I just wanted to note here in this place where I share many of my most honest thoughts that I started writing my book today. I have made a commitment to try and write for at least an hour a day, every day. This is a momentous decision for me and would not have been possible without my life/death scare last week. I’ve been kicked in the pants several times in the past seven years, but I finally woke up and said, “This is it. I’ve gotten my life back three times. And this is just simply it. No more procrastinating.”
Writing a book is a calling, a chore, a drag, sheer bliss, like being in love, something you have to chip away at day after day after day. But if done right, it’s one of the purest ways to reach out and touch others.
I have friends in the indigenous world who have told me that in their cultures there is a tradition of distrust toward the written word, a belief that writing something down kills it. From that point of view, the only way to share words is for one human being to tell their stories to another. Only then do you know who the storyteller is and whether or not to trust the story. My friend Malidoma Some talks about how he knew he would be criticized and distrusted by some of his own people, the Dagara of West Africa, for writing his autobiography Of Water and the Spirit and how difficult it was for him to put his story down on paper.
I suggested to him that not all books were created equal. Good books are like a hologram. They come from the heart and are born of a passion to share and to teach. While you read them, you can walk around inside of the story, feel the energy of the person who wrote it. It is alive and continues to grow. And others can grow and heal as they read it.
At the time I told this to Malidoma, I believed it because of some of my own electrifying reading experiences. But it’s only been lately that I’ve seen this intimately in action–and it’s weird, it’s strange, it’s wonderful, it’s frightening. When I wrote my blog/poem “My Body Is An Archangel of Love,” I felt waves of healing energy coursing through my body. The same thing happened when I wrote “A Prayer for Those I Call Beloved.” What I was not expecting was to have friends comment or email me saying that they felt the writing entering into their bodies and healing them too.
I’ve written books with some wonderful people–and some wonderful people have read them. But what I’m hoping for in this new book, the first ever I’ve written all on my own without a partner, is that I can take the living experience of what I’ve learned this year, and am still learning, and transfer it from my soul, from my nervous system, to the souls and nervous systems of my readers.
But as my friend Tayria Ward wrote in her blog today, ultimately, it’s the journey that matters, not the result. So, wish me a good journey and I will dance the path with joy.