I was told that it is an inside job and that I had to begin within. And so it seems, for that is the part of me that knows all that I need to know – my Creative Intelligence and my Instinctual Nature.
I had not written creatively since I was about 15 years old and full of teenage angst, fuelled by the sorrow of my childhood. I stopped writing and stopped connecting with my inner self.
I had no real tools when I entered adulthood. I had already experienced the pain of being left by my mum and the strange pain of knowing I was loved, but feeling little in the way of emotional connection from my caregivers.
I lived with excruciating and crippling shyness that comes with low self-esteem. I did not really know how much self-hatred I had, but it played itself out in my life through a series of calamities and damaging relationships, and I did my own share of creating pain for others.
At the age of 50 and suffering depression, I picked up a pen again. The first time I wrote, a short story emerged – it was perfect (to me) and full of hope, but more importantly, the act of writing it opened up that part of me that wants me to thrive and the part of me that is connected to the Divine.
A small boy lived in the woods. He didn’t have a mum and dad, but he had learned how to live with the land.
On a particularly lovely day, he was relaxing on the grassy bank. Suddenly a frog came by. “Good morning!” said the frog. “Good morning,” said the boy.
(Dear Reader: I remember how I could not get these stories finished at school because it took so long to write out all the dialogue and express the ideas. And the writing had to follow rules and be in my best handwriting).
The boy looked at the frog and smiled. “I know you,” he said, “I have met you before”. He took the frog in his hand and whispered something in its ear.
(Dear Reader: I couldn’t go down the road of the boy kissing the frog and it turning into a princess because that would not turn patriarchy on its head)
The boy kept the frog in his hand for five minutes, while he tried to think of the rest of the story. The sun beamed down and he decided that, even though the frog could talk, he needed to let it go. “Goodbye,” he said, “I love you and always wish you well.”
The frog hopped away with a glint in its eye. It had heard what the boy had whispered and it knew – the world was not as it seemed but you could live with the land and know God.
Begin within – it’s where your stories live. The act of writing this simple story enabled me to break through the oppressive fear “I can’t do it! I’m not a writer!”
Begin within – it’s where life is. The act of writing this simple story enabled me to begin to breathe life into the characters that were going to guide me onwards through my healing journey.
Begin within – it is where you will find the Divine, it is the Place of all Knowing. The act of writing this story enabled me to tap into a source of Creative Intelligence, a power much greater than myself.
After this, my first story, I began to write poetry, using my poems to navigate the way and shine the light on my unresolved shame and pain and darkness, connecting with my inner self and journeying to the depths of my soul in an attempt to heal the past.
Deeper within and deeper still, until I found a wretched and Wounded Child in desperate need of nurturing. A child who deserved so much love, but who I had left behind, abandoned and neglected. I picked her up and resolved never to leave her again, and to parent her as best I could.
The story started lightly. It was an adventure story for me to tell my inner child, but my Instinctual Nature had other ideas, recognising, in its wisdom, the potency of a well-told tale.
Deeper within and deeper still, a story about belonging, about feeling, about being. A story about the pain of living and the absolute joy of healing, the strength of the human spirit and the gift of receiving a new life.
Deeper within and deeper still, my hand barely able to keep up with the words that flowed into my mind.
I had been influenced by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, who taught me (at the grand old age of 50) that I needed to tell my own story in a loud, strong, clear voice. It was Clarissa’s influence that led me to choose the genre of a fairy story.
There could have been no better genre than the fairy story because it meant that there were no bounds of time or space, and events that actually happened could be rewoven, reframed and re-lived with new light and new hope. Despite the magical genre, everything I wrote actually happened, in some sense, in the past or while I was writing the story. My story is magical, but not fabricated.
By journeying through time and space within the story, I was able to reframe Wounded Child’s experiences as a hero’s journey, empowering her and showing her she is not alone. And in doing so, these things became part of me, and I was able to reclaim the power which is my birthright. As within, so without!
I began within, and writing took me deeper within. The gift of the story is great indeed, and all I had to do was be still and listen, pen in hand.