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Naomi Rose : Listening Your Book into Being

Listening Your Book into Being

By Naomi Rose

What does it mean to be listened to? What does it mean to learn to listen to yourself? Especially when it comes to writing — and especially when it comes to writing a book — there are so many voices inside us that are ready to pounce on what is real in our hearts, to dismiss it and say unkind things about it. Even if we sense that these self-injustices are not the current truth but rather echoes of childhood, ways we have learned to protect ourselves, on a very young and pure-hearted level, from hurt — by believing the limiting and unconscionable things that have been said and done to us when we were too young to have perspective — too often, that inner noise is too strong to let the voice of the soul's whisper in.

But that whisper is our real inner knowing, our compass, and the expression of the divine in our hearts. When we have an urge to write a book that is truly from the heart, its telltale signs may include unexpected things: discomfort, embarrassment, a wish to close down, fear of being exposed — and, a definite sense of something wanting to come forth, unformed and unknown as it yet may be. These things do not usually arise when people write a book that is not from the heart but from the intellect, or more from the ego. Books get written for all sorts of reasons, from "It's good for my career" to having a theory to expound. And while these kinds of books also take thought, effort, and so on, they do not require the kind of deep listening that heart-centered books do. And, by the same token, they do not yield the kind of deep knowing, discovering, and fulfillment that heart-centered books do.

To learn to listen to yourself when a book first comes and knocks at the inside of your heart's desire requires a "willing suspension of disbelief," as Samuel Taylor Coleridge put it in the 19th century — only in this case, it's suspension of disbelief in yourself, and in what is coming forth and how it's telling itself to you. We have come to believe that writing comes in fully formed, organized with subheads, logically developing from one point to the next. But writing from the deeper Self has more unique, custom-tailored, mysterious ways of telling itself to you. So for this — to hear the wisdom, beauty, and translucence that is wanting to make its way up and out into your awareness, that you can begin to move with it and create something beautiful from it — you need to be able and willing to listen.

A large part of what I do with my wonderful clients is listen, and help them listen to what's already there within their hearts. There are so many myths about what it means to write, and to be a writer — so many false images we may measure ourselves by. Writing from the deeper Self is a way to be present to exactly what's there, and find expression, meaning, bridges, beauty, sorrow, joy, and ultimately great healing along the way.

This journey, then, is what writes your life into its next chapter; and the depth and energy of this journey is inextricably woven into the writing — dyed in the wool, so to speak — so that anyone of feeling who reads your book is blessed to be touched in the same place from which you wrote. This transmission is deeply holy, and a great gift that you, as a writer, can bestow on people you haven't even met, but who will hold your gift in their hearts for a long time to come, perhaps forever. Are there not books you read, perhaps when you were young, that shaped your being, that etched a permanent place in your heart? And don't you think that the writers of those books experienced some of the doubts and challenges to their trust and stamina that you have experienced, or anticipate you will? No less than any great artist, who may never have set out to be "great" but only to follow through on what was in them, knocking insistently at their inner door, you have it in you to articulate the greatness of what lies inside you, and to discover it along the way. To expect this process to be utterly seamless and a day at the beach is unrealistic: we meet up with ourselves, our dark and our light, and we weep and we falter and we want to turn back. But the light within is so compelling, calling us forward to a new birth and a new land, that the desire to move toward it outshines the fear of the unknown. And when we find ourselves in the new place, it is luminous with new life, it brings joy. We experience our greatness as writers not because we set out to be great but because we gave ourselves to the unfolding of our story, and developed the instrument of our telling. And in so doing, we learned to listen to our souls, and to speak for the soul of the world. •

© Naomi Rose, 2006. All rights reserved.

Naomi RoseNaomi Rose, Book Developer and Writing Coach, has successfully used her "Writing from the Deeper Self" approach to help people with an inner-directed focus write the books of their hearts. More »

Updated 1/6/14