The Wound is a Gateway

The wound is a gateway if you allow it to be.

This is how I found my gateway….

 

 
One day about nine years after my ‘terrible thing’ happened,

I gave up.

I stopped trying to feel better.

I stopped trying to go on with my life as if nothing had happened.

I stopped trying to fix myself.

I stopped pretending everything was ALL RIGHT.

I surrendered.

I gave up.

I took out my little white flag and started waving it.

I said, Take me away—I’m DONE here!

And they took me away.

And that’s when everything changed.

 

Now, we’re taught not to give up.

We’re taught to fight.

We’re supposed to learn how to defend ourselves.

To Win—not to Lose!

We’re taught to worry about what others will think.

And not to lose face.

Be strong! Act Strong. Fight! Fight!

But surrender, if you really give yourself up to it,

Is a beautiful thing.

It allows for an opening,

For something new to enter in…

 

So, after my surrender, I felt this new opening…

This new lightness!

It came from my new honesty.

And then I had a dream…

And in the dream I was shot, and killed…

And it was beautiful…

And then I started to fall…

I fell down down down to the bottom of the sea.

And when I landed on the sea-floor a door opened under water.

A door opened into this new place.

It looked like more water, more sea…

And then I woke up,

And I knew I had to see more…

 

I wanted to go back there, be in that dream again.

Feel that beautiful feeling of dying again.

I painted myself going back there,

To that place under water.

The paintings became the Doorway.

The paintings became my journey back.

Through, my journey in, to see, more.

 

You don’t have to become a painter,

Just be creative.

It is a gift you were born with.

Surrender yourself to it…

Give up already…

And welcome in the Divine.

Namaste,

Namaste.

 

   

 

 

Writer’s Block? Maybe You Need A Mission

I’m serious. Writer’s block is serious. It can be devastating. I’m currently hosting a blog talk radio show called Inspirational Storytellers, and as you’d naturally expect, my goal is to be inspiring. This is actually not difficult for me. Because no matter what I am going through personally, I have this bubbly sun-shiny personality that always sounds enthusiastic. (Except when I’m really low, and then I keep my mouth shut and write in my journal. Or watch DVDs.) Doing a radio show is in itself an upper, so no worries there.

But this isn’t about radio shows per se. This is about writing. And what to do when you feel you’re stagnating, or you can’t seem to move forward, or can’t seem to get to it period.

I have been struggling with these very things in recent months. A year and a half ago I published my first book, my first memoir, and began the sequel immediately afterwards. I was extremely excited about covering new territory after being submerged for so many years in one particular time-frame—albeit a twenty-seven-year time-frame. The sequel was to be about what came after. Many readers expressed enthusiasm for the next book, and that helped. But not enough. Not nearly enough.

I can imagine that even if I had a hefty advance from a publisher for this next book, I still might be flummoxed. Because this has absolutely nothing to do with someone waiting for pages or printed pages or bound pages or digital pages… This has to do with my personal objective. Or lack thereof.

One of the most valuable comments I received from my advisor at grad school was, “Why are you telling me this?”

Boy, what a wake-up call! Why indeed? I had quite a story to tell, if I could just get it out, but until I found the raison-d’etre, forgeddabout it – as we say in Brooklyn.

It has not been a simple matter, deciding who I am writing to this time. For the first book it finally became clear to me, when I asked the question in the very first line—What did I know and when did I know it? I then proceed to spend the next three-hundred and fifty pages explaining the answer. Tellingly, I subtitled the book, “The Memoir That Solved A Mystery” Because it was true.

nancy-wait-wc02
watercolor by Nancy Wait

With the second book, the sequel, I have wanted to tell the story of how I became an artist and why, and what it did for me, and what it did not do. It sounds fairly straight forward, yet I have found this is far from the case. I have one of those minds that needs constantly to be held in check because it tends to go all over the place. It’s why I literally throw away hundreds of pages. But never mind about that. It’s part of my process and I’ve learned to live with it. The thing is, and what I wanted to say today is, that it struck me this morning with a great deal of force—that what I must do is see and perceive my overall mission. I could say ‘goal,’ but mission tends to put it on a slightly higher level. Of course my goal is to finish the thing…but what is my purpose, my mission, the thing I need to keep reminding myself each day that will keep me focused on reaching my goal?

