Myths Are Good Medicine by Kelly McGannon

It’s hard being human, especially when the world feels hard. Nowadays, we live in a fishbowl of constant exposure to the unnatural noise of unnatural tweets and digital pings, chimes, and chirps. I miss bird song and the sound of my own inhales and exhales. I miss the wonder of watching a golden eagle soar overhead and stare me down.

This is real connection, and I don’t have to push a single button to find it. I just have to put less nourishing things away and step back into the physical, natural world that is within eyeshot.

In times like these, it’s good to get outside, away from the constant glare and noise, and find some land you like. Step out into it and let your animal nature, your humanity, stalk the land for as long as is needed in order to remember who you are. Let Nature return you to your nature. Let it wash away from you all the hardness and rigidity. Let the unnatural sounds quiet away and let the drum of your own heart grow its music.

Your heart is the place where the old stories live, and it has medicine for what ails you.

Somewhere in the darkness of the cave of your heart sits more than just sinew, muscle, and blood. Inside sits a myth-maker who is working to attune you to the stories that tumble past you as you walk, that traverse through you as you breathe, and that were fused into you like living stars when born. This myth-maker might be very old or very young but he or she is tied to everyone and everything.

This mythic storyteller knows something about what troubles you. He or she has seen the whole world and all that has weighed down the many world weary men and women that have come before you.

Path through woods in fall
Appalachian Trail: Totts Gap to Mount Minsi (2) by Nicholas A. Tonelli. CC license.

Because these tellers of tales are so ancient, they naturally speak at a different pace than your modern tongue. It takes time to fall into rhythm with the Old Ways…to figure out how to empty yourself enough to hear them.

But, your feet know the way. They know how to move you back into your natural rhythm step by step. When you feel that entrainment click within you, a natural sheltering will begin to unfold. You’ll feel an ease in your body you used to know and then the world will open up to you. Tiny, numinous images or fragments of words will begin to arrive like sweet, small birds. Favorite stories, maybe those you haven’t thought of in forever, will begin to tumble out of your cave of forgotten dreams to find you. Even the land you walk over will begin to speak to you, gifting you with the stories and poems that were born on it so long ago.

These whispered words and seen images are good medicine. They come from places discovered long ago by those you come from. All of this wisdom is still held in the library of your heart where the connective tissue sits like pages of a book, binding you to those who came before you. When you soften, you will feel these invisible, mythic hands pressing honeyed sweetness into the places that hurt. The loveliness of it all is achingly good.

And, suddenly, you realize that what you’ve really been after in the mad habit of clicking and tweeting and liking was simply to be touched by someone or something that loves you…

…to connect with what seeks to connect with you.

The love of thousands sits within you. Reconnect. You know the way.


Kelly McGannon
Kelly McGannon is a writer and transformational coach living in the Washington D.C. metro area. A graduate of Yale and Princeton Universities, her work has appeared in DreamTime, Outside In Literary and Travel, Braided Way, So To Speak, Teach.Yoga, and the anthology Dreams That Change Our Lives. Kelly is completing a Jungian Studies Reading Seminar certificate through the Jung Society of Washington (JSW) and has led interactive workshops on the power of myth and storytelling on the East Coast.

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