When I ask myself, Why write?, the very real, personal answer is simply that it keeps me sane and healthy. I’m a much more whole, happy, focused person when I am consistently writing - expressing my raveled, real self with words and images. Even if I’m writing about a silly childhood memory of a family vacation, my time that day or week with my children is more relaxed and centered, because I’m giving my soul a necessary, creative outlet in writing.
Beyond that, I write to find myself, and to find meaning.In writing my stories, I have learned the most about myself. I have seen disparate pieces of my life come together like a million-piece jigsaw puzzle, astounded at the clear scene I stand gazing at in the end. It is as author and doctor Charles L. Whitfield wrote, "While it is useful for others to hear our stories, the most useful and healing thing about telling our own story is that we, the story teller, get to hear our story. When we tell our story from our hearts, bones and guts, from our Real Self, we discover the truth about ourselves. Doing so is healing.” I have seen this exact thing played out time and time again in my life.
But if I stopped with the question, Why write?, the picture would be very incomplete. It would speak to the calming and healing of my own soul, but say nothing of your soul?Nothing of the hearts I encounter every day, in both intimate and passing ways. What if we could meet in that deep, creative, open space, and find our stories intersecting? What if we could experience what author Anne Lammot describes when she wrote, "If a writer or artist creates from a place of truth and spirit and generosity, then I may be able to enter and ride this person’s train back to my own station.”
The inevitable question becomes, Why share?I have spent a lot of time working through that question. Working through my need to be affirmed, my desire to be respected and known. Wrestling down the demons of people-pleasing and perfectionism in me. I have had to come back to, Why share?, many times, until I was finally able to see the beauty of owning and sharing something so personal, so very me, is that it gives others permission to do the same for themselves.
Sharing my raveled, real self gives others permission to express their own selves freely, to question “all the right answers”, to search behind facades and to find that slender thread of meaning woven throughout their own lives.The goal for me is freedom and connection.
Above all, I long for my writing to create a space for others to become familiar with their own stories, to get messy searching and to get comfortable not knowing.As author Anne Lammot put it, "I try to write the books I would love to come upon, that are honest, concerned with real lives, human hearts, spiritual transformation, families, secrets, wonder, craziness—and that can make me laugh. When I am reading a book like this, I feel rich and profoundly relieved to be in the presence of someone who will share the truth with me, and throw the lights on a little..." I am alive and well today because of writers like this. And I long, above all, to be a space like that for you.
I believe with all my being what author Sue Monk Kidd articulated in her book Firstlight, "Discovering our personal stories is a spiritual quest. Without such stories we cannot be fully human, for without them we are unable to articulate or even understand our deepest experiences.” I have been on this quest for myself - writing and uncovering and owning what is me - and have experienced incredible healing and clarity and hope.
Through writing, I have discovered the beauty and inherent goodness of every soul, endowed with divine light by the Divine.I have learned to love mystery and to stand in awe of the unknown. I have watched my heart open up to love and to dream and to go forth bravely, where before I sat numb and afraid.
Why write? To find your story. To find your True Self, stifled by years of shoulds and don'ts and musts. To find that one slender thread - of hope, of Divine love, of truth - woven throughout all your days. And so to find meaning. And joy. And life.
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