One day a young book titled Red Rose Running went to a village elder with a very important question. “Golden Wolf, the world seems to be consuming much. Personalities seem to be getting very full of themselves. There is much conflict. I am worried about our future. I do not feel good enough. What can I do to change this world? What must I do to survive?”
Golden Wolf looked at her and smiled. He then said, “Red Rose Running, you are not alone. Go visit the popular Mainland Library down the street and spend 7 days and 7 nights observing other books. Come back to me and tell me what you think.
Red Rose Running went to the library and spent 7 days and 7 nights. She keenly observed how they were, what they did, how they looked and behaved. She watched them do their work. She watched them interact. She watched them eat and drink. She watched them sleep. After 7 days and 7 nights, she returned to Golden Wolf to report her analysis.
“Golden Wolf,” she said, “I noticed many things. It was hard for me to just observe and not get caught up in their ways, but here is what I think: They seemed to enjoy hanging out with one another in groups. Outside of the library, other books always seem so alone. The library offers a space where they can share their own stories and be together.”
“Yes, but what did you really see? What did you see beneath the book covers? What is your real analysis” asked Golden Wolf.
Red Rose Running pondered. “Well, I did notice that most of the books had very rigid covers that have endured through many generations. They had bold print, as if the ink had dried many years ago deeply into the storied pages. Their stories were largely about guilt, apathy, grief, fear, anger, and anxiety. Many of them seemed to find comfort in sharing their stories over and over again, some gaining pleasure from the sharing, others not even recognizing the repetition. Some of them shared stories of desire, desire for more of something or another. Many were proud of their stories in which they had accumulated much or in which they had won at a competitive game… or beat another at something. It was almost as if every book only understood their own story, and that they saw other books only as references to validate their own stories. They seemed to protect themselves with their own book covers; sometimes opening their covers to other books of similar stories. As I think about it, these books always seemed to hang out in groups… Hmmm, usually with other books of similar stories and book covers. They seemed to not trust books of different covers, but rather showed-off their own strong and rigid covers. If their stories were about being victims, it was almost as if they thought other books were intending to make them victims again. Their own individual stories seemed paramount in everything they did. They saw the world through the lens of their own stories. And the stories just seemed to go on and on and on, surviving one day after another. They were very devoted to their own stories.
Is this how I survive, Golden Wolf, show-off my own strong cover like these popular Mainland Library books and express my great story, making my story the most important story of all stories on this Land? Ahh yes, I have to be stronger and greater than others. This is my analysis!!! This is how I survive!”
Golden Wolf smiled again. “Red Rose Running, you are not alone. Go to the Island Bookstore across the slow-moving Ego River and spend 30 days and 30 nights observing other books. Come back to me and tell me what you see.”
As directed, Red Rose Running waded across the river, noticing its slow-moving yet changing currents, the many ebbs and flows, the uneven bottom surfaces of rocks and fallen trees. The water was cleansing. She spent 30 days and 30 nights and returned across the river to Golden Wolf and reported what she observed.
“Golden Wolf”, she said, “this Island Bookstore had many types of different books. It’s hard to make general observations. But here is what I saw: I saw many books with softer covers, lighter and faded print. Is was as if they got wet and lost their rigidity as they crossed the waters to the Island Bookstore. They seemed more willing to share stories with different types of books and book covers, almost as if there was a certain inquisitiveness or curiosity which attracted books to each other. There were far less groups that just hung out with one another. And it seemed that books were a lot more interested in understanding others stories then telling their own. This Island Bookstore also seemed to have a more transient population of books, almost as if they were going back and forth across many rivers. They wanted to hear my story… but as time went on, I seemed more interested in hearing theirs. Hearing their stories helped me understand mine. I seemed happier here as time went on, but it took me a little while to feel safe.
Golden Wolf, I want to learn more. I’m not sure if going to Island Bookstore helped me know any more about how to survive. It seemed that these books on this Island were perhaps too dependent on each other for survival? Their covers weren’t as strong and their individual stories of individual accomplishment seemed a bit more muddied. Maybe that was just from crossing the river, though. Hmmm, but there was a certain happiness on this Island as books shared their stories more easily. They seemed to feel safe as they opened their pages and let their covers be vulnerable and less protective. Their stories seemed more authentic and accepting. There was a willingness to share. There was even a certain courage to share emotional stories, especially stories of love and kindness and mutual understanding. I’m not sure, Golden Wolf. What shall I do next?”
Golden Wolf knowingly smiled. “Red Rose Running, you are not alone. Go to the Island of Bliss Fairgrounds across the fast-moving Soul River and spend 365 days and 365 nights observing other books. It is located well beyond the Island Bookstore. Come back to me and tell me what you feel.”
Red Rose looked across the turbulent and deep waters of the Soul River. This river appeared a lot more murky and dark. With courage, she leaped in and swam and swam and swam. She swam for her life at times. She noticed some other books in the river this time, all swimming to save their lives, some returning powerfully and confidently, some struggling with her making their way towards Bliss. She worked very, very hard with the clear intention of making it across the river. She noticed her power. She noticed her ability to focus and let go of pain and feel supported, like she wasn’t alone in the swim of her life. Exhausted, she finally arrived to the sandy shore of Bliss and slept.
Upon waking, she noticed that she had lost her book cover in the river. She felt naked. The pages of her story had faded even more. On this island, she noticed that there were many books with blank pages and no covers. Many books had gotten together and merged their stories in a way that past stories faded away each day and new stories were written. And the stories written each day were full of loving kindness, joy, and peace. Each book was dignified in a way that made past stories respected, but irrelevant. All that mattered was the authentic stories-of-the day! Every book had let go of their own individual stories. And there were fairgrounds everywhere, books celebrating their commonly-shared and interdependent stories. There was even singing and dancing! Each book knew exactly who they were without relying on their book covers or their stories for finding a sense camaraderie with others. There was such an atmosphere of wholeness and abundance and interconnectedness and mutual respect… and love! Everyone was helping everyone else! It seemed like an endless utopia.
Red Rose Running did not know what to do. After a week, she thought she knew the answers to her questions, and caught a cargo plane ride back to her village on the mainland.
She told Golden Wolf, “I know the answers to my questions. I will pack my things and just leave and fly back to Island of Bliss and live out my days! I can survive there; no one will hurt me there and I will survive there!”
Golden Wolf was quiet. He pondered the gravity of his answer. “Red Rose Running, in this manner, will you change the world? Will you survive on the Island of Bliss if your world does not change?
Dear Red Rose Running, there are no planes to the Island of Bliss. You must jump into the turbulent waters and swim. You must do the work repeatedly. For a long period of time. Have faith in your powers to swim. Know that there is always a destination, a way home. But you may have to make many river crossings. Jump in! See who is there with you. And celebrate! Through time, through your practice and your example, inspire others to jump into the waters too. Help them wash their stories from their pages, lose their covers in the water, and find their way. Use each swim as an opportunity to understand your deeper stories, the ones that don’t rinse away so easily. In this manner, you will change your world. The world. And the true nature of who you really are will survive!
You see, Red Rose Running, your world exists – and is re-created – in each living moment by what you are paying attention to. It’s your choice.”
“Where do I begin, Golden Wolf?”
Golden Wolf just said:
“Here. Now…. Here. Now, Loved One.
“Let your heart guide you to this truth. It all begins… and ends… here and now!
And each step, each swim, is important… it will change your world!
And you will find each island inside of you, now that you know that they do indeed exist. It’s up to you to choose what your world will be, which places to live and which rivers to cross… and which stories to let go into the currents of time.
Change your world. Choose the life you live. Write your new story – here – and now.”