Girl in Camouflage

A New Myth for America and the Earth

A New Myth for America and the Earth

“To enter its own creative development, a dynamic system will sometimes pull
itself away from its larger enveloping network. As long as a system is tightly held within
a larger system it is dominated. But as it becomes free its intrinsic potentialities come
forth and are amplified so that something new can enter into existence”

Brian Swimme wrote that in “Journey of the Universe” about how our universe was and is created. Our universe expands and contracts and has for billions of years – in other words – it’s a living, breathing system that co-creates and transforms itself depending on the amount of power available to break up masses of matter into new directions of creation or galaxies. Scientists have discovered that waves
passing through the universe created by the explosion were responsible for the breaking up of the initial cloud – the cloud of gases formed in the singular moment of life and creation itself. Galaxies “emerged from primordial vibrations in the birth of the Universe”.

Swimme goes on to say that “with the appearance of atoms, new possibilities arose. The Universe could now bring forth entirely new structures – the stars and galaxies”. Our Milky Way is just one galaxy in a universe filled with galaxies. If one entity dies it doesn’t matter that much in the long term scheme of things as many other entities are created. There is bonding process between elementary particles that keeps the creation process moving forward and expanding.

So, what is the relevance, if any, between the birth of the Universe and “the American Dream”?

In terms of our earthly place in the universe, the American Myth is like a nascent galaxy that is no longer sustained by the bonding of elemental particles. In this case, the bonding elements would be the principles upon which we based our culture, our idea of America and our collective idea of who are as Americans as well as our idea of who we are individually. It is a galaxy collapsing ready to implode upon itself. We have become a society of autistic two-year olds. The Tea Party is an example of “two-year olds gone wild” with leaders like Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and narcissist extraordinaire, Rush Limbaugh - the new nursery school crowd - who have been allowed to speak such childish gibberish all in the name of corporate America and fake Patriotism because we have such a thing as “free speech” in this country. When the mindless are prepared to inherit the earth, we are in deep trouble.

Those who believe that a new myth must be created, a myth that includes a story for the earth and all its people not just separate nations are entering what Swimme called “the creative process of separating from what was a dynamic system.” Freeing ourselves from the old paradigm, from the old way of doing something is creating a new vibration that is barely audible but shaking our earth into a new existence. The question of who will survive as the vibration pulses stronger and stronger is unanswerable at this point in time. The question however poses itself in the creation of a new myth by which those who will survive – humans, animals and plants - need to come into a new equilibrium in order to do so.

Carl Jung wrote “there is a thinking in primordial images, in symbols which are older than the historical man, which are inborn in him from the earliest of times, eternally living, outlasting all generations, still make up the groundwork of the human psyche. It is only possible to live the fullest life when we are in harmony with these symbols; wisdom is a return to them.”

As my thought process expanded regarding universes and galaxies as metaphors and why myths are important I was confronted one evening while in discussion with a young woman about “Girl’s Right of Passage” and the importance of incorporating mythic indigenous practices as exercises in the week. I could see she was a bit lost with what I was saying. I asked if she understood the mythic relation and her very valid response was that she/we (young people) aren’t taught how to think like that. I didn’t know what to do with that or how to respond. How do we live in harmony with these symbols? How so we teach ourselves and our children?

First we need to understand why these things are individually important and how they can be used as a language that speaks to our core and hear how our innermost self answers and responds. Within these stories are moments of divine presence that reflect back to us why we are here, what our journey and purpose is for our life. Mythic symbols and mythic thought help inform people of who they are at a deep level of consciousness. The incredible Thomas Berry wrote that “mythic images help interpret the idea of connection between the Heavens and earth.” They transcend all religion but incorporate the sacred meaning of all so even the non-religious can find meaning to their lives within the mythic images of their dreams for example. Such symbols can bind cultures together in a greater understanding of each other. Employing mythic practices in any kind of “Right of Passage” are powerful exercises which allow people to tap into their creative mind by-passing all the literal “crap” that keeps us mired in our stress world.

Some of the greatest “American” gifts come from the Native Americans – the idea of giving thanks from the Iroquois, the sweat lodge, vision quest, earth paintings, acknowledging the sacred spirit in the six directions. Observing the animals and their various behaviors allowed human beings to understand some of the great mysteries in nature and we took on animal powers by incorporating them into our beings as mythic power animals. Early cultures believed in the world of spirit, learned from the spirit world, lived with spirit like we live with technology today. The spirit world never needs an IT person, never goes on the “fritz” or needs reprogramming or new batteries. It is always available if we are willing to listen.

Through deep stillness we can hear the “primordial voices and vibrations” – the ancient wisdom of creation we so desperately need. Deep stillness is daunting however. I struggle with a daily meditation because my mind is so accustomed to activity and doing and producing that sitting quietly meditating is synonymous with unproductivity. I have drunk the Kool-Aid of modern life and thought and breaking that addiction is almost more painful than quitting smoking or drinking.

In terms of my own mythic journey through the obstacles and challenges, the corporate world that I have inhabited for 30 plus years has been one of my greatest teachers in what works and what doesn’t. Like Odysseus being seduced to the Island of the Sirens, I was seduced into the world of sports management and stayed for seven years until forces greater than my tunnel-vision life yanked me through a worm-hole into another reality.

Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s I was taught that a woman’s job was the home and family, I was taught to set aside any thought of my own dreams for those of my husband’s; thus, there seemed to be an unattainable glamor to the “man’s life” or so I thought. My perception was that men were free and unfettered from the mindless tasks of housework, everyday cooking, children’s school obligations and volunteering on committees that kept women engaged in relatively uncreative endeavors. I longed for “his” kind of freedom. When I was 27, I decided marriage wasn’t for me and with 2 small children to support, I decided I would “just” create that kind of freedom. I thought I would have some kind of support from my family but my father, a strict conservative who often told me “that children should be seen and not heard” and who believed fervently that a woman belonged in the home, was furious that I was such a stupid girl. With no college degree, no work experience but lots of moxie and a burning desire to be set free from that traditional woman’s role I went into the world in New York City with an innate intelligence, a natural street smarts and big time guts to carve out a piece of the “Man’s World” pie. I found my way eventually into a highly-regarded and much sought after sports management company. The old adage “be careful what you wish for” certainly applied to the seven years I spent in that male-dominated world where women were there to serve as mistresses, secretaries and the odd “token female”. I was the “odd” token. The illusion of striving for that kind of success became tarnished over those years by observing male stupidity, misogyny and undeserved entitlement. And the Liza Minnelli song from “Cabaret” kept playing over and over in my head – “Is that All there Is?” In corporate America, famous people, powerful (in their own minds) people, bullies and narcissists fueled that world and still fuel that world that we held and hold so dear. I was really good at what I did so my eccentricities and acting out were tolerated and I was a woman - an anathema to all the boys in the club house.

But that world was like a slow acid drip; it was destroying whatever soul I presumed I had hidden in the depths. I had to get away and I got as far away as one can go from New York City and went to the Land of Oz – Los Angeles. Like the old joke - LA was NYC only with more sunshine and people with better bodies but it was in Westwood, Ca. that the world of spirit manifested in the physical form of an Owl and sent me on the greatest mythic journey of retrieving my own soul and sanity. It’s been a 30 year journey and I presume will continue until my last breath. Each decade brings a better understanding of what it is to be human and alive and joyful. And I have learned the difference between Happiness and Joy! Being a New Yorker and a bit of a complainer and filled with Woody Allen type angst, California’s “Have a Nice Day” type happiness eluded me. I may kvetch but I am filled with the joy of doing so. Joy is a more encompassing, deeper awareness of who I am in the world. Joy penetrates the soul with gratitude at times for all that is given and received, Joy infuses the soul with deep appreciation for the gift of this physical earth and for the physical body and experiences. Joy puts me into relationship with that which I feel joyous. Happiness is Amazon Prime – fleeting and momentarily satisfying.

And so, my father unwittingly gave me the gift of my life and even though every decade seemed to have a “dark night of the soul” within the shadows there was always the seed of change and hope. The past five years I have been rambling in the wilderness of inner turmoil wandering without a compass, lost in the unfamiliar terrain of no longer needing to strive or achieve or accomplish. Letting go of what no longer serves is a “Right of Passage” in itself. I have watched my body change, my hair grow grayer, my wrinkles deeper, my knees sorer and my endurance decrease. Yet my yearnings have become more demanding. They demand that I look at life as I have known it, life as I have played it and life as it might be twenty or thirty years from now and life when I am no longer here.

I realized that I have been asking the wrong questions. I love the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results. In this America we are now doing the same thing over and over and the response is always the same. Are we crazy? I think – yes. Can we get out of crazy? I think – yes! But we need to ask ourselves personally and on a larger scale – how do “I /We” do this thing called life differently to stop the insanity of the same result. We need to create new myths for men and women individually and collectively. Men are not the enemy for women and women are not the enemy for men.

So maybe the right to demonstrate one’s stupidity in a public forum vis a vis Fox News, talk radio and blithering idiot failed beauty queens like Sarah Palin need to not be allowed freedom of speech without due process of intelligence. Maybe the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence need to be re-written by rational, intelligent minds with the conscious ability to look to future generational needs. Maybe it’s time to think about the pursuit of happiness within local communities and sustainable ways to live rather than as individual pursuits because as the climate changes and resources become more scarce and our food sources continue to poison us and the middle class becomes the poor class and owning a home is no longer within grasp and there is no safety net of social services what happens to our belief system then, what happens to our humanity?

We need to embrace a more tribal state of mind; we need to teach people how to create a mythic journey for their life, for their destiny, to retrieve their own souls and the soul of their community and to heal the earth’s soul. I have fallen in love with a musical group called A Great Big World who wrote such a tribal song called A New Year - the first few stanzas suggest the importance of this kind of change:

Another year you made a promise
Another chance to turn it all around
And do not save this for tomorrow
Embrace the past and you can live for now
And I will give the world to you

Speak louder than the words before you
And give them meaning no one else has found
The role we play is so important
We are the voices of the underground
And I will give the world to you

As we enter 2014, I want to write a monthly blog for HWOS posing questions and different ways of thinking about this world. I think even the youngest of HWOS kids understand the deeper process even if they’re mired in computer/technology nonsense that consumes their anxious minds – I want input! This is a New Year. We need a new American myth, a new Myth for the Earth and our own heroic personal journey/myth for our lives and our community.

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