These self-reflective brains are evolution’s latest attempt to find a way to handle and profit from information.*
The best discipline is to enjoy your friends, enjoy your meals. Realise what play is. Participate in the play, in the play of life.**
When my friend and mentor Alex McManus asked what it means to me to be human, I had to think awhile, eventually responding: to live with creativity, generosity and enjoyment. I now understand this to be the myth I want to live.
Robert Bly even suggests that students will benefit from choosing and exploring a traditional myth to live by, enabling them to navigate to their own:
Then the student would choose the one myth that attracted him and then spend time in college seeing how far he lived it and how the myth lived him.^
Though we will each reply differently to the question, there are ways and means useful to all when it comes to giving them expression. Janine Benyus’ offers four such ways in her steps to biomimicry (echoing what we see in nature as a response to our problems): to quieten, listen, echo and steward, leading us to find and articulate our own myth:
Quieten: to come aside from the busyness of life in order to notice more;
Listen: to listen for the whispers from our lives – values, talents, energies;
Echo: to give expression to these in playful, exploratory and experimental ways;
Steward: and then we’ll be able to live these in both a preserved and developing way.
Some want to be rewarded for what they do in life but life is the reward, being journey rather than destination. From my experience of working with people around discovering and developing their story or myth, I see how it’s figuring out what we have and how to use it and to enjoy this that shapes our myth.
Mythologist Joseph Campbell calls this our bliss:
Life is an expression of bliss.**
I like to think of it as our zing – because it’s loaded with more energy than we can handle and remain immobile – we have to do something with it. And the best way I have found is to give it away:
Generous means choosing to focus on the change we seek to make.^^
(*From Janine Benyus’ Biomimicry.)
(**From Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey.)
(^Robert Bly, quoted in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey.)
(^^From Seth Godin’s The Practice.)