All of us have to learn how to invent our lives, make them up, imagine them. We need to be taught these skills, we need guides to show us how. Without them, our lives get made up for us by other people.*
Ursula Le Guin
Reading a myth without a transforming ritual that goes with it is as incomplete as simply reading the lyrics of an opera without the music. Unless it is encompassed as part of a process of regeneration, of death and rebirth, mythology makes no sense.**
Mythologist Joseph Campbell^ suggests that we require two myths
by which we might live our lives:
A personal myth and
a social myth.
Frederick Buechner urges us to find our purpose where
our deepest joy meets the world greatest need.
Otto Scharmer tables two important questions for us to explore:
Who is my True Self? and
What is my Work?
And so it stacks up that the best stories are about
who we are becoming and
what we are bringing to others.
Campbell believed that the old myths no longer serve us as
we need them to, but life is so fast, so busy, we are
unable to create new myths for ourselves.
He spoke about this in 1985, before the speed of life was
supercharged by the internet, something Oliver Burkeman would uncover
more than thirty years later:
once the attention economy has rendered you
or on edge,
it becomes easy to assume that this is
just what life inevitably feels like.*^
But there’s never been a better resourced time for us
to mindfully and compassionately reflect upon our stories,
Question who’s writing them, and
reinvent them so that they become
transformative both for ourselves and for others.
*Ursula Le Guin’s Words Are My Matter;
**Karen Armstrong’s A Short History of Myth;
^Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers’ The Power of Myth;
^^Otto Scharmer’s Theory U;
*^Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks.