I wasn’t expecting to get blissed out at a lecture on mythology, but since Michael Meade was the one speaking, I should have known better. A thoroughly engrossing storyteller, Meade made his presentation in part to promote his new book, Fate and Destiny: The Two Agreements of the Soul (GreenFire Press, 2010). He began the evening by using stirring stories from his own boyhood to illustrate the compelling nature of the topics of his book. Here’s an example: When Meade was on the verge of adolescence, he asked his aunt to give him a history book as a birthday present. The aunt obliged, went to a bookstore, and standing on the tips of her toes, grasped for a book on the top shelf of the history section. Her blind reach, however, resulted in a fateful mistake. When Meade opened his present, he discovered not a book on history, but a volume with a flying horse on the cover, and the word “Mythology” announcing itself as the title. The aunt apologized and offered to exchange it, but Meade, struck with wonder, insisted on keeping the gift.
Not too long after this event, Meade got a glimpse of the life-sustaining roles that story and myth were to play in his life: One night at the movie theater Meade was attacked by a bunch of knife-wielding boys seeking retribution for an act committed by one of Meade’s friends. Terrified, Meade found himself weaving a story, the words for which seemed to appear from thin air. He told his attackers about the life of the boy they were angry at, about his troubled relationship with his dad, and other difficulties the boy had experienced. Perhaps because the description of the boy’s life so mirrored their own misery, the gangsters became mesmerized and put down their weapons, freeing Meade.
And so was the beginning of the life of one destined to become a mythologist-storyteller-healer. Via his nonprofit, the Mosaic Multicultural Foundation, Meade now uses the gift of storytelling that he once used to free himself to help at-risk inner city youth liberate themselves from the circumstances of their lives. And it was obvious from the wide eyes and dropped jaws at the lecture I attended that his yarn-weaving magic extends beyond the work of his nonprofit to anyone longing to discover the purpose and meaning of their lives.
Go to www.mosaicvoices.org for more of Michael Meade’s work, including a great video of Meade speaking on “Fulfilling the Genius Within,” a topic of his book Fate and Destiny: The Two Agreements of the Soul.