A decade ago, after having read all the books he’d written on fearless creativity, I hired Eric Maisel to coach me through the process of writing my first book. I had no idea if what I was writing would ever make any sense to anyone else, and it didn’t really matter. I only knew that I could not die with the story still in me.
Having lived the story as my life experience was one thing, but needing to write it was another thing entirely.
I sensed a risk if I didn’t tell my story. The risk was that somebody else would. I simply couldn’t let that happen. I had to discover what I needed to say for myself. And writing was the way for me to do so.
There was another perceived risk, too, as any autoethnographer or memoirist will tell you. It is the idea that having written, I might upset others. But somebody once said, and I can’t remember who, that if you’ve lived it then you get to write it.
So I chunked along on the page for many, many moons because that’s how the story came to me, in chunks over time as I endeavoured to speak the truth of my life as honestly as I could to myself through writing words. Then one day after I’d laid down a sentence on the page, the chunks stopped.
The end? But there is so much more to tell!
I was perplexed by the definite feeling of completion. Curious, I walked away from my desk to make myself a cup of tea in the kitchen, and while doing so decided it was time to read what I’d written all the way through, from beginning to end. Because from where I currently stood it felt like what I’d produced was just a mess of words.
A few pages in I realized that I was captured and enraptured by the story’s momentum as though I hadn’t written it.
How can this be? It’s not as if I don’t know how it all goes!
Apparently, the reader in me is altogether different from the writer in me.
I became engaged in an entirely new process. I could not stop reading! So I moved out to the front yard to sit under the cedar trees until the sun went down, and eventually I was surrounded by darkness. The only light present was the light emanating from the screen of my laptop computer. A few hours later, I heard my younger son arrive home and call out my name. I hollered back to him to let him know where I was. And he came to find me sitting in the dark backyard.
“Mom, why aren’t there any lights on in the house? Are you okay?”
I reassured him, and continued to read.
When I finally read the last line on the final page a long while later, everything in me came to a halt. It was over. I was standing on new ground. And I was not the same person as I’d been when I’d began reading.
I love this woman. She’s amazing!
Gone was any shame and blame I’d burdened myself with about the life I’d lived. I had survived. That was something. For a weaker woman may not have lived to tell the tale. And it was the first time I ever sensed that nothing had ever gone wrong in my life. I became aware of the fact that through every encounter I’d ever had to face myself through, I’d learned something of tremendous value, and love always remained. Love remained! It was never not present. I always and eventually came home to love in me.
I wondered how this could be possible when the story seemed so tragic. Does anyone ever set out on their life’s path to be widowed, divorced, and then abandoned by those who have claimed to love you? I sure hadn’t yet that’d been the trajectory of my life story. I never wanted to live it let alone write it and then read it!
In the months that followed, I learned how to self-publish and the story became a book that one day was delivered to my doorstep. I wept the first time I held it in my hands and felt the weight of it.
The alchemy of writing changed my relationship to the past and generated a new potential for the future.
The book was published July 23rd on the Feast Day of Mary Magdalene — a day marking an event in human history when in 1209 the townspeople of Bezier, located in the south of France, willingly went to their deaths rather than publicly deny the true relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus. Along with the Cathars, who were living in their midst and being hunted by the pope’s men, they stood in holy truth rather than commit heresy even though it was heresy with which they were accused.
True heresy is denial of the divine; that which is seeded in all of life, everyone and everything. Historically, people have been accused of heresy when they refused to be indoctrinated by human opinion, belief, and lies. And the story of humanity, of which we all play characters, is laden with this denial.
Reading my story written on the page allowed me to witness a part of myself who has always known her way through the earth school labyrinth of learning, and apparently on a mission to reveal and heal the ways I’ve known myself in fear. For fear is the great liar. With her, it’s been my job to fulfill the curriculum assigned to my soul in order to transform the lineage of history that is mine to live, learn through, and move beyond in truth.
I learned that I am not who I think I am. You are not who you think you are either. Nobody is. The divine is beyond who we know ourselves to be and it uses the masks of personality, the characters we’ve agreed to play in the ever unfolding story of humanity, to evolve. Our job is to face ourself in all the selves we think we are and let the lies fall away. Then we see anew as everything seeks to unfold in witness to our divinity.
Had I said this a thousand years ago (and maybe I did), I’d have been burned at the stake (and maybe I was) along with the Cathars. But this is now and I am saying it for all to hear. Our divinity is our true inheritance. Knowing this is what transforms the world we’ve created so far into the world that is possible in truth.
Here’s what I can tell you in certainty. Every moment of change in my life was a moment of release, and then movement forward to the next station of learning. My willingness to flow with the go was actually a saving grace teaching me the source of my safety. And once learned, it was forever gained because nothing true is ever lost. And love always remains.
In the process of letting go there was sadness and all manner of emotional drama, but I let it move through me like the river of change that it is. In the end, there was never anything to fear. Only more to love. And in the loving, more of me to be. For the journey has always been and continues to be about becoming myself — of the divine, as the divine, for the divine in all — my true self.