Join me online for the first Resilient Spirit Story Circle on Oct. 28 at 4:30PM Pacific, in which we’ll share stories of saints, sages, wisdom keepers, and mentors who have added their richness to our lives. You can register for this FREE event by clicking HERE.
You can also get on my calendar HERE to learn about other ways I can support you in reconnecting to your own story and the Wholeness which holds us all.
Be well and be peace,
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*credit to Dan Bush and his song "Embers" for this memorable phrase