Examining Our Stories

Anyone who looks back over one’s past life will find that, when we have experienced a significant event and then look back at what led up to it, it becomes apparent that we were steered toward it. We find that it was not just one previous step, but a whole series of previous steps, that now make it appear as if we had been striving toward the decisive event from a deep inner soul impulse.

“A Child’s Changing Conscience” by Rudolf Steiner

Last fall I hired a writing coach to help me finish my book Sunlight, my memoir of how I found myself. It was hard to hear that I needed to have it more focused – re-write the whole thing – there are too many themes. Yet I am not surprised. I knew something was not right.

I have stopped working on Sunlight because of this daunting idea of redoing it all. My dear husband hears me complain that it is not done yet does not see me taking any effort to complete it so he refers me to a book called “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. He has been suggesting this book for about a year now. Usually I sluff off the stuff he tells me to read. Why? Cause it is our relationship. He always tells me what I need and I always feel he has no idea. Well, this time he was right.

I borrowed the book from the library and it is very motivating. Quick short chapters. Pressfield’s language is one that kicks me in the butt – easy and to the point. It also is giving me a new story to tell myself when I don’t want to write and recognize when the “Resistance” is taking control. Strangely perhaps, I now talk to my muse. This is not something Pressfield says to do but it is helping me.

I began setting my alarm for 4 or 5 in the morning so I can get up and write. Now, I have done this before and the result was me turning off the alarm, telling myself I was crazy and going back to sleep. Then I would wake up at a later hour regretting it. Aching all day.

This goes on for months but now after some Pressfield inspiration I hear the alarm and then lay there asking, “Muse? Are you there?” It is a feeling of a presence, of not being alone. I don’t see a face or picture anyone in particular. it is more like a nebulous but I feel her more than see her.

When writers block kicks in I can simply write, “Why are you stuck, Muse?” This helps to keep the pen moving. This is something Pressfield says, he says that we are not to take our writing personally. It comes from a source outside of ourselves. I agree.

One thing I have realized in reading Rudolf Steiner’s work is the importance of feeling something with your entire body. You need to have a physical response to what you learn. So, when I read Pressfield talking about writing in this way my heart started beating faster and my reading sped up. I was excited. My body was physically responding but so was my mind. His words reached me. No writing tip will help you unless you feel it with all of your being.

This is off topic but last night I was helping my oldest with an essay. She is bored to tears with the topic. She has no interest in history because she can not identify with it in any way. Her essay is about “Who Is Lousi Riel?” As I read I shared with her interesting things that I discover. She found it very intriguing that she did an essay not too long ago on J. A. MacDonald and now sees how he is connected to Louis Riel. She smiled and you could see her body bounce a bit due to this realization. She may not remember much about J. A. MacDonald or Louis Riel but she will always  remember they were in the same time period because she had a physical reaction. If you react physically it is an outward expression that something has entered into your body on a more spiritual level.

Now back to the topic at hand, me rewriting Sunlight. To my dismay when I write lately, in the last week, I am only able to write for 20 minutes at a time. When I wrote Sunlight I was writing for 90 minutes. This bums me out a bit because I want to finish this project and rewriting it in its entirety seems daunting. The muse does what she needs to do I guess. Balancing this idea with me working through the emotions and baggage of what a memoir brings this may be all the writing I can do which is better than none at all. Moving forward at a snails pace is better than not moving at all.

Pressfield tells a story in the above mentioned book about living in a house for a year to finish a writing project. He moved away from everyone he knew with the goal of writing, or die trying. Writing was all he did. No TV. No telephone. Just writing. The determination to do this inspires me.

I move forward.

Another week is upon me. What will my writing give me this week?

I believe in signs. Often I find the universe will send me messages, one at a time, until I realize, ‘Hey, this topic has come up a lot lately.’

