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Naomi Rose : The Antidote to Fear is Desire

The Antidote to Fear is Desire

Letting the Muse Find You, When You Procrastinate Writing Your Book

By Naomi Rose

It's true that much of my work as a Book Developer is helping my clients get through their fears about writing. Such fears ~ and there are myriad ~ take over the inner life, constrict the arteries and veins of free-flowing expression, and sometimes just plain stop the writing from taking place.

When I am sitting with a client who is suffering in this way, somehow I am able to be completely present to the multi-dimensional layers of these fears, so that in time they come to melt in the light of what's beneath them being shared and received with compassion, without judgment. When someone gets to that more root-level fear of "no one cares what I have to say," for example ~ a child's inner experience, shelved like a scar and covered over with more adaptive, even witty, articulate, behavior ~ then I know we can soften this constriction, bring our (the client's and my) caring and interest to the matter. Being listened to deeply is (a) human, and (b) magic.

And yet: sometimes, I go through this, myself, still. I tell myself, "Tuesday, I'll use the morning for writing, not for work." And then somehow, there I am, working instead.

On one hand, I can rationalize this as having some benefit: it keeps me current with the experience that my clients so often feel. I have no high pedestal to speak down from, no lofty "Ah yes, it used to be like that for me too, many, many years ago." It's happening now, and somehow, from within this fear-constriction, I can't remember how I get my clients out of this place, much less myself.

When this happened to me most recently ~ only a few weeks ago ~ the discomfort of not writing when I had promised myself I would began to set in domino-type motion a whole raft of insults to myself, such as only my Inner Critic can do. From "You don't really have anything to say," to "What made you think this book you're writing is going to interest anyone?" to "If you hadn't publicly told people you were writing this book, you could just pack it in, altogether," the mean-spirited voice inside took the existing fear and bullied it into a wall of defenses. What a mess of suffering!

And yet: I love the book I'm in the process of writing. I love where it's taken me, over several years. I love what it's trying to teach me, how much of myself I've given to it. I didn't, and don't, want to give up on it, or on myself. What I want is to find where it's alive and breathing, and write from there.

This is how I came to realize that an antidote for fear in writing (which might equal fear of exposing one's true self to oneself, or fear that the cover over the true self ~ the adapted self, or ego ~ is all there is to one) is desire.

Desire, I am finding, does not like to be put into cages, even the most well-intentioned cages: "Every morning, you will get up at 5:00 a.m. and sit in front of your computer for an hour, no matter what." Actually, I have a friend who does write this way, and it works very well for her. I am proud of her, and somewhat envious. But it's not a way that works for me. So I have to keep finding those cracks in my defense system, those free-breathing places where, if I pay attention to them in a certain kind of way, they will yield the most beautiful writing that is beautiful to write. (And that's how I know the writing is beautiful: because there is a beautiful feeling in me, as I let and shape the words out.)

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