“We live in story like a fish lives in water. We swin through words and images siphoning story through our minds the way a fish siphons water through its gills. We cannot think without language, we cannot process experience without story.” – Christina Baldwin
Christina Baldwin’s quote leaves me breathless: “We cannot think without language, we cannot process experience without story.” That quote and Martha’s Beck statement that, “the past only exists as a story in your mind,” both found me around the same time. I was searching for answers and instead found something that I had always known.
Everything we do, everything we think and everything we are is a result of the stories that we tell ourselves.
The first stone circle I ever visited was the Ring o’ Brodgar on Orkney. When I walked through the ring of stones the hairs on my arms stood up. It felt strange and energetic and powerful. I didn’t know what was happening to me, but I knew it was something special. No one could tell me for sure about those stones, no matter how much I asked.
When I was in university I wrote a paper for my honours history course on the Druids, with some focus on Stonehenge. I only got 71% on that paper. Why? Because I had no primary sources. Primary sources are a difficult thing to find when the people you are writing about did not write anything down.
What do those two things have in common?
Stone circles have caused modern humans a lot of angst. We are desperate to understand them. We have dug at their foundations and done geophysical surveys and study after study on these rings. None of our science has ever found a definitive answer about standing stones – and it drives us crazy.
We need the story to make sense of the thing. Our minds hate not knowing, so we fill the space with possible stories. My favourite creation tale for Stonehenge is that Merlin had something to do with it. I mean, why not?
This is the same way our brains deal with the unknown in our lives. We make up stories to explain every single thing that happens to us. Our own personal mythology exists so that we can make sense of our world. But how many of these stories are based in reality and how many are as real as the story of a wizard enchanting stones to walk?
A few weeks ago I sat in the shadow of a stone circle and committed to what I know is true for me: the story is the thing.
I committed to digging deep and understanding the nature of the stories we tell ourselves.
I committed to helping to heal those ancient spaces inside – the ones we have been filling with fear.
I committed to not knowing, and instead to deep listening.
I committed to remembering who I am below and beyond story.
I committed to learning how to re-craft my own myths and to re-write my own stories.
I committed to sharing what I find with you.
I hope you’ll come along.
Your own stones are waiting.