There comes a time when silence is betrayal. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
(Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day [Observed] to those in the United States today.)
One of the questions that permeates all I do in my program of study (counseling) is what do you believe about the process? What do you believe about the counseling process? What do you believe about being open and receptive and trusting, and what does that allow for in revealing the wisdom that people carry with them?
As I was talking with M. Fenn yesterday, we were talking about the writing process (a favourite of ours). During our actual writing time together, I realized how I’ve been doing a lot of writing for other people lately (and not just in the schoolwork kind of way). But, I’ve been trying to find that balance between writing about what fascinates, intrigues, enlivens me with what people may want to read about here. Sometimes that overlaps and sometimes it doesn’t. And yet, in trying to think that way, holy pressurized writing container, Batman.
And I think I ended up reminding myself of two things I’ve had to learn, over and over, about writing.
First, there is an ebb and flow to the writing process. There are times when I feel on fire with what needs to be written, how it is birthed into this world, and how committed I feel to it. Recognizing that this current writing space I’m in is simply part of the process – that I’m not 100% into it and think everything that I’m writing is crap – has allowed me to stop blaming myself for the pages and pages of “This is what I have to do today” that have been the writing material in my journal the past few months. Working to release that nasty voice of “What kind of writing/blogger/person are you anyway” is as much a part of the writing (living?) process as the words on the page. Remembering this feels very powerful. It also allows me to feel a bit more playful than I had been feeling about writing.
Second, I am (re)remembering that when I write for others, that I end up second-guessing myself. I lose the heart of my writing. Sometimes, writing for others is where I feel called and sometimes, just for myself. Perhaps this remembering is just a natural outgrowth of the first remembering.
I realize that there’s been a post brewing in me recently about the silences that we keep. That revealing the challenges that we go through – whether in writing or practice or life – isn’t something that we (I) do easily. It’s so much easier (and shinier) to show the beautiful things, the things that are working. And yet, what I’ve found with Visible and Real is that I perceive something is wrong with me – because I don’t have all of the answers, because things don’t go easily sometimes, because V+R doesn’t look the way that I think it “should” (tyranny of the shoulds: another post that’s brewing).
When we keep these silences, when we are not able to be with the process – as it is – and own up to both what we think it should be and what it actually is? That’s a deep betrayal of self, voice, and community.
Sitting with what is in my life right now – in the light and dark spots – and not being silent about it? This is my current work. To trust that I have the strength, to trust the world’s need for truth, and to be gentle with myself in this whole damn process.
Wherever it takes me.