August 30, 2010

Creating Stories

This morning I woke up, at 5:30am, to an NPR report about how humans are wired to create stories, especially about our future. It was the perfect nugget for me to noodle as today I start teaching full time for the remainder of the quarter at the Art Institute. This increased teaching load is an unexpected twist to my ever-evolving "Story of Amy".

The NPR reporter discussed how humans are tuned to creating scenarios and that we perceive our lives as novels with opening and closing chapters. Unlike other species, we look for greater meaning, our higher purpose. This is why great civilizations have been built. However, in each of our journey's there are occurrences that take us away from our story line and cause us to rewrite the next chapter.

I think that it is the unknown that causes so much anxiety. Going with the flow is not easy, especially if you have an active, creative imagination such as I do. What I have been teaching my students is that you can't write each sentence, you need to articulate your greater intention, your vision.

Sometimes distractions take away our focus. For me it is the piling on off too many commitments. They all seem important and certainly interesting but they become obstacles that interfere with my intention. I suppose I can teach as many topics as I do because of all these various paths I've taken. however, I wonder of this tendency to load-it-on is an effort to fill in the blanks in the story and to relieve the anxiety of the unknown.

Meditation, which I have been exploring lately, offers a respite from story telling. It is an opportunity for my mind to pause and rest. Now that I discover moments to meditate I have less anxiety, although it is an ongoing discovery of letting go.