A good story- Dressing the Naked Truth

One thing I love is a good story. The story may be part of a film, or a favorite novel, or a biography or part of an inspiring talk – it may be a piece of outstanding journalism – but I do really love a good story.

A good story for me brightens my whole day,  it sends tingles in my brain, and joy in my soul. It may have been dramatic or moving and I would have had my emotions swept along with it, its just like a great rollercoaster ride at the fun fair – your with it all the way and once its done your delighted and want to hear it again.

Thats a good story for me

So, since I have decided i love stories so much, I especially love the spoken word and traditional tales told to a live audience. In a small cozy gathering often in comfortable surroundings with light refreshment and an inspired and talented storyteller, which we all listen to as a community.

I have explored religions through my life too and cultural frameworks of reality which holds what we feel we know to be true. These are all based on story – grand narratives and while there are many issues with religions, wars etc; one of the things I love is the talent of the priest or priestess or Buddha as storyteller, passing on their wisdom and insights in a way that makes better and more virtuous people, wiser, and more prepared for life and its difficulties.

I also enjoy telling stories. I tell stories in my work as an ESL teacher of Chinese children and I love to do all the dramatic bits and the funny voices to delight the children.

So as part of my work and also as a personal interest, I have started to collect little traditional stories as I hear them that are quite short and memorable and preferably have some sort of higher meaning or moral to them.  I have decided to share some of them here in my blog… obviously, in a written format, they are not fully alive, not like when they are performed or told by a teller – but I think it’s nice to share them with their bits of wisdom which others may appreciate in the online world.

One story I heard quite recently relates to my experience of church. When I went to church and heard the gospel about how we are all sinners destined for hell etc it didnt really sink in, I had previously been studying Hinduism and that says we are good with a divine nature, secular thinking also says we are all basically good people and after a while of hearing it and evaluating its truths, i did get a little angry with the idea that we are hopeless sinners in need of a saviour. Some people who hear those words stay angry or at least dismiss them as nonsense – but I never totally did that because while its true everyone is capable of good and if perchance we do any good we are the first to sing our own praises, it is also true, that we have a darker or shadow side which we hide and try to keep under control. Lack of awareness of this side of ourselves and refusing to admit that ok, we may be less than perfect can lead to all sorts of problems.

However, for the Priest whos job it is to present this truth to the people, with flourish and style, having the responsibility for the flock and their moral and spiritual welfare in his hands – he has a hard job to do, to present something that people may get angry about, dismiss etc etc

So I heard a story that could help with this. It’s a Jewish tale and it goes like this:

Once upon a time two very beautiful women met in the woods, they both had long luscious hair, big starry eyes, stunning figures and were both gorgeous in every way. So being a little vain they decided to have a competition to see who was the most beautiful woman. In order to test who was the most beautiful and the most powerful, they decided to have a competition where they would walk through the nearest town in all their beauty and see who would gather the most crowds

One woman’s name was called Truth, the other was called Story

So Truth went first, she was very beautiful and she walked through the town and people did gather at first, but not for long and mostly they then went away and carried on with their business – then thinking she wasn’t doing very well and that she would lose the competition she pulled out all the stops to appear more beautiful, letting down her long hair, shaking it in the breeze and still that didn’t gather the crowds – so feeling there was nothing more to do she decided to take off her garments and appear in the town completely naked

Although Truth was stunningly beautiful, she just still didn’t gather the crowds and instead, now she was naked – people ran away and locked their doors and hid from Truth.
So she went back to lady story and said sadly, I have been utterly rejected and even spat upon by the crowds, they even hid from me – I think I have lost this competition,  I must be very ugly
so Story’s turn came and off she went to the town – she was dressed in finery and when she went through the town the people all came out of their houses and soon there was a huge crowd gathered around her – everyone loved story and she had easily won the competition
So returned to the woods and the two women talked. Truth was humble – I have lost this competition – it must be that Story is more beautiful and more powerful than Truth
But Story replied is it not that I am more beautiful and powerful – it is just that people often don’t like the truth and they especially do not like the Naked truth even though you are indeed a very beautiful woman.
However, all is not lost because all that truth needs to be loved and accepted is the mantle of story and then Story took off her long feathered cloak and gave it to truth and she looked very fine indeed. So now when she went into town the people did gather to see her in her lovely long cloak and soon a big crowd appeared and truth was accepted and loved.
Moral – although Truth in itself is a beautiful woman people do not like her without adornment, they prefer in disguise – dressed in the mantle of story.

 

 

 

 

 

Wisdoms root

white

Inspired by Robert Burns poem the Bards epitaph. I’ve been reflecting on wisdom as a tree of life described in books like the Bible and what it means to be wise. Self control and prudence is her root and shes truly beautiful a white reflection of something glorious and greater than ourselves. I wrote my own poem and made some art(above) in honor of Lady Wisdom. The gnostics believed lady wisdom and the Bride of Christ were one and the same 🙂

Wisdoms root

Silver lady standing tall
whos the fairest of them all
moon maiden bright
white goddess of light
no image is found of the woman renowned
shattered mirror, lost dreams
beauty is not as it seems
but thats how you learn, cause you just cannot earn
a place in the hearafter
fairy bells and laughter
an island of song there to rest.
A serenity of heaven the place, thats the best
Wisdom divine is the luminous woman so fine
self control is her root, and her graceful foot
a reflection to sigh of the Glory on high
Prudence her name and she gives gifts of fame
and old age ripe and healthy, and probably wealthy
a sure sign of Grace on the old human race.

EDIT

Since I wrote this post i have had news that im going to be part of an exhibition with a group of artists called the Last Foundation – the exhibition is on Last Foundation – New directions. So basically the new directions all of us ex-students are going in since passing the course. The ex-students that make up the group Last Foundation have gone onto various fields – fine art, fashion, textiles. For myself I have developed my poetic and storytelling voice, writing short stories in a creative writing class and performing my poetry around Swansea and also being creative in training to be a copywriter – but I have decided I really want to explore the amazing world of new media and digital storytelling. So, Im going to apply for the New Media Degree in Carmarthen and learn everything about videos, film, animations, apps, UX design and so on. So the exhibition will reflect this – im going to do a digital storytelling version of my poem on wisdom and a semi-animated video using after effects and my digital art will be displayed in a cut up mosaic form like a smashed mirror. Ill also include my artwork in the semi-animated video along with royalty free images and sounds I’ve collected from the internet.

I did some further free writing on the project to see what else my poem and artwork could tell me

Wisdom is a tree of life and all those that hold on to her will be blessed (proverbs 3:18)

wisdom is alluring – but she is not to be enjoyed or partaken of by men she is chaste and a reflection of the divine, her gifts are a measure of His Grace – she does not act independently

mirrors reflections – smash the mirror for looking at self – selfie culture, lost in broken dreams and unwise living – beauty is not found in self reflection its found in being the mirror reflection of the Greater Glory a spark eminating from the source of it all. Its in reflection on Him that we may become beautiful and wise – joyful, clean, holy, white with hair like wool

wisdom as a moon maiden
The moon is a reflection of the sun, and so too is true beauty but a reflection of the Creator and its His light that gives delight in the an otherwise barren and bereft form. So it is for the Christian, our job is to be reflections of the Light of the Great Light – the source of all illumination and Glory. Without Him we have no light, we are not radiant or beautiful in ourselves but by cultivating the gifts of the holy spirit and turning our faces to greet the Sun of Righteousnes we too can be beautiful and reflect the His light in an otherwise dark night of an unbelieving sinful world.