Firstly, let me apologize for it being so long since my previous post. Secondly, this is a departure from my normal writings on this site, not so much creative writing, but expressing a bit of my truth. As is usual, though, this writing is inspired by something someone else wrote. Actually, the inspiration first came from the spoken word and some of the ‘blanks’ filled in once I read them in written form. What I particularly like about this poem is there are so many ways to interpret each stanza. When I first heard it, my mind wanted to take certain phrases and run with them in the moment which left me missing many parts until I snapped back into the present. Reading the entire poem filled in those gaps that I missed the first time. I encourage you to read the following poem. Deliberately. Wholly. With an open mind. With an open heart. Take your time, I’ll be there at the end.


By Michael Burke

The stories that we tell ourselves 

Are some of the strongest Illusions we create 

For there’s a story inside every story

And there’s a fate inside every fate

There’s a way we think it should go 

Then there’s a way that it seems to come 

And never the twain shall meet 

Until we have unified as one 

This illusion of separation 

This sense that something is happening To us

Is but a confirming delay for our wholeness 

As these persistent Illusions move through us

For until we see the illusion no more 

Only the truth of the moment to be 

Shall we realize that Nothing is happening TO us

It’s happening FOR us… Eternally 

Each character that we play

And every actor we’ve assigned 

Play the roles that show us ourselves

Until we are no longer blind

Then… we see through God’s own eyes 

How the union is so complete 

And every doubt we’ve ever had 

Suggests a lesson quite incomplete  

For until we see that we are all 

Including every judgment we’ve ever made 

We shall dance inside these illusions

Deliriously dismayed 

Judging things with right or wrong 

And labeling good or bad 

These are the mayhem of mythos 

These illusions that drive us mad 

For each of us are Saints 

Who often believe we are sinners 

And though a thousand lives we’ve lived 

We are forever just beginners 

We are playing every role 

We are the gist of every story 

We are the Anger in our Agony 

And the God within our Glory 

For everything we need to know 

Is already deep within our clay 

Let’s watch the stories we tell ourselves

And not allow them to guide us astray

For we are more than the stories we tell 

We are The Source from whence they arrive 

And Source has no need for mayhem

Or the Mythos that keeps it alive.

Be aware that I’m not interpreting this poem – it doesn’t need it as it stands on its own. It just brought to surface ideals I have tried to live up to in my past along with limitations I have put on myself more recently. Fortunately, I knew the topic of the poem would be about mythos before I heard it. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “Mythos” in part as “a pattern of beliefs expressing often symbolically the characteristic or prevalent attitudes in a group or culture.”

I first went to my childhood to remember what prevalent attitudes shaped my view of the world and myself. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Big boys don’t cry.
  • Parents are always right.
  • Don’t trust anyone you don’t already know.
  • If someone hits you, hit them back.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street.

I would argue these prevalent attitudes, my fundamental beliefs as a child, were greatly flawed. Of course, boys cry – boys of all ages. Parents sometimes are mistaken. I tend to trust everyone until they give me a reason not to. Fighting back is usually not the best response, and looking both ways? I still do to this day, even when crossing a one-way street!

The point is, these ‘programs’ that I was taught not only didn’t serve me as I grew older, they probably kept me from realizing my full potential.

As I got older, I found that I set my own limitations. I put into place reasons of why I couldn’t achieve greater. I think many of us have done that. Some of the things I have heard other people say include:

  • “I failed the 3rd grade.”
  • “My father was an alcoholic.”
  • “I was abused as a child.”
  • “My parents were poor so I couldn’t go to college.”
  • “I’m divorced so people see me as damaged goods.”
  • “I’m not worthy of anything good happening to me.”
  • “Those that excel are just lucky. I’m not that lucky.”

As it turns out, these are not reasons at all. They are merely excuses for not excelling. Sure, things happen, but they don’t happen TO us. They are but the threads that make up our fabric of life.  A teacher once explained to me that bad things happen to good people, circumstances beyond their control. What separates us is how we react to those circumstances. How many of us quickly fall into victim mode? “Well, I was just a victim of circumstance…”

My belief system now assures me that I was closest to “all that is” the moment I was born. After that, the human condition caused me pain, then fear, then to learn to protect myself, wrapping my inner being in layers and layers of protection. I think we all go through those stages. I also believe we devote our lifetime to the process of removing all of those protective layers so we can, again, experience that goodness (godliness?) that is deep within us.

You can find out more about the author of the poem, Michael Burke, at his website: