Tuesday, 7 April 2009

A Writer's Journey: Transforming the Self--Part One

The middle-aged (in my case) Self is made up of layer upon layer of years of experiences both good and bad, of memory and love, joy and sorrow, things seen and heard and felt, places visited, people met, home and family and friends, health, illness, death, birth and everything else which makes up the exciting art of living . Each Self, whatever its age, is unique and precious in all its quirks, eccentricities and foibles. No other person in the world is the same--and this is what makes being human such an adventure. So how does someone go about consciously transforming the Self--and more importantly, why would anyone want to set out on the road to doing so? This is something I shall be exploring over the next couple of posts. Mine has been, and is still, a writer's journey, although I didn't know that when I started out....

Many years ago, while still a publisher, I developed a condition called M.E.. In those days (the mid 1980's), little was known about it--to the layman it was labelled 'yuppie flu', and seen, somehow, as a non-illness acquired by lazy skivers who fancied a few weeks or months off lying on a sofa. This was about as far from the truth as you can get--but it was very hard to fight the perception, especially when, for me, crawling up and down stairs was about as much as I could manage in the day. I was lucky. I was not in a wheelchair, and I had a sympathetic and knowledgeable doctor--one of the few M.E. experts who existed in those days. He gave me two choices. The 'conventional'--in those days a course of heavy anti-depressants. Or the 'alternative'--the two 'H's' of Homeopathy and Healing, together with clinical ecology and VEGA testing . By such choices are our lives shaped. I took the latter option, and it led me on a path I had never expected to take, although, given some of my family history (viz Uncle Jacky who was big in the Theosophical Society and wore a long white robe), perhaps it was not so surprising after all.

Do I believe that Fate had a hand in all this? Perhaps. Certainly, if I had not become ill and then lost my job, I might not have sat on a river bank in the rain and penned the picture book text which set me on the writer's road for good. If I had not experienced incredible (in the truest sense) and inexplicable benefits from the healing hands of another person, I might not have taken the step of researching and exploring ancient shamanic healing practices, nor become a member of OBOD and discovered the bardic path which has shaped the poetry workshops I run in schools. My conscious (though often serendipitous) journey towards transforming my Self can be seen as the well-worn metaphor of peeling the onion. Once I had decided to remove the outer brown and papery layers, and progress to the next tough inner layer, the wish to discover more was unstoppable--even unthinkable, despite the tears it caused. In the words of the Sages, γνῶθι σεαυτόν. Nosce te ipsum. Know Thyself.

To be Continued....

3 comments:

Anne Rooney said...

'Ogres have layers...parfait has layers. Everybody loves parfait.'

Sorry, couldn't resist. But there's a serious point, too - don't discard any layers: the parfait/onion/ogre needs all of them.

Why didn't I talk to you about bardic medicine when I was writing my Story of Medicine, oh wise one? damn.

Lucy Coats said...

Ah, but Anne, removal of layers doesn't necessarily mean discarding them! Love the Shrek quote--had forgotten that one--and you can talk to me about Bardic medicine for the Story of Medicine Part 2, perhaps.

Frankie Anon said...

Hi Lucy. Your post sent me to Wikipedia to learn more. Always a good thing!

 
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