“The vision of the beautiful city was in her, the wide streets, the towers of marble, the tiled and bronze roofs, the white-sailed ships in harbor, the marvelous throne room where sunlight fell like swords, the wealth and dignity and harmony, the order that was kept there. From that bright center, she saw order going outward like the perfect waves on water, like the straightness of a paved street or a ship sailing before the wind: a going the way it should go, a bringing to peace.” - Ursula K. Le Guinn, Tehanu.
Back in my early thirties, my therapist recommended I read Tehanu. A book he felt was a quintessential read for me. A read that could help me claim the inner child that had been somehow wounded and consequently went into hiding. I read that book (in a night) and later, the accompanying Earth Sea Trilogy. (Tehanu is actually the 4th book, but can be read alone.)
The story mirrored my life. The book gave me inward and outward vision.
To have vision is a superpower. To be given this power of vision through a book is the gift that every writer gives to readers.
Most who come into therapy have lost their vision (or misplaced it somehow). They have lost, or never discovered, their inner callings, their dreams, their intentions. Anxiety, sleeplessness, physical illness, depression and a deep sense of grief, or disconnect, may guide us to seek help. At such times we are likely experiencing what Parker Palmer refers to as the divided life. We are somehow divided from ourselves.
As a writer you are driven by a calling and vision. The strength of your vision and connection to that inner calling the stronger your commitment is to the written word. Once you have awoken such a vision it is harder to deny it than it is to follow it. Listening in this way may be painful, it is certainly heroic and transformative.
In these shared dark times, and these times are dark and threatening, holding on to or moving toward our writerly (creative, spiritual) vision is an essential.
Writing our way into a better way of being is essential.
Writers are essential workers.
We offer up our words and stories as gifts to our readers through fictional and nonfictional material that they use to create their visions. This is radical. Sometimes sharing our stories is an act of defiance against those who want to silence us.
What book are you reading now, or poem, or blog that inspires you with vision? Hope? Ideas? Write about that.
What vision do you hold that wants to be shared through story? Write about that.
Who is trying to silence you? Write about that.
Can you see how essential your work as a writer is for yourself and your readers? As I have shared before, if this blog reaches just one heart and mind, that is worth my effort. You are worth my effort. I am worth my effort. To write this blog, or my books, first gives me this gift of visioning. That is the transformational magic of writing: as writer we first get the gift of our own words and visions.
Then we gift our readers.
Here are a few ways to encourage you to listen to and write from your visions:
Do not let circumstances define you. Know that we can ask the questions we need to ask that moves our life forward, in any circumstance.
Identify and ask the questions of this season or threshold of your life. What are you exploring now?
Practice ways that keep you connected to that inner calling and knowing. (Meditation, walks in nature, counseling, prayer, listening to songs or nature, contemplation, journaling, yoga . . .)
Live life from your side, (don’t drive in other’s lanes), live the zero point agreement, while meeting other’s half-way.
Remember you have nothing to prove and everything to explore and share.
And when you can, join up with other writers.
“Only in silence the word,
only in dark the light,
only in dying, life:
bright the hawk’s flight
on the empty sky. . - Ursula K. Le Guinn, Tehanu
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RISE!: Transformational Writing and Yoga:
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