“What’s your story?”
Phyllis asked this of everyone. Sometimes it put people off and sometimes it lit them up. We’d sit on her front porch and drink lemonade or sip hot soup depending on the season. We discussed Carl Jung, organic cooking, cats, simple living, and people’s stories. I was 20-something and she was 60-something. More than once she said,
“We’re sort of like “Tuesdays with Morrie” but it’s Friday and I’m Phyllis and I’m not dying.”
I wonder about Phyllis today…20 years later. I used to dry her clothes and she’d pay me in fresh soup and bread. I moved too far away and we lost touch without the physical connection of laundry and soup. But I kept the stories….
I just finished reading a great collection of travel stories by Jennifer Watson called “Butterfly Travels.” Threaded through each chapter are the themes of emotional growth, glimpses of a soul’s timeless journey, and the transformation available when one engages in life and relationships with an open heart. It made me recognize similar story lines in my own life when my heart was closed or open, and the huge impact that makes on experiences, relationships, and my emotional reactions. It’s all stories.
I love the movie, “The Holiday.” The character Arthur Abbot is an old movie maker and helps Iris Simpkins (played by Kate Winslet) see that life is stories. He wakes her up to the fact that she needs to take ownership of her life, and be the leading lady of her own story.
Her story + your story + my story = fractals of a universe experiencing its own heart opening and closing. The uni-verse (one song) is made up of individual souls (notes). Each heart opens and closes according to it’s own rhythm.
“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”
In looking for the above quote, I found this poem! It perfectly says what is on my mind today:
“The universe is made of stories
not of atoms” says Muriel Rukeyser
but each atom has a story to tell—
Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen
combined to form amino acids,
building blocks of life whose stories
are still ongoing ever evolving
from the DNA double helix
spiralling back to the first Adam.
Can you hear the rhyme and rhythm
of the Moon’s double sonnet poem
waxing and waning with the tides?
The Earth has an anthology with
scintillating short stories each told
by those who lived here, and our Sun’s
epic is bolder than The Odyssey
travelling around the Milky Way
spanning 225 million years
and your hair will stand on end when
Sun recounts the marauding black hole
swallowing up neighboring galaxies.
Ask a Tibetan monk whose mind
has propelled him back to the womb
and beyond to his previous life
or a Hua-Yen Buddhist who has seen
tiers and tiers of universes in their
recurring cycles of birth and death
or some cosmic programmer who wrote
this universe as a computer simulation
that’s played out as in The Matrix films.
This universe has sextillion stories
but there is one song yet to be sung—
and that singer is you!
— Peter Y. Chou
Mountain View, 12-10-2010