No brave souls have commented on my last post. That's totally okay. It takes a huge amount of courage -- not to mention uninterrupted time with a computer/device -- to type your answers out and send them into the world. It's scary to tell our stories to strangers, but sometimes more scary to tell our stories to our loved ones.
The scene that stood out most to me, was when Tokoyo took the girl's white robe and put it on herself, ready to sacrifice herself to the monster. All along, I think she knew that she did not mean to go down without a fight.
I am still working on finding the connection to my own story with this. As I consider this scene, I look for the themes, the archetypes, and the feeling of the setting. Where have I felt lost in my search? Where have I made what looked like the most wrong move ever? Where have I stepped up to take on pain that isn't mine, hoping that by doing it I can bring about deep change? Who is the priest? The maiden?
And maybe, I am the priest, witnessing the scene. And perhaps, I am the maiden, resigned to my fate, but still somehow hoping for deus ex machina.
When we share our biographies, the stories of our lives so far, we offer an opportunity for connection. We may stumble and stammer out a story of such pain, such humiliation or shame, that we think the listener will hate us forever, but then comes a moment of grace. That moment, that "Oh, oh!!! ME TOO!" moment, the momen,t when someone else steps into the story with us, and says, yes. This is being human. And I, too, have stood on the cliff, hoping someone else will take the fall. That connection can save us from the pain of being stuck in a moment of the story that felt like the end.
Shifting our point of view in the story, saying, "perhaps, I am actually not the heroine here, but I might be that deer running by. I might be the sea monster. In this moment, I am the emperor," allows us to shift from our role as victim or savior or perpetrator, into a new way of being.
The goal of all this work, is to find ourselves. We are in the story. The story, our biography, is not us. The story is how we are becoming ourselves. And we are not at the end yet. The story is always beginning, always ending. We are able to say, at any moment, "What if instead of seeing myself as fighting the sea monster now, if I can see myself setting off to rescue my father? What if, right now, I am really the emperor, granting pardon?"
Let's see what shifts.
Sara Renee Logan has been telling stories to everyone who would listen since she was seven. She organized storytimes for her college roommates, and spent a year at Oxford studying folklore and folktales. Many years as a Waldorf teacher allowed her to tell stories about everything from Baba Yaga's hut on chicken legs to the water cycle to the life of Joan of Arc. Sara shares her life with her partner, Melanie, their son, and an unreasonable family of pets. She continues to share her love of storytelling and stories with audiences of all ages, specializing in bringing the wild beauty of folktales to young and old. Sara writes about parenting, storytelling, and about living a life with stories.