I'm reading Julia Cameron’s book “The Right To Write.” She makes it clear that it is her profound belief that writing is as natural to human beings as walking and talking. Everyone should write, she insists. Even you – even me. When I read that, I felt something stirring inside of me, and I thought, this must be what a winter seed feels like when it first begins to stir into life, deep in the dark soil of spring. The sun has not reached it yet, and nothing has yet begun to sprout. It’s just a hard, closed, seed, but something within the core of it is imperceptibly stirring. It is life, stirring. The life itself is moving in it, and I think that’s what’s stirring in me – the life of a new path, a new way of being.
I'm ready for one. I recently retired from a long career; I have the time now, to do some of those things I’ve thought about now and then, but never seriously, and never had the time to do. I’ve kept a personal journal for many years, and it has been a very good sounding-board to help me know what I’m really thinking, really feeling, about life as I go through it from day to day. When I read back through it, I can see more clearly now the things I've learned from the changes and challenges and experiences along the way. Sometimes I’ve wondered, Should I write? Do I have anything meaningful to say? that might help someone else get through some of these same things I've gone through?
Most of us, on one level or another have silently asked ourselves that question in secret: Shall I write? Shall I share my story? Shall I share on the outside who I am on the inside? Maybe. I haven’t made a commitment yet, or even a plan, but something in me is stirring, as if waking up as if from a long hibernation, not for the span of a winter, but for 35 years.
Writing, or any other form of sharing our personal truth may be easy for some people, but for most of us, it's not. I think it has to do with having a basic faith in yourself or not, and that has to do with trusting God or not, and being willing and able to believe that He made you all-right, the way He intended you to be. Personal flaws or not, He did not make a mistake, and you can trust that who and what you are is okay. That’s not always easy, but when you can believe that, then you can move forward to become more, maybe even to achieve your highest potential, your greatest self.
The choice of whether we dare to share ourselves, our thoughts and our personal truths, has to do with either believing that we are basically okay, or else fearing that we might not be okay. After all, you never know for sure, so everybody’s afraid – if you express yourself, others might see your flaws and reject or refuse you.
Refuse you what? Refuse you your right to your full humanity; or shun you as odd or not not-okay. (People are funny that way, you know.) We all tend to judge everything, and make snap decisions about what to praise and what to condemn. Except for a rare few individuals in thousands of years, every human being, even many of the greatest ones, have had some imperfections. So even if you get praised at one point, there is still the danger of being found-out and criticized or condemned later. Oh it’s awful to be condemned. Terrible to be disapproved of. Maybe it is better to be unnoticed, indivisible, safe ...
There lies the dilemma. If you’re invisible you are safe – maybe – but then all that your soul has brought into this world to give away, can’t be given, can’t be shared. It’s locked up inside of you. Spiritual pain, restlessness and longing are the chronic results. Author Julia Cameron says everyone should write, and I agree with her. I would like to know the story behind the story I see every day passing me on the street. There always is one. I’d love to hear your story. I’d love to tell you mine.
Maybe you write in secret, do your artwork in secret, your poetry, your truth studies, your personal ministry in life, and that is very important. But at some point you know it’s not enough. Whatever your soul came here to do, you must do that in order to be healthy and happy. Even if you don’t know what it is, you still have to do it. You have to find out what it is, and do it. The older I get, the more I feel, as the beloved mystery-writer Agatha Christie was once quoted as saying, “I knew I had better pull up my socks and get going.”
Your heart knows, and only your heart knows. There is nobody else you can ask. Sit quietly alone in the silence and ask “What is it that I am here to do? – Am I doing it?” And wait for the still small voice within. Listen, and listen again. Ask and listen. It may take a moment, a year, or a decade, but this is where the true answer lies. When you get the answer, you will recognize it. Then you will know you must do it, and you will begin, and trust God to work out the details.