It is not just to spill my guts or bleed on the page or ‘just’ put it out there, tell my story. There’s got to be a why. Why should you bother to read it? Who am I writing to? I cannot emphasize enough how important this last thing is—who am I writing to. This “Who” is not going to change the facts of the story, but it is going to change my slant. It is going to affect the presentation.

Well, the good news is that this morning I have made a decision. I will write to that uncensored aspect of myself who understands my truth, and will not judge. Because often it is not enough in memoir to merely change names—or even lump characters together. It’s the truth of ourselves we’re dealing with. And we have to know why we’re telling it, and the purpose behind it—in order to have the strength and courage to carry on. And I have to believe, have to have to have to, that somewhere, there is someone, who needs to hear my truth. Not just my story, but my truth. Why else would I be struggling so hard to get it out? Because perhaps I hear a voice, calling me from the future, pleading with me to spit it out already.

 

Originally posted at www.nancywait.com  Feb. 15, 2013

 

   

 

“Story-Me”

Why should we write our stories? Because in the words of Baba Ram Dass :

Ram Dass

Everything changes once we identify with being the witness to the story instead of the actor in it.

For now we are watching the action from above, or from the side, or from the wings. We have some distance. We are an observer. Everyone in the story, including ourselves, is now a character. This is taking our lives to another level.

Story-Me means “make-it-into-a-story.” It means taking an episode from your life, something memorable because of the emotions attached to it, and creating a story around it, a narrative that doesn’t part with the facts of the situation, but one in which you are the observer, the witness to  what is happening. This retelling is like being “in it but not of it.” Not this time around. This time around you can see it all playing out in hindsight. This time you are wiser. You know the outcome already, but you are re-creating it for us, your listeners.

 

* Story-Me

When you Story-Me*, you are taking your experience to a different level. If the experience was a painful one, there can be healing through writing it down. Through bringing the events up again we can hold them in the light. We can step back, change the view in the viewfinder. Re-evaluate. Perhaps change our perception.

And then there is the sharing part. Reading a story aloud opens up the throat chakra.

In the process of creating story, we are outside, looking in. We begin to see ourselves as a “character” in our own lives. Why is this good? Because when we are able to observe ourselves, we are no longer at the mercy of our thoughts and feelings. We still have thoughts and we still have feelings, but now we are observing ourselves as we have them. Journaling does this for us as well, albeit in a private way. Journaling doesn’t necessarily open up the throat chakra or take us to another place. But it does make us more self-aware.

When you are able to re-create your life or part of your life as a story, your life starts to turn into an art-form. Maybe you start to see the plot, or the theme. Or what it has been so far.

As we move into the accelerated evolutionary pathway, the telling of our stories has never been more popular. “This flowering of story-telling is certainly no accident,” says Daniel Pink.

My own understanding has grown immeasurably since I began seeing myself in different stages of development. I’ve had to practice self-forgiveness when I realized how I was denigrating my younger self for not being more aware. There were so many hidden messages I had been giving myself that didn’t even come out until I began putting them on paper.

The more we can story our past experiences, the more we will be able to create the story of our future. Perhaps it will then be a story of the soul. Perhaps we will become more conscious of our soul lessons. If nothing else, writing out our stories brings us to a new level of awareness and understanding.

The whole point is to go deeper into our experience, remembering who we were in order to know who we are.

*Story-Me is an expression I came up with when I was fantasizing how wonderful it would be if I could listen to a person’s story, (meaning a sad, bitter or tragic one) and then reinterpret it for them – much the same way as I reinterpreted my own for myself in The Nancy Who Drew. Which is to say I took the experience of betrayal and punched so many holes in it – until the Light of the Soul came pouring through – and lit up my life!