Today at our wholeness ethics meeting we talked about ourselves as part of a story, what Kenneth Taylor calls the "narrative self." I had asked the men to write down their transcendent mission statement in life: What is the big thing that you want to do or be?
There was a time when I didn't know what this was. My mission
was very now-centered. I just wanted to escape suffering and boredom. I
wanted to be entertained. Then I started asking if what I was serving was
worthy of me. Was it big enough?
This question goes to the heart
of how we define ourselves, what part we write for ourselves (or allow
to be written) in the Big Narrative. Do I see myself as a healer or a
victim? Am I writing my own part or do I feel others are writing it for
Ironically, even here in prison, where it might seem like my
part is being written by others, I feel like I'm writing it more now than
As I listened to some of the men share their mission
statements at the meeting today, I was moved to see men who had made destructive decisions, yet
were not allowing themselves to be defined by those decisions or by
their current circumstances.