Our Stories and the Power of “Now”

The ghost of one of my literary heroes inhabits the Carquinez Straits, which I can see right outside my front door. More than a hundred years ago, Jack London patrolled the Straits as an environmental protectionist of the straits’ natural wildlife – animal and human. He wrote about this experience in his non-fiction work, Tales of the Fish Patrol. In fact, one of the most important reasons Jack London is high up on my list of literary heroes is because he was what I call a “Worker Bee Writer”. He had a day job, AND he wrote.

I’ve gone back to one of London’s last books, the novel Star Rover (published as The Jacket in the United Kingdom), which I read for American Lit class fifty years ago. The beginning of Chapter 1 spoke to my soul, “All my life I have had an awareness of other times and places. I have been aware of other persons in me. – Oh, and trust me, so have you…Read back into your childhood, and this sense of awareness I speak of will be remembered as an experience of your childhood. You were not fixed, not crystallized. You were plastic, a soul in flux, a consciousness and an identity in the process of forming…”

The main character in the novel is a prisoner at San Quentin State Prison, and the book was published in 1915 when a torture device (called “the jacket”) was still used to break the spirits of prisoners. Darrell Standing, the novel’s main character, withstands the torture by going into a trance-like state in which he says, “I trod interstellar space, exalted by the knowledge that I was bound on [a] vast adventure, where, at the end, I would find all the cosmic formulae and have made clear to me the ultimate secret of the universe. In my hand I carried a long glass wand. It was borne in upon me that with the tip of this wand I must touch each star in passing.”

From Chapter 6 on of the Star Rover, I was intrigued most by the character’s decoding of his life. His memories were messages from his childhood that helped him shape his destiny, that motivated him to face present situations and solidify the values by which he lived his life in the now. These messages from his past were helping the character create his purpose in real time.

It occurred to me, in re-reading the book, that writers have an advantage over non-writers. They are commissioned to write stories; they have a (poetic) license to do so. But all of us have stories, right? Stories of times when we made a difference. Stories as unique as the person telling the story.

As a people, are we losing our ability to tell stories? It seems to me that maybe whole generations are forgetting how to pass on wisdom, know-how, kindness, and compassion to those coming alongside them. Let me tell you emphatically: You have a meaning-full message that needs to be passed on, not passed over. You have what marketers call a unique POV (point of view).

Time to exercise your license to chronicle your story. Have fun being an omnificent writer! Go back to that “identity in the process of forming” that is the child in you. Use a blank journal or plain-ole notebook and let your hand scribe the thoughts clamoring to get out. See where your writing takes you. Most of all, share what you have written with others.

As many have learned during this year of having to shelter in place, your thoughts have power to help you and others be your best selves. Or, as the character in Star Rover put it, “Spirit alone endures and continues to build upon itself through successive and endless incarnations as it works upwards toward the light.”

At the Geomic Code Research Institute, we can help you focus your attention on your unique set of individual and professional developmental opportunities in a way you may not have done before. Let us help you open the door to these resources you have within yourself. I invite you to take a Geomic Code Assessment and contact us so that we can show you how your Geomic D-N-A can help you better interact with the world around you.

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