The process of evoking the book of your heart is as mysterious, illuminated, and latent as evoking the true self from a client in therapy.
A dulled or agitated or despairing presentation – both in a beginning client, and in yourself when you even contemplate writing a book – can be (and indeed, has been, in the pathological view) viewed as the chronic, even last-word reality of that person; with the therapeutic hope that the bearer of these symptoms can manage to live a sufficiently adjusted life to be happy, within the limits of his or her condition.
But what if your view is that none of these symptoms or their management speaks to who the person really is or what s/he is capable of? What if, in your view, your task as the therapeutic healer is to help shine light on the essential underlay of the client: the pure being that has so long been ignored that its presence hasn’t been clearly known enough to direct the course of the client’s experience and life?
Would not this, then, be a matter of trusting in the existence of that beautiful essence, that blueprint of self – and through listening, compassion, and skill, bringing forth that light so the client can feel it, know it, and give to it the reins of guidance? Would not this process of uncovering the true self be sacred, as well as challenging, and – by definition – creative? Might you not feel like a musical conductor with an eye on the invisible score and an expressive hand raised to coax forth the music from the newly revealed instrument of that person’s life and being, until the music poured forth of its own accord and your direction could become minimal, if at all?
It is so similar to writing a book.
I’m making this analogy because I’m making an assumption that you do not yet view writing the book of your heart as a joyful, creative experience of self-discovery and deeper connection. I’m assuming that you may be bringing to the very notion of you writing a book all sorts of superimpositions and associations (not good ones, either) – from the past, from things you picked up directly or by inference here and there.
Well, forget about what you think writing a book is about, whatever you picked up in school from having to complete writing assignments.
Forget ideas of what “being an author” or “being a writer” means.
Forget the idea that there’s a “right” way to go about it (only one), or that who you are is irrelevant … or how you function in life … what interests you and draws you forth … your temperament … your loves and passions .. your perceptions and insights … your gifts and talents … your subtleties … the things you’ve never yet shared.
Everything you experience as real about yourself – what you think of first thing when you wake up in the morning; what catches your eye when you’re out for a walk; what happens in your heart when you talk to or even think of a loved one; the early wounds that shaped you, the search for healing ways – all this and much more come into the rich, textured, ripely creative process of writing a book.
Writing a book is not only a means of expressing what’s inside you, but also of discovering what’s inside you. It’s a way of giving voice and form and meaning to what’s been inside, unshared, all along, or that’s surfacing as you pay attention to it.
The creative experience of writing a book from who you really are can be (though, admittedly, work) an unparalleled thrill; a joy beyond compare. Some people have been so oppressed by the negative associations connected with writing that they feel, “I write to have written,” where getting it over with and onto paper is the thing. But what a waste of the effort; what a constriction of the inner being.
Instead, you can write a book to write the book! Write to know yourself more deeply – to see what you are capable of – to become that sacred instrument – to at last be the one to listen to that inner place within yourself: that eternal, essential being which had little or no voice in childhood – and to take it seriously enough to keep on listening, keep awake to it, keep catching the flecks of gold that spin off from the raw material you are mining.
Be the one to remember the spirit of wholeness showing itself through the emerging pieces, just as if you are sitting with clients who – through your therapeutic dedication, love, and skill, as well as the clients’ own intensity of desire and inner effort – are coming to touch the beauty of their true being, and starting to sing their own song.
Your book is your song.