Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Choice & A Request

I have the stories that matter to my unfolding, and I have the need to write. But it hasn't been happening.

I know that my next book's working title is The Choice. I know it is about my struggle to make the choice to really be here in this life, within this body-self (not the one I remember having twenty years ago or fantasize about having if I ever start doing the exercise I say I will,) in this world (not the one built on romanticized memories of what we say once was or the one we hope we will create some day.) It’s about the nitty-gritty of what it means to say yes to life on all levels, no matter what demons- inner or outer- are licking their lips, baring their teeth and eye-balling me like a juicy piece of meat.

My agent told me yesterday to dip my pen in the blood and start writing. He’s right- about both about my need to write and where the stories have to come from. There’s no walking around what has unfolded since I wrote my last book.

And that’s part of why I haven't been doing the writing I need to do. I want to write around and not through the stories of the last ten years: a downward spiral and periods of separation from my inner knowing and connection to Presence that I could not have imagined was possible; the agony of betrayal, separation, divorce; loss of my home and belongings; the realities of caring for two parents with Alzheimer’s shredding my efforts to re-imagine a childhood rooted in silent terror as something other than what it was.

Of course, there’s also been recovery and healing, deepening insight and growing awareness but these are most often less like once-and-for-all celebratory aha-moments, but rather like the slow and sometimes not-so-steady lurching, stumbling, falling and painful rising of a small mud-covered animal crossing a burnt-out forest floor.

The books I have written have all been the truth of the journey I was taking. But the story is incomplete.

So what stops the writing? The two things that always stop us when we know what to do (or at least where to start) and find ourselves paralyzed or distracted: shame and fear. 

But still there is (with the help of many and that which is larger than us all) faith: in truth-telling to dispel shame and allow us to reclaim our lives; in storytelling to mend what is broken; in creativity to allow us to keep walking through the fear.

Ironically (or perhaps predictably,) I cannot make the choice to be here fully in this life without writing the book I am calling The Choice.

So, dear friends, I am going to allow myself the gift of inconsistency in those places where I am easily and pleasurably distracted. I will participate less on Facebook and put up a blog here intermittently instead of every week as I have done for several years (or post only small snippets and not worry about how coherent they are.) I will stop answering the many emails I receive each month- simply reading them when I can and saying prayers of gratitude.

I ask for your help- and there is a way you could help me immensely. Publishing these days is dependant  upon "on-line presence," and the time and energy required to cultivate that presence makes it almost impossible to write a book. So, even if I am not here as much, I would ask that you keep both this blog and my Facebook page ( alive while I write by "liking" or commenting on what is posted, sharing it with friends, and subscribing here (put your email address in at the bottom of the green column on the right side of the page.) 
Because the truth is, nobody makes the choice to be here fully in one small particular life in this big beautiful and sometimes overwhelming world, without a lot of help, without companions with whom we can sit around the fire after a long day of walking. 

Oriah (c) 2013


  1. Asking for help is a true sign of strength. It is living testimony that we are strong enough to accept that we cannot be "all things", cannot be "perfect", cannot meet the expectations of others (expectations that are often our own projections). I have read your previous books, and have grown a lot thanks to your writings (and my own hard work). So, yes, I absolutely support your choices, and look forward to reading Choices.

  2. Twenty years ago, I remember you talking about mid-life being the years in which we "see with the eyes of death". Painful years to live though; harder to write about. Good for you for claiming the space, the understanding and support from all of us to do what you have to do!! We are all here when you need to come for air.

  3. Go! Write! Do not look back until you are done! Those whose lives you are meant to connect with will be there. They always have. They always will.

    Oh yeah ... remember to breathe.

  4. I was truly moved by this post, by your asking just for indications of my presence. It's so simple - I'd no idea that it might matter that much. Your books, and many of your posts, have meant so much in my journey. Your thoughtful honesty about your own life really speaks to me. I too fully support your choice to take the time needed to write another book.

  5. I'll love to support your blog with some comments. That's a fine way for me to give back to you what you have given me with your work: a lot of support.

  6. Dear Oriah,

    The connection between you and me has extended across time and space since I first met you in Santa Cruz about seven years ago. I will help keep your blog and Facebook alive while you are away writing your new book. I will be one of your companions who sits around the fire talking with you. I look forward to the next chapter of your life. You will get in touch with your truth and you will write it! You will brush your way through shame and fear as you embrace your vulnerability, the source of your strength. Go well.

  7. You are a real person that is why "The Invitation" was such a huge healing for so many. May the muse be with you as your truth unfolds on the page. Perhaps dip that pen in your heart and allow the alchemy to begin. What ever comes out on the page as long as it is true will set forth the truth in all of us. Go roll in the grass or dance in the rain. The muse loves foolish fun!

  8. Dear Oriah,
    I choose to support you and to be one who cheers you on. I always read your blog and when I check in with facebook and you have posted I usually Like it. I appreciate your asking for help. I understand where you are coming from because I'm in a similar position. I spend so much time building my platform and presence it doesn't leave me the time I need to write. Oyvey.

  9. On the one hand I'll really miss my Wednesday "fix"! On the other hand your taking the time and space you need to write your book is your being faithful to yourself first and if I learned nothing else from The Invitation I learned the importance of that! So take my good thoughts with you as you write "in blood"!

  10. Thank God someone is really saying what life is really like. I love your writings as it is exactly what I discuss with my closest friends. Life feels messy and so it is sometimes, yet we in our society feel we cannot state that, just as it is. Thank you for writing the yucky that life sometimes is...It is refreshing and allows me to feel okay about who I am and where I am each and every day. Bless you!

  11. Oriah, I remember reading something from you, that goes like this - When you are lying on the kitchen floor, unable to move from fatigue, you realize what are the things that really need to get done. Children fed and clean..." I used that phrase many times in my life, when I felt overwhelmed and stressed out. and it always, always helped me find the next thread, and keep going without going insane. I am now saying- go, write, is there something else that needs to get done? I don't think so. Go, write, so you can keep helping us live, with your words. God. Bless. You.

  12. I love your writings Oriah and I would look at this time in your life as a simple time to pause and refresh. I pause to refresh my inner self, and I never know how long that's going to take. As a warrior of the light I need these moments to accept what was, and then I dust myself off and begin stepping forward again, toward the light. Thank You for all of the good energy to bring to me through your writings.. Namaste Friend..

  13. I am in awe of your profound wisdom and your ramblings so Write On!

  14. Thank you for your beautiful, raw honesty. You inspire me to be the same way!