From the age I learnt to form letters between lines, I’ve loved to write. Loved the act of putting words together to create an image, evoke a feeling, convey a message. Loved the magical transposition of ideas in my head to words on a page, the satisfaction of the perfect expression, the clarity achieved out of seeming chaos.
So it’s interesting that, for a very long time, I didn’t write at all. This activity that gives me so much fulfilment and joy was packed away on a dusty shelf while I got on with the important task of ‘living’. This feeling of creating something from nothing, of capturing mirages and rendering them real was lost along with the sense of being exactly where I was meant to be, of losing track of time in the progress of the pen across the page. Because it’s selfish, isn’t it, to want to spend hours in a room by oneself; my writing wasn’t that good anyway, no-one would want to read it; and, to be honest, I forgot. I forgot what it feels like to switch my mind to this special channel; to conjure fictional worlds and spell out what needed to express. I bottled it all up, ignored the itch in my fingers, imagined myself satisfied with a well-written email or technical document. And all the time the writing genie sought escape until at last a gateway opened just a crack: what if I wrote just for myself? What if I removed the pressure of putting ‘valuable content’ out there and metaphorically returned to the attic room I used to write in as a child and just wrote for the pleasure of it?
That’s what I’m doing: writing about the things I’m contemplating; clarifying and organising my ideas; using this as a means of downloading onto the page so that things can stop endlessly fluttering round my mind. It’s a form of therapy that works for me.
And why, if I’m just writing for myself, am I publishing it for others to potentially read?
Because I want to share my ‘workings out’. My reason for being is to help people find themselves underneath the layers of noise, expectation, busyness that consume our attention. There’s a quiet, calm, joyful place in the centre of all of us (I call it Home) and it’s my life’s work to learn how to access it more easily and to guide others to do the same. What I write here is the process I’m going through to be more ‘at Home’.
And also because I’m scared. I’m scared of what people will think about what I write, what they’ll think about me (even if I never hear it), and it’s time I gently calmed that fear and saw it for what it is – my ego telling me my self-worth is dependent on the opinions of others. Because that’s not true. All the same, I’m breaking this down into the smallest steps that enable me to act; I’m testing my willingness and only going as far as I can for the time being. My immediate objective is to start writing again and my first small steps are:
1) Believing I’m writing for me, for my own enjoyment and self-development. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of it or whether it’s valuable to them
2) Publish with the comments turned off so my ego doesn’t get overheated scanning for reactions (or no interaction)
3) Put it on my website – it has no search engine optimisation and no-one looks at it, therefore, it’s pretty safe!
I’m on a journey to find my Home. And these essays are my path.