Long before writing was invented, human beings read their world. They interpreted their dreams and the flights of birds. They read the intestines of sacrificial animals and the memories of their ancestors. They read the things that surprised them, or the things that reminded them of something else. Most of all, they read in the places where there were holes—spaces—gaps. They filled up the blanks of the universe, as though they were pages, with writing. Leonardo advised aspiring artists to “discover” the pictures to be found in cracks on walls; Chinese sages were conceived as their mothers stepped into the footprints of unicorns; all of us make up our lives out of the cracks in the walls of our past memories and the unicorn prints of our futures. The making of a life is similar to the making of a text. We live by reading our own stories.
Whatever we do in our lives, we make a text of our lives. Whether or not our stories belong to the shared patterns of the great, true stories—the myths—they are the texts from which we find out our relation to the divine, to one another and to the self.
Linda Sexson, Ordinarily Sacred