“We are all storytellers. Our stories are fabulous pieces of interwoven fabric that age in time like a fine wine. Our stories are filled with fiery confrontations, mindless meanderings, the building of identity and self, and fatefully surrendering to time. Whether the story we tell is about us, god or goddess, or people we know, in every telling the fish caught becomes bigger, the color we imagined brighter, and the struggle often greater. Regardless of the story told, it is not until the telling of the story that it has a chance to live a life of its own. It is the living on its own where the story has the chance to grow, change, and develop. We tell our stories over and over again until the energy of them has passed, and there is nothing left to learn from them.”-Sophocles: Mending a Broken Heart, Chapter 5,The Transcriber – Modern Psychotherapy
Arrival of the Hierophant
Finding the god-like part in all of us.
There is a movie quote that will live in infamy in my mind forever. I was 9 years old when I went to the theater to watch Ghostbusters. I remember going with my friends, and we instantly started quoting the movie back and forth to each other. The movie, after all, is a quote machine, specifically Bill Murray’s character (movie trivia fact: his part was originally inspired by and written for John Belushi).
The quote in my mind is near the end of the movie (just before the entrance of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man). The four Ghostbusters are on the roof confronting the goddess (god?) Gozer. Dan Aykroyd’s character is confronting Gozer attempting to negotiate. Gozer asks if he is a god. Dumbfounded, Dan Aykroyd’s character responds with a clumsy, “No.” Gozer wields back and unleashes their power upon them blowing them and the roof apart. Picking themselves up, and just before the Ghostbusters agree to cross streams, Bill’s character proclaims, “Dammit! When someone asks if you’re a god, you say yes!” *
*Upon editing it was noted there is a Mandela Effect going on with this quote. Bill Murray does not actually say the line, Ernie Hudson’s character does…. Just in case somebody other than Twitter started fact checking 😉
I began my quest for gods and goddesses at that point. Bill Murray was already a god to me after his role in Caddyshack (at that age, he was the only character I identified with in the movie). However, his role in Ghostbusters cemented his place. If Bill Murray is a god, who else is? And if there is more than one god, why aren’t I one?
My religious studies progressed. I stumbled humbly into Judeo-Christian literature where it notes that ‘god created us in their image.’ “Aha!” I said, “See, I am a god, just like Bill Murray!” Humorously, trying the image on for size, I began to respond affirmatively when the name god was used in vain. I heard, “Dear god!” or “Oh my god!”, and would respond with a, “Yes?” “I swear to god!” was a bit more complicated… I answered with, “Yes, my child?” or “Do not be afraid to swear, as I’ve heard all the words.”
The more I studied the more I realized every religion has its own version of this: “There is a little Buddha in every one of us.”; “You have the ability save us, just like Muhammad!”; “Dance the Nataraja and awaken the Shiva (or Kali) within you!”
I am reminded of this today because I feel as though I lost a good friend. I say friend loosely, because we never actually met. He was a musical performer, and arguably one of the best guitarists, certainly ukulele, and singers of a generation. I had never heard of him until a little more than a year ago. After seeing him my first time, I was hooked. I learned during the show that he had been battling cancer, and losing, so I scrambled to see him two more times. I was recently notified that he passed away last week.
In my work as a therapist, I do my best to help someone align and come to terms with all the different voices, thoughts, and emotions they have. The best example, that I can think of, in which this concept comes to fruition is in the world of art. It is when all of the voices within us align and speak congruently; this is when the god-like parts of who we are begin to inform us, and eventually impact the rest of the world. You can see this happen on stage to a dancer (because the soma/body is a huge part of this process), I have witnessed it in paintings (specifically Dali’s work), and most recently on a stage in Nicasio Valley. His name was Willie K.
During his performances I laughed, cried, danced, and felt his god-like offering connect with the god or goddess within me; the entire congregation in attendance did. It is not often I can claim to be like Bill Murray, but Willie K, in his days of dying, found that part of himself and offered what he could to the world, reminding me of how beautiful things can be.
Below is a clip of one of his earlier concerts. You can see how he is literally combining all parts of himself, combining his opera training with his rock n’ roll desire. It is an incredible offering, and only wish I was there live.
To Willie K, and the learning he offered!