The remembered past and imagined future are stories, and your understanding or anticipation is one view of the experience. That gives you a great opportunity! You can redefine your stories.
You can rediscover the stories of your life and open up to new possibilities!
Midrash has historically been used to create new levels of understandings of scripture by fleshing out and revisiting a story in new ways. Usually the midrash is a written or verbal retelling of the original story.
“Where gaps, curiosities, and seeming contradictions existed in the text, the rabbis brought the gift of their imaginations. Spinning stories out of the spaces between the lines…”
~Jan L. Richardson, In the Sanctuary of Women, 2010
Using midrash as a tool to explore one of the stories of your life uncovers new way of seeing and understanding the story.
Here are a few ways you could visit your story in new ways:
- Retell your story from someone else’s viewpoint
- Relate this story to another experience in your life
- Compare this story to a song, book, poem, or piece of art
- Move the story to a different time or place
Take the retelling of your story a step further by expanding the definition of midrash to include possibilities beyond just words.
The new telling of your story, your midrash, can take the form of any expression you enjoy: a dance, a song, a quilt, drumming, a garden, or any other expression.
Creating midrash as a contemplative, intuitive experience is a conversation with your own inner wisdom and understanding. The process of uncovering a new layers in a story is as meaningful as the new understandings of the story.
My experience of creating a midrash for a chapter of The Soul of a Pilgram by Christine Valters Painter is an example. Rather than simply writing a new story for the given text, I let words flow into a winding path on the paper, letting my intuition and imagination loose. The experience of creating the midrash was pure enjoyment as I played with two of my favorite things: color and form. Here is what emerged.
You can expand the stories of your life and open up new possibilities!
Next steps to help you use midrash to explore your stories:
Examples of written midrash:
- The Soul of a Pilgrim by Christine Valters Paintner
- In the Sanctuary of Women by Jan L. Richardson
- Midrash about Eve by Marcia Chadly
Free live video chat with Marcia:
Friday, April 22nd at 10:30 am MT
Join me as I share thoughts to spark your imagination on using midrash on your life experiences in a 5-10 minute live video post on Facebook. Open the Creative Life Center Facebook page at that time and the live video will be available as a post. Post comments to share your thoughts and questions. The recorded video will be available for later viewing.