A POWERFUL TOOL
The imagination is a powerful tool, the medium that can bring about deep change. Part of its ability to create and transform lies in the way it engages with the relational field. What’s that? In any given landscape, the position of the point of view determines relationships to other elements, and to the larger context—together these make up the relational field. Ultimately, the larger context we humans live in is the universe itself, and the great animate intelligence that is the unified ground of existence whose underlying principle is harmony: interrelated parts of the greater whole constantly regulating towards harmonious integration.
“You are astute and compassionate, with an unusual gift – an uncanny ability to perceive and describe my life and current issues in resonant and pertinent imagery. Your stories capture the essence of the presenting question or dilemma and, like a well-appointed dream, they help to reveal its emotional and psychological undercurrents.” – JD, Maine
WHAT CAN A STORY DO?
Considering the scale of the environmental challenges we are facing on the planet, and our concerns for a liveable future, why are the necessary changes so difficult to accomplish? It took a global pandemic to temporarily stop us driving and flying, to show us it was possible to reinvent ourselves. Deep transformation involves a revolution in our consciousness, a value shift on the level of paradigm, led by our guiding narrative.
Because it replicates a value system, a narrative creates and maintains a reality. We operate under the influence of numerous levels of story—familial, cultural, religious—that define our roles and assumptions and shape our worldview, molding our ideas of self, determining the nature of our relationships, and the way we orient to a purpose. We are so embedded in these larger stories that they become invisible to us.
Our current dominant narrative is wreaking havoc. For an entirely new way of being, what different kind of story do we need?
A NEW STORY
Beginning with his 1978 essay, “The New Story,” cultural historian Thomas Berry articulated the need for a new narrative, one that completely reoriented the human in relationship to the larger community of life. He called for a “new paradigm of what it is to be human,” a complete reinvention, at species level. This would have to come from a new pattern of rapport with the planet. A reordering of relationships would transform the essence of our entire social framework, including financial, legal, educational, and religious aspects.
But how do we arrive at thinking that is new, and not drag outmoded patterns with us? We can’t just jump the old self into a new context.
Just as homeopathy, flower essences, and other vibrational healing modalities offer new patterning for a restoration to wholeness, I wondered, What if there could be an energy imprint that arrived from outside our regular consciousness, but in the form of a narrative? A kind of story medicine.
In my practice with individual clients, I engage with another plane to access guiding stories in answer to their issue or question. (You can learn more about how to get your own personal story here.) This plane is part of a larger context than our everyday reality, expanding the relational field.
The guiding stories come in the form of allegory. This form is significant, not least because of the perspective it provides, since point of view is a key to working with the relational field. Just as turning the focus on a kaleidoscope re-constellates the entire scene, a re-positioning in the relational field entirely affects the way we relate to the rest of the world.
The allegorical form, or metaphorical language is important, too, because of the way it fosters a new sense of relatedness. And it engages us to collaborate with the meaning-making process.
The Greek and Latin origins of the word “metaphor” mean to “carry over” or “to bear across.” Metaphorical language can help us bridge the gap between the known and the barely imagined, that has yet to be reached.
STORIES FOR OUR TIME
It occurred to me that instead of asking a question on behalf of an individual, I could use the same process ask one for the culture as a whole: What do we as a society need to know at this time? The answer has come in several parts, so far. The first, a collection of six short stories, Six Steps to Freedom, outlines the process of engaging with the relational field to find freedom—essential freedom being the radical ability to create our own meaning. It raises such questions as: If you don’t conform to a society’s measure of worth, how do you find your own value and express it in the larger scheme? How do you uphold your value system against a different, prevailing worldview? How do you transform power structures from outside the established order, and from within?
Another series of short stories addresses the relationship between humans and nature. The most recent collection is Traveler, a journey through 27 short stories, describing the process of entering and finding a place the new landscape, where the human is no longer a dominating feature but an integral part.
I’m starting to add new stories to this site. I invite you to read one about changing our human-centric point of view, here.