Being My Own Ruler and Rebel: What Makes a Story Stick is the Mythology in My Heart

This month new blogger Laura Ann Bruch gives us some early reflections on the theme of the next Immanence Journal issue, “Rulers and Rebels,” coming October 31, 2017.

I am blessed. I was contemplating weaving the idea of “Rulers and Rebels” with an overarching connection to mythology for the Immanence Journal blog. I am blessed because I do some of my best thinking during a moving meditation of trail running. When I run, I let the thoughts and feelings come, I flow, I open to all energies, all free-flowing brainstorming ideas and aha moments, I feel connections, I am in the moment and I am experiencing Joseph Campbell’s bliss. Then I pray that I remember the connections by the time I sit down and put pen to paper trying to remember and write more linearly. So what follows are my brief thoughts about myth, rulers, and rebels. I hope this writing offers you what I am being reminded of: a new breath, a new perspective, and a new day because we are always remembering and forgetting. We chase our tails remembering and forgetting, and this is but one place that mythology can come in and help. Hopefully each day we can straighten ourselves out a bit more and move forward remembering a little more until we forget again.

Mythology and folklore come down to the stories that we tell. I know that sounds like common sense, but hear me out. If we did not repeat stories, they would fade, as many stories have. So what makes a story stick, and become the passed-down stories that we recognize and share? We share many stories, but for me stories of love, heartache, fear, and loneliness stick. We love and suffer heartbreak, and we tell a story. Our hearts breaking is a story we tell ourselves and each other to help us gain strength and compassion. Our fear and loneliness often come from a heart that is not resolved to risk or experience heartbreak. A common thread with memorable stories and what makes a story stick for me is my willingness to balance duality successfully. How do I let go, how to I hang on, how do I share vulnerability, how do I share frustration and sadness, how do I share love: to love ourselves, to love one another, and to trust that love as a stronger force is my personal mythology. This archetypal energy of love is certainly not a new consciousness, nor is connecting to this energy. These stories helps me understand my own mythology.

Exploring our own personal myth is a relatively new endeavor. Carl Jung (1963) coined the phrase “personal myth” in the opening line of his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections by writing, “Thus it is that I have now undertaken, in my eighty-third year, to tell my personal myth.” Everywhere I look lately, with my mantra of choice currently being ‘pay attention’, I have been noticing that my perspective is a narrow one without even meaning for it to be. Even though I am very generous and open-minded as all who are reading this blog are, I still have many invisible blinders on; we remember, we forget. So where do I begin to understand, begin to weave connections, begin to remember again. In undergoing the challenges of paying attention to our own stories, and understanding our personal myths, we invite a new collective experience, a new perspective, a new understanding, a new mythology.

In weaving the idea of one’s personal mythology with the upcoming issue’s theme of Rulers and Rebels, I’ve had the opportunity to get curious about first my feelings, thoughts, biases about rulers and rebels. My first instinct is to view the ruler as a negative connotation and the rebel as a positive one. My curiosity then led me to ask when am I a ruler, and when am I a rebel? Immediately I began to be reminded of all of the personal thoughts and actions I have taken to be my own ruler, to feed my own soul, to rule my own story. And I again notice the duality and tension that comes with comparing the ruler and the rebel, we need both; we are both.

The rebel or the ruler, the hero or the villain depends on not only who is telling the story, but also who is listening. We have been the teller, and the listener; we are the ruler and the rebel, and both energies feel good. Embrace the tension and the duality (get grounded first) to acknowledge our fears, to feel the connections. To be the rebel and the ruler are powerful archetypal energies that move not only us, but those around us. With this fresh perspective, I gain strength and softness, I gain balance and contentment. I gain great compassion for myself and others in the knowing and forgetting.

May we be blessed that each time we come to any story, we are all able to see it with fresh eyes, and a fresh perspective.

Laura Ann Bruch is an English and Humanities teacher at Colorado Mountain College. Laura recently earned her second masters degree in Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Laura lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado enjoying what each day brings.

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