Transforming Fear to Joy

Mining the Soul by Penning the Truth

As you may have guessed by some of my previous blogs, my transformational practices are an eclectic mix of writing, meditation and yoga with writing being my first self-discovery tool.  For a simple illustration of writing’s ever-seductive, truth-telling quality, I return to a memory of its unconscious gift at work:

“H – E – L – E – N  . . . , I guess we know who wrote this,” echoed my Father’s deep baritone  from our 1950s postage-stamp kitchen.  Three curious beaming faces ran in to have a look.  There, carved into the oak dining table, was my name.  Two sets of older sibling eyes widened with anticipation of trouble brewing.  Unbeknownst to me, I just kept smiling.  It was my first written word.  Well, actually it was printed.  It wasn’t easy although tying my shoes took longer to master.  I knew my Dad would be as proud as I was.  I soon discovered pride might have been stretching it.  Not only had I learned to print my first word but I also learned not to leave my name as evidence.  Soon enough, I progressed to engraving other people’s names on walls, flowerpots or pretty much any flat surface where I could leave an indentation; my mark on life.  It was the beginning of my life-long romance with the written word.

From this early memory, I readily see my desire to memorialize in words the significant moments in life.  Throughout most of human history, we used writing to document our experiences in order to remember and learn from them.  It was with this purpose in mind that at the age of 21, I plotted, page by page, a seven-month backpacking adventure across the European continent.  Upon reading my journal after my return, I discovered writing’s true purpose on its very last page — to remember who we are so we do not continue to repeat past mistakes.  In that final page of an ending as I segued into a new beginning, I wrote . . .

July 26, 1976      Sitges, Spain

Lately, I have had some depressing thoughts, mainly because I’m idle and have more time to spend thinking.  My thoughts are about my future — what my place in this world is meant to be.  I had these same thoughts when I graduated from high school, but the past four years have taken my mind away from them.  I have been kept busy with other problems; some interesting, but I realize now I wasted time with others.  I can’t go on letting things happen to me just to keep myself from being idle.  I firmly believe I control my destiny, but the big question is to what extent and how do I go about achieving what I am so unsure of.

There are times when I feel the world is passing me by, and I must do something about it.  Time passes so quickly and quietly that I look back on past years and wonder what I achieved.  I still feel I was put here to accomplish something special.  Whether this be vanity or not, I have yet to ascertain.  I seek help, but realize in the end I must make the decision for myself.

At the ripening age of 56, my overriding feeling rereading the above passage is amazement as the thought occurs to me, “Even then I was aware of my avoidance patterns as well as the urging from within to seek purpose and meaningfulness.”  On further reflection, I would add, “and in the moments when I was best able to ‘hear’ those urgings and truths, I wrote them down on paper.”  Writing, even then, took me to an unknown world deeply embedded within, and like an explorer, I wandered in to discover my buried treasures.  By trial and error, I discovered what I know as truth today, the written word always leads me to higher ground where I can see more clearly what lies before me.  Such clarity seeking and discovery is depicted below in my poem titled, Word Angels.

Word Angels

With each written word
she unveils the mystery
of who she is.

Lines across pages
whisk away layers
blanketing her essence.

Images, dreams, desires
sculpted by her word angels
form into shapes and patterns.

A thumbprint emerges
fossilized evidence of
what remains undiscovered.

Her angel, Patience, surfaces
slowly, delicately brushing away dust
accumulated from eons of distraction.

And still she writes, words
linking once disparate pieces
uncover faces she recognizes.

Perseverance and Celebration
join her angelic word choir
urging her on.

Commitment hesitantly pledges her troth
delivering her promise
of vision, revelation, poem.

And so she writes, daily
holding fast to these glimpses
of seeing and being seen.

One of my most revealing awareness writ