This was a very emotional morning.
I finished the final edits of my new book, What Is Healing? Awaken The Power Of Your Intuitive Gifts For Health And Happiness.
My editor, Thomas Hill, has been editing my book in sections. He just sent me Section IV, the final chapters, on Friday, and it wasn’t until yesterday, Monday, that I got a chance to sit down and look at what Thomas wanted me to do.
All along in our process, there has been a creative tension.
I am very, very fast. Thomas is very, very slow.
This is not to say that anyone is bad or good, it’s just that everybody has their own rhythm. Once I sit down to do something, I get to the point and just do it, as they say in the Nike commercial.
Thomas also just does it, but he goes deep.
I liken Thomas to a very excellent yoga teacher.
You are in a pose, thinking that you are looking sort of good, and a very adept, astute yoga teacher will come over and point out to you where you need to go to penetrate your body even more deeply, to take the whole damn thing to another level, even if you don’t think you are capable of it or if you think at the time that you really don’t want to.
All along, as I have been receiving Thomas’s lists of questions, some of my initial thoughts have been, “Well, I don’t really feel like going there.”
And then I do go there – I go deeper into the subject I am writing about, penetrating the issues with my mind and cleaving the whole thing so that yet another layer is uncovered. And then, instead of cursing Thomas, I say to myself, “Thank God for Thomas!”
Yesterday, as I was going over the final edits, I read what Thomas had said to me – that there weren’t that many changes he wanted in the final chapters.
However, as I was going over the final recommendations, I noticed myself slowing down. I went out to lunch with a friend, and when I came back, I felt so ill I couldn’t think. I couldn’t write, I couldn’t do anything. The chakras in my eyes had totally closed down. It was as if I was seeing but my eyes weren’t connecting to my brain. I felt nauseous, weak and completely exhausted.
Eager to feel better, I asked my partner, Ken Holmes, to do kinesiology to help me figure out what to do to make myself feel better.
Usually, I have a can-do attitude and can think of something, but at that point, I was unable to figure myself out.
Ken said, “Don’t try to fix it. Just rest.”
I lay on the couch while he fixed dinner. I picked at my food. He cleaned up afterwards and then we watched a movie on Netflix. I managed to scarf down a few tablespoons of chocolate sorbet, ever the appropriate medicine for virtually anything that ever ails anybody.
Then last night, I woke up in the middle of the night. This was the third night in a row where I woke up and had to go downstairs and channel my angels before I could go back to sleep. Each night, I have woken up at the same time: 3:09 a.m.
I put on my bathrobe and trudged downstairs to check the kitchen clock: 3:13 a.m.
Lying on the couch and channeling my guardian angel, I wrote down the guidance I received before dragging myself back to bed.
I woke up this morning feeling some better, so I set myself up in my hammock, bundled up in my coat with my Apple laptop computer, my dog Belle snuggled at my side to give me expert spelling advice as I determined this was going to be the day that I finished the whole thing.
Once again, I noticed myself dragging through the manuscript. A slight sense of panic collected in my throat.
What am I to do with myself once I finish my manuscript? What next?
Every creative project has its own rhythm. On a beautiful day, I can sit on my porch in the sunshine and make five to six gemstone necklaces. I have an entire cabinet filled with beads, findings and whatnot. I have promised myself only to collect as many beads as will fill in that cabinet and then no more.
So when the annual bead show comes around in Sylva, North Carolina, I go into a frenzy of creativity just to make myself part with some of my stash to make room for the new.
On the other hand, yarn is far more bulky than beads.
I have another cabinet where I had hoped to limit my yarn collection.
Alas, I spilled over into another drawer. Then finally those two spots weren’t quite enough so now my entire closet is filled with boxes and bags of virtually every color yarn you could think of.
I generally have two shawls in progress at any one time, each in different colors so that when I get tired of knitting on the grey one I can move over to knitting on the green one, and so on.
I now realize that I have gotten out of control with my yarn collection. I rationalize to myself that at least it’s all drug free and legal.
But the point of the bead stash and the point of the yarn stash is to avoid the very moment that I find myself in today, the moment you realize that you are actually done with your project and you have to say goodbye.
This process, as I have said, has had a lot of creative tension, which is not entirely a bad thing.
For months, I have thought, “When is Thomas going to be done with the next part?”
Then Thomas will send me a section, I will write furiously, then have to wait for the next piece.
It seemed like things were taking forever, but now that I realize I am close to seeing an actual book in my hand, I started to panic and called Thomas on the phone for advice.
What to do next?
I have an idea for another book, but you never quite know exactly if that is the thing that is really bubbling up from our unconscious material.
If I finish a necklace or a pair of earrings that I have been beading, I can just play with my beads until another comes into my head.
If I finish a shawl or a scarf, I can just turn to the next one that I have in progress so I am not completely bereft.
I have a never-ending supply of friends I would like to give gifts to, birthdays and thank yous and so on, so I can always think of someone to bead or knit for.
But this finishing the book thing is quite an end that I am not totally prepared for.
I realize I will never be totally done with it as now I will have to promote it, but the aspect of playing with the words, getting in touch with what I really want to say and then allowing my soul to pour out will finally be done. At least until the next book!
“In terms of organization and style, it’s definitely a buildup,” Thomas said to me this morning. “When they finish reading the book they are going to be like , ‘I didn’t know I could do this, I didn’t know that I didn’t know’ – once they do it that it is a life changer. This is a very powerful book.”
When I finished the first draft of the manuscript back in early October, I cried and cried and cried.
I wasn’t quite sure if I was sobbing about what I was writing about or lamenting the fact that this glorious energy that had flowed through me was now going to come to an end.
All along, on the days when I have been writing on it, hours will go by and I will be in a state of bliss, just like I feel when I bead and when I knit.
I know what it feels like to finish a necklace and what it feels like to tie off a scarf and what it feels like to throw a completed shawl over my shoulders and stare at it, admiring my handiwork.
I am not totally prepared for this moment. So all I can do is ask for guidance and hope my soul finds a way to cope.
Dearest Catherine, Although I have not had your experience, it reminds me very much of some theater I did long ago with a group who came together during the summers and made magic. Such things moves your fabric like nothing else and becomes the reason for being. All elements inside and out coalesce towards its making. Saying that the process is multidimensional almost sounds flat. How can one convey the stretch of mind/body/soul/psyche/heart and essence? My own process was never bliss (so you are very blessed in that ), but rather, an earnest striving for both a personal and group birth that would leave me empty and devastated for days when the closing night finally came and went. A fellow actress used to say, “ah yes, the post show blues…”. For as difficult as it is I feel supportive and envious of what you are undergoing. That devastation is a precious, lonely state. It takes courage to be on the other end of birth, and I think its worth it. Keep loving yourself.
Hi Zoe, I honor your path through theater and now through your own personal healing. You are worth taking care of. Just remember how far you have come! Sometimes we spend so much time looking up at the top of the mountain that we forget to see just how far we have already climbed! You are already a skywalker for how far you have come! Love and light, Catherine