I have been taking this amazing class this term, called Writing To Heal (an amazing gift from the goddess) in which we are encouraged to "write from the wound". Good advice that is hard to follow. The two primary challenges that I have encountered are, first, knowing which wound: recognizing the the original source of the pain. The second is know which stories are mine to tell.
My wounds and my pain, the stories I most need to sort though and get down, are tangled with those of others. And the quandary becomes, how to tell my story without telling anyone elses? What is mine to tell and what is not? In the past I have sometimes solved this by writing fiction --or claiming so. If all the 'characters' are fictional, then all their stories are mine to tell. But it doesn't work in every case, or with every story.
I suppose must of us cloth our stories in fiction, or present them as such. We simplify, accentuate the positive, or the parts we think serve us best. We edit around the would and hide from the pain. We ask out the pretty, simple girl, rather than risk the intimate depths and murky darkness of an intelligent and complicated woman. We take the safe and easy path, the one that keeps us within our comfort zone. And always, always, we confuse where the line lies between our stories and the stories of others.
The trouble with making a fiction of our lives is that we become the stories we tell. The mask we wear becomes our face. And so I have been trying to find my real story, amongst the fiction I have woven, trying to untangle it from the stories that are not mine.
As I do so I have been thinking of the story that lead me to go back to school. A parable of sorts. The story tells of a teacher who becomes frustrated with an impertinent student: outraged by the students questions, the teacher seizes a world map, tears it to pieces, and tosses the pieces at the student, telling the student to busy themselves putting the map back together. The student does so in remarkably short time. When the teacher demands to know how, the student explains "On the back of the map was a picture of a person, I put the person back together, and in so doing mended the world" That was the story that put me on the path of becoming an Art Therapist, and I think that may be the true secrete of sustainability. If we can mend our broken selves, and broken ways, we would -in so doing- mend this broken Earth.