A Collection of Meanings

“Story is a collection of meanings. Nothing is random” – Al Watt.

The following day after my writing workshop with Al, I sat at an outdoor cafe across from an auto-body shop. Emblazoned in bold yellow letters I read: “We meet people by accident.”

If I learned anything from my philosophy class then by inductive reasoning then accidents are not random. Life is not random; it is a colleetion of meanings. What is the meaning of life? One answer I’ve come up with is that story telling is a method of healing. Sharing stories is more than making connections with others about our similarities, but the process of telling story and absorbing the art form (as a play, book, dance, painting, music, graffitti) is also the opportunity to resonate the truths within us.

There were random events in my 3-day weekend that I’ve decided to string together in a meaningful way beginning with Friday night when I gathered things that have become a clutter in my life. I got a box and stuffed it full of things I didn’t have much use for anymore: CDs, clothes, wine glasses, a vase – things that use to carry meaning for me, but their memories have faded, and/or the meaning was too painful to keep around – so I’m letting them go.

I was reminded of when my siblings and I had tried to “clean out” my parents’ apartment after my father passed away. The apartment, in my eyes, was littered with things that have collected dust, and/or were forgotten in a corner behind something else. When this thing was brought out into the light, “Hey what about this? Can we get rid of it?” I had cried out to my mother, she would howl, “NO!!! That’s…” and I’d forgotten what meaning or symbolism she had attached to this suddenly-precious material object. That thing held meaning for her. The whole apartment was a collection of chapters of a novel and its sequels.

The next day, Saturday, in my writing workshop I’m confronted with stories belabored by hopeful writers telling of wounds and intrigues. Al’s method of teaching is to awaken the unconscious of its collection of random memories and bringing them forward to the conscious mind and framing them around a structure. I left class with the mantra: “Story is a collection of meanings. Nothing is random”.

Sunday morning, I brought my collection of “unwanted meanings” to the thrift store. I browsed through the titles of books at the back and by accident found a book by Caroline Myss called “Why People Don’t Heal And How They Can Heal”. (I’m a quarter of the way through the book now.) In my process of shedding a layer of dead things I was healing with letting go. Whenever I’m going through a catharsis like this I also try to be consicous of how it is reflected in my art. If I’m humble enough I can see reflections of where ART illuminates LIFE. (I’ve been rewriting the scene of a dying man who has accepted his death, but an aspect of his reality is his family is not yet ready to let him go.) Thus as it is with healing, we’re probably not yet ready to let go of our illnesses.

In her practice of energy medicine Caroline Myss states that “your biography becomes your biology” meaning that our beliefs manifests in our cells and can alter our DNA accordingly.

As terrifying as disease is, it is also an invitation to enter into the nature of mystery. Our lives are made up of a scries of mysteries that we are meant to explore but that are meant to remain unsolved. We are meant to live with the questions we have about our lives, even use them as companions, and allow them to lead us into the deepest recesses of our nature, wherein we discover the Sacred. I hope that this book will help you find new ways of framing the meaning of illness and other life challenges and help you move deeper into your mysteries and further along your personal path toward spiritual mastery.” – Caroline Myss, “Why People Don’t Heal And How They Can”. I can see how there are many aspiring writers who want to share their stories because the process of getting it down is therapy. But it’s not whole until it has come alive in its true form: a published novel, a staged play, or recorded music. Ah… I think I should switch to drawing or painting, because it might be easier for me to express the story in an image with lines and light, then framing the picture and putting it up. This writing thing (aka healing) is damn hard. Why would anyone want to do it? That would mean change, which leads to growth, which is then expansion – and POP! goes the balloon; or it can fly away, way up in the sky – free like a bird.

– Analyn Revilla

2 thoughts on “A Collection of Meanings

  1. Hi Nancy, I will pass on your comment to Al. I am sure he will be happy to hear what you said. He is one of those teachers… “the best teacher are those who are on the path.” Thank you.

  2. Loved this post! I’m a huge fan of Caroline Myss and have read several of her books — glad you ACCIDENTALLY (kidding) ran into her. And I got to meet Al Watt some years ago, great guy.

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