That is what happened this spring. It was February or March when I listened to a CD at the back of a book I bought at the library for 25 cents. The book, ”  ” by Ester Hicks. I listened to the CD first. It was after listening to Esther/Abraham tell a story of driving to Boca and something went haywire with the GPS. Once her and her husband got back on the right path she was curious to know what went wrong. She wanted to go back and do it all over again.

Her husband replied, “Or we could just keep going right.”

Abraham goes on to share how we can, and should, start where ever we are in our journey to becoming more of ourselves. We do not need to go back and figure out where things went wrong so we can heal and move forward.

You don’t even have to find the cause. You don’t even have to find the thought that is causing the resistance. You just have to find a thought that isn’t causing resistance. You just need to reach for a thought of relief. You don’t have to sort it all out. You don’t have to go back and retrace your steps through it and figure out which way you went wrong.

Abraham/Esther Hicks

I sat for days thinking about this. The concept froze me. Why did I have such a desire for people to know their story and here is someone I admire say that it isn’t important. Did I misunderstand? Am I taking their words out of context? Have I misread my desire? Am I on the wrong path? There are so many people out there writing memoirs, recording their stories. Are we all going about this the wrong way? Frozen. Doubt is a horrible enemy.

This segment of the audio CD caught me hard because I had heard two other bits from the universe saying the same things. I had ignored them but could not ignore this one. It was crystal clear in my earphones. All other sounds non-existant.

Story writing feels as if it is part of my core. I began a large search on why I memoir write. Why do I want to write life stories so badly and why do I think others should know their story.

I found some great quotes on the internet such as this one:

My story is important not because it is mine … but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is yours. Maybe nothing is more important than that we keep track … of these stories of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way because it is precisely through these stories in all their particularity … that God makes himself known to each of us most powerfully and personally …to lose track of our stories is to be profoundly impoverished not only humanly but spiritually.

I not only have my secrets, I am my secrets. And you are yours. Our secrets are human secrets, and our trusting each other enough to share them with each other has much to do with the secret of what it means to be human.

Frederick Buechner in “Writing as a Road to Self-Discovery” by Barry Lane

But it wasn’t enough for me although internally I had a strong feeling-connection to it. This represents more of what I have been feeling up to this point. Now this was being challenged as not being enough. Why do I want to write? All my life I have felt a desire to write life stories – particularily to hear stories of women, yet now the universe was was saying to leave the past alone? What is wrong with my desire?

I do not recall how it happened but I read something of Rudolf Steiner‘s. He is the founder of Waldorf Education, something else I am passionate about. He says in his book “Education of the Child” that we are a make up of an inner being, a divine being, or a soul. This soul melds together with inherited traits of our ancestors to create a unique individual. He compares it to mixing blue and yellow to make green (some version of the primary colours. Don’t hold me to this example). Only in reality there are so many different shades of people.

After I read this I felt, it was not simply some intellectual understanding, I felt my passion for life story writing. I felt my passion for one to explore their life stories. It is to know their inner being. It is to know themselves in such a deeper and divine way than I had ever imagined.

I do believe there is more to us than simply our physical lives. There is a greater mystery. It is now my belief that the universe sent me this message from Ester Hicks/Abraham to inspire me, to give my passion focus.

Since reading Steiner’s words I have been on a bit of a journey. I realized I wanted to connect with other moms who shared the same interest in Waldorf Education as I do. I put an ad up on kijiji to find some moms to hang out with, make crafts and learn more about the philosophy of Anthroposophy more directly. Instead of finding a few moms I know have a Facebook page with 78 families and am working at building a Waldorf school here in Saskatoon. It is very exciting.

Yet, while I plug away at this new school I have made notes in my journal of things I wish to blog about. As I read Steiner’s phiiosphies I am left wondering and reflecting. Blogging helps me explore my growth more thoroughly. There is something about choosing the right words that help me to really define how I am feeling and what I am thinking. Writing is my core. Only now I have a clearer picture. I want to break apart all our colours to see our colour code. My intention is for us to know who we are (what are our special talents) and what are we to do in this life.