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Writing from the Deeper Self
By Naomi Rose | Updated November 14, 2018
I am looking at a magnolia tree from my office window, its lavender-and-white tulip-shaped blossoms already in bloom, its leafless branches just barely starting to bud. It is a January day so fragrantly warm that, like the magnolia, I have premature spring fever. After a client left, I took a rare break instead of popping back into work; lay down on my cushioned window-seat and let the sun warm my body, like a cat.
I was going to write about writing a new chapter in a book you've been writing for a while ~ something that feels relevant to the beginning of the year, when resolutions abound, both personally and culturally. I was going to write something generically useful about how, as your book gets further along and new chapters take the writing into new directions, themes seeded in the early part of the book make their way back in, calling out for attention, deeper understanding, and perhaps even resolution. That we are, despite being pulled by the pieces of our lives, really made of whole cloth, and our psyches seeking that entirety of fabric: the design begun young that we hope has matured despite all sorts of wrong turns and negative interventions, and become more beautiful with the intervening years.
But I just wasn't that interested in giving theoretical, generic wisdom. Instead, I wanted to tell you about the amazing magnolia tree, reaching out widely with its branches and upwards towards the sun. I wanted to tell you that it is a new chapter for me to rest, after a client, instead of steering myself back into work; to seek the sunlight with my instinctive, animal body, to let the warmth lace into my cells. I wanted to convey, in a more immediate way ~ the way that images do, and descriptions do, and poetry does, and the flow of breath behind the words does ~ what it is that impresses me, and to bring that impression to life so you could taste it, too.
And in a way, that's what Writing from the Deeper Self is: it's having your own direct experience of what you're writing as you're writing it, so that people reading it get to have that same experience, laced with the warmth of your own opening to what is there. When you write from that deep place, you open the door to your readers to come in, and meet themselves. For I think that ~ more than anything ~ we read to know ourselves more deeply. Few people have been seen at the level they crave.
What allows you to see yourself that deeply in writing ~ no matter what the subject you are writing about, no matter what the genre or the form ~ is the same thing that allows you to see yourself deeply in non-writing ways (meditation, relationship, therapy: anything that brings you below the surface of life):
In writing a book from the deeper Self, you can rest in the assumption that what you are seeking is also seeking you. It may take a while, it may involve some false starts, it may require multiple revisions ~ but if you stay with it, always you will find that what you've been seeking has been in you all along.
It's not like you're just "channeling" information; you really are creating something, making room for it, making decisions all along the way. But neither are you crafting the whole thing from your ego, or your mind. Something else, something whole at the base, is knocking at your door, asking you to put down the pieces and, finally, to understand the journey to wholeness they all lead to.
When I first decided to expand my book, MotherWealth: The Feminine Path to Money, I had a certain idea about what this expanded "Part 2" should be. Because "Part 1" was a story from my own life ~ a story about the connection between the loss of self/inner wealth and the loss of the mother ~ I had felt (with some obligation born of embarrassment) that I "owed" my readers a way to bring MotherWealth more clearly into their own lives. I had thought this meant giving good generic advice, and leaving myself out of it. After all, hadn't I already taken up all that space in Part 1?
But the more I strove to take myself out of the picture in Part 2, the more lifeless the writing became: the more "expert," the more generic. I had thought I was doing readers a favor by withholding myself; but gradually it became clear that my very presence was the steady stream that allowed readers to bring themselves into the picture, to take from the book what was theirs.
Once I accepted this (and it was not an overnight process to accept it; I sometimes go through the same "Who am I to ?" doubts and fears that I help my clients address), I settled into the rewriting process with an intimacy I had been missing. I set first-thing-in-the-morning writing times, lit a candle in the almost-dark, and allowed what I had written so far to speak to me. If it did not, I simply sat with it to see what understandings would bring it closer, so that I could feel its aliveness and truth, myself. I'd spend hours covering just two pages with marginal additions, arrows, numbered zigzagged mosaics of refinements, until what was down on paper was not only what I needed to say, but also what I needed to read.
So this, in itself, brought me into a new chapter of my life. I was no longer the "purveyor" of helpful wisdom: I needed to acknowledge myself as simultaneously the knower, the not-knower, and the Source from which the knowing came. I could no longer "write myself off" as incidental to the book. I had to honor that what is in me is essential to the life force of the story, and to that story being a doorway for readers seeking the truth of their own.
There are ways in which new chapters in a book have themes and awakenings that spiral back to earlier chapters ~ just as in life. You'll be writing about the worst time of your life, and suddenly you'll realize the gifts it gave you for who you are now, and the compassion you can bring to that era that was impossible back then. Perhaps we are always working and reworking the basic themes of our lives, starting new chapters and winding back to what was in the earlier ones, with more meaning now, and more clarity of heart. Like a Bach composition, the basic theme is soon taken up with complex and surprising variations; and when the ending finally comes, and the theme comes round again, it is informed and richly textured by all that has transpired in between.
And once in a while, you come to realize that you have at last done what you had to do, and there are no new chapters to write. There is only a brand-new book. Maybe it will be a magnolia tree, come spring.
©2009 Naomi Rose. All rights reserved.
Naomi 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. ...