I firmly believe that all human beings have access to extraordinary energies and powers. Judging from accounts of mystical experience, heightened creativity, or exceptional performance by athletes and artists, we harbor a greater life than we know. – Jean Houston
This week, I’ve been thinking about why I write. I write to change myself. I write to change the world. I write to touch the deep, unseen mysteries of life.
When I was a child, I thought I saw a fairy footprint in the dirt. The other children scoffed at me and ran off to play. I stayed studying the foot print and looked out over the vacant lot across from our house trying to see the fairies dancing in the grass and trees. I longed to connect with that invisible world. I thought they had messages that would help me with my problems. To this day my favorite stories are of heroes who find they have courage and strength they never dreamed they possessed, of wise women guiding the young heroine, of super heroes saving the planet, of boy wizards defeating the dark lord, of the stranger coming to town and ending the feud. I need those stories to help me look for my own courage and strength. To me those stories are evidence that some extraordinary energy, or power is guiding us to a happier future. I write to touch the invisible, yet powerful mysterious world.
Like the events of this week, horrific things happen in the outer world. We’re shocked again and again. The problems seem too big for us to solve. When we feel overwhelmed, we retreat into the fantasy world of heroes. They might be ordinary people doing extraordinary things, or they might have super powers. The point is, I’m not the only one who seeks out heroes to help me cope. Those stories sell because they help us gain courage. Because, to become the hero we have to face scary challenges. We have to learn the lessons our trials are trying to teach us. We have to become vulnerable. I write to become vulnerable so others can find courage.
During my teenage years, I lost my innocence and my vulnerability as I watched the news during the Civil Right’s movement. I saw the devastation of the Vietnam war, the shock and sorrow after President Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated. My family was watching the news before going to church when Lee Harvey Oswald was shot, on live TV, by Jack Ruby. We talked, as a family, about those enormous events which have shaped history. My father always warned us not to look at the surface events, but look at the effect they were having on the world. And so, I kept looking. I was lucky to see other events, heroic events, like men walking on the moon, or being brought home safely after a life threatening malfunction on their space craft. Because I witnessed the good and bad events of my generation, I write to understand the world around me.
Many people moan and say that things’re going to hell in a hand basket. But don’t despair there is a force moving us toward more peace, more love and care for each other. Gary Zukav wrote in The Seat of the Soul, that we’ve chosen to learn through crisis. For some reason when we became conscious beings, we decided that we’d let the problems around us, get worse and worse until one day, we hit bottom and then we’d take action to change. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I write, because I don’t want to let my life turn to utter chaos before I heal my wounds. I write to make a new decision and learn from my mistakes before they grow into catastrophes.
I write because I have feelings deep inside my being that need to be expressed. The feelings are nebulous. I can’t define them. I don’t know what they mean or what good they’ll do. All I know is I must attempt to express them, even though there are days, like today, when it takes courage to so.
What I’m trying to say, is that there is a wide, stunningly beautiful world out there and we’ve been focusing on the gutter. We need to look for the good in people. We need to look for love in ourselves and share it. We need to trust that the world is getting better. We need to allow ourselves to be the heroes by finding ways to help others feel good about themselves When we do that, we change the world. I’m saying that as Shakespeare wrote, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” I write to change the world.