Writing, Self-Inquiry, and Destiny

Published on 22 May 2024 at 16:28

A reflection on the writing journey of recent past and present

Steve Jobs said, “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.” 


Lately, when I try to peer into my writing future and plot a path forward, I see nothing. I have lost the capability of projecting and imagining where life is taking me. When I try to imagine and plan out the future, it almost feels like I am manipulating the universe.  I know this is very anti-new-age of me, but this is not an unpleasant change at all; it feels liberating and relaxing.  Even though my vision is limited, I feel increasing passion, faith, and optimism about what lies ahead and what I feel drawn toward. How have I arrived here? It hasn't been altogether pretty. 


Over the last five years, I have been in the process of deep healing; I have also been on a trip with my relationship to writing.  At the very beginning of my healing journey, when almost overnight, I became intolerant of doing things that didn’t feel right to me; I was lost. I was disoriented for many reasons, but one was because I suddenly knew what didn’t feel right, however, I didn’t yet know what did feel right. Writing was one of the few things that still spoke to my broken heart during the darkest times. Writing felt like a thin thread connecting me to my soul, something bigger than me.  It was also a buoy I was grasping onto for safety as some of my false identities were being shredded to bits.   This was a painful dynamic because I was holding onto something that felt soulful and right, but the universe was relentless in ensuring I let go of the buoy. She wanted me to feel the safety of letting go, which I wasn’t ready to do.


So, in 2019, with ambition and white knuckles, I “decided” I needed to take myself seriously as a writer, start calling myself a writer, get published, do all the things, boss it, handle it, and make it all happen.  Since a short stint in my early twenties writing television newscasts, I had been hobby-blogging and decided it was time to write a book. I set a goal to write a certain number of words daily, and thanks to the pandemic and being unemployed, I wrote my first book in a little over a year.  I wrote about what I was going through in real-time. It wasn’t just journaling. I wrote it like a novel, and I intended it for the public. 


I thought writing a book would reveal something magical that would save and venerate me.  Part of me thought it would be the boat to take me to safer ground where I would feel seen, secure, and fulfilled. I wrote and wrote, and as I wrote, my healing journey continued at its arduous pace and intensity, and finally, I just had to wrap it up. I thought if I didn’t, maybe the book would go on forever. The healing journey eventually eased up, bringing financial stability, physical-emotional-spiritual well-being, community, and a lovely home life.  However, this did not occur in time for when I wanted to finish the book. When I hastily decided it was time to move on, the book didn’t feel magical like I thought it would. I was still deep in the woods of acute trauma healing. In fact, some of the hardest times came just after calling the book about healing - finished. 


Even though the book didn’t feel phenomenal, I powered forward and immersed myself in the writing industry. I learned how to pitch a book to agents and write query letters. I joined a writing group and attended writing conferences. I was so sure that at any moment, I’d be rescued from my clinging onto the buoy and pulled aboard the super yacht. That isn’t what happened. Many fantastic things came out of these efforts, but I did not get what I had hoped for. Nobody I talked to was dying to read my book, and I could barely get two words out of my mouth to talk about my story when I had the opportunity. My voice would shake, my heart would race, and my brain would turn to mush. This was, of course, natural as I was right in the middle of the most terrifying and vulnerable time of my life and addressing important women’s issues the patriarchy would rather ignore, namely the realization and remembrance that I had been the victim of childhood sexual abuse within the “perfect family” system. I am bullish and bull-dozed forward despite my fears and nervous system fragility at the time. Ultimately, this process helped me to work through loads of fear, but it did not make me feel special or validated. I realized I was, in fact, just like thousands of other people when it came to trying to get a book published.  It was all very humbling. 


I may revisit the book someday, but I’m not interested in it right now. Honestly, I spent so much time on it that it bores me to look at it. I started to write another book, but it fizzled out. I am still writing other things (obviously).  Even though I can’t connect the dots of my writing life forward, it is interesting to connect them backward. 


Projecting an image and a plan for what is next in my writing life is impossible, however there is still a place in my life to contemplate the future. Now that my body is no longer full of trauma - instead of trying to conjure an image of the future - I now conjure up a felt sense. For example, if I have a “dream” of being a writer, how do I suspect that will make me feel? Can I feel like that now? Why not? What is missing? What is in the way? I can embody the dream and bring it down into the present moment. The image of being a writer can arrive in the here and now instead of being a fantasy I’m reaching for or a reality I’m escaping from.  


Why are my feelings and my journey more important to me than the destination? 


I once read an in-depth interpretation of my astrological birth chart, and part of the commentary stated that my writing would be well-known after I die. This has been an interesting message to ponder. Through this message, the very clever universe is asking me, “Megan, what would you do if I told you, you would never receive the validation you were looking for through your writing? What if I told you nobody would ever read any of it, and you would never make any money or receive significant recognition for your writing? Would you keep doing it?” The question and answer, which I have been feeling deeply into - has led to a positive shift in my relationship with my writing, but more importantly, in my relationship with myself. The answer to this question has been yes. Yes, as long as there is an inspiration and the magnetic pull to sit down, I will spill it out. Yes, as long as I feel like it, I will write and if I ever reach the point where I don’t feel like writing, I won’t write (except l will probably want to write about that).  So yes, yes, yes, the answer is yes.  So how do I address the part of me that is longing for validation? Keep turning within. Can I validate myself? Can I recognize myself? Can I provide unwavering support to myself, especially when I am being the most honest, raw, open, and authentic? Yes, I can do that or at least work on it. A year ago, I had taken a workshop on my “why” at a writer’s conference. At that time, the answer to my ‘why’ was soulful and genuine, but I was also unaware of how much a younger part of me wanted validation and recognition.  Revisiting these questions as often as needed forces me to face my emotional and mental self honestly and unearth the hidden feelings and motivations behind what I want and dream of and why. They bring more clarity of mind. I am challenged to see if I can provide—for my mental and emotional self—the things I want the world to fulfill. 


My dream of being a writer is alive and well and there is still yet more to it than just the act of writing. I desire a mostly quiet, contemplative lifestyle that allows me to be at home most of the time, travel some of the time, and have the energy to engage with all the activities and conversations that feed my soul (aka a teacher’s summer all year-round or aka retirement aka living the dream).  I want self-inquiry, presence, and self-expression to be the focus of my life. I am already living this aspect of my dream of being a writer to a degree, which is a neat thing to recognize and feel grateful for. 


Do you know what your highest dream is and why? How will it make you feel? Can you feel that way now? Can you bring that dream into your daily life and start living it today?


At the moment, I can’t support the goal of writing a certain number of pages a day or a certain number of blog posts a month, but I can certainly support the dream of living an increasingly peaceful, soulful life that fills me with energy.


Even though I can’t connect the dots moving forward, I do have faith in life. I can beckon my dreams closer by becoming more in tune with the present moment, where I suspect, as a yogi, destiny is always waiting.


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