November 19, 2018

{Diana As Messenger} Book-in-Progress Excerpt {1}

There are times when someone’s influence and contributions are less in how they lived their life and more in what that life revealed about ourselves. Was Diana Spencer Mountbatten-Windsor’s life, in Shakespeare’s princely words, about “cracking open a noble heart”—and with her death, our own?

Diana—charismatic, photogenic and clever—came onto the scene in the explosion of celebrity-focused mainstream media (celebrity gossip was not just for the tabloids anymore) and began breaking rules immediately. Perhaps it was her easy beauty and princess glow that first drew us in, yet there was something deeper, even mythological, that had us linger.

Looking back at Princess Diana’s complex life and impact of her early death, to really see her true mission, I looked to “the poet’s way.” This is how documentarian Phil Cousineau explained the remarkable Joseph Campbell’s way of reading and understanding the inner depths of the ancient myths: “symbolically, metaphorically, soulfully.” And this set my course.

Following this thread, I was reminded of an On Being radio interview with author, pastor and biblical interpreter Eugene Peterson. He considered it important to know that the old prophets of the Bible were poets, so you would read scripture with your imagination, listening in the storytelling rhythm of how they communicated in their day, and in turn, learning the nature and meaning of metaphor. In other words, so you wouldn’t “try to literalize everything.” The beloved teacher considered the metaphor “a remarkable kind of formation because it both means what it says and what it doesn’t say. Those two things come together, and it creates an imagination which is active. You’re not trying to figure things out; you’re trying to enter into what’s there.”
If we use this poetic framework and view Diana’s life and death as a metaphor, a mythical allegory that played out on a world stage—with it meaning what we saw and what we didn’t see, what we heard and didn’t hear—then her unique contribution to the world is not about figuring out her life story, but entering into the now unlocked heart-space her death opened in us. And it is only then that we can see the world with the imagination of the heart. ~

[Excerpt from the Introduction, "Diana As Messenger," of my book-in-progress, tentatively titled, A Memory of Beauty: The Spiritual Mission of a Princess...more excerpts to come.]

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