The Difference

As I shared yesterday, everything I write and teach and talk about, from this blog, to No One Is Broken, to Write Within Yourself, could be summed up in one sentence: Everything is okay, even though everything appears to not be okay. Though the point of my writing and teaching and coaching is that everything is okay, the emphasis usually lands on how things – that is, life on planet earth – tend to appear. For me, the difference between appearance and reality, between what we believe and fear waits for us behind the closed door of the future and what we will always find, is the profound journey within every story ever told. I have always thought of life in this way, although for years I viewed it in reverse. There is what I want, and then, alas, there is what I get. Being a grounded, learned, mature, rational, clear-eyed grownup was about accepting what you got with minimal complaint. This proved a grim and white-knuckled way of living, and my knuckles eventually grew weary and I had to let go. I was prepared then for a fall, and I got one. What I was not prepared for was what I began to discover on my way down.

That old view of reality as a thing I must accept reminds me of how I used to begin stories. I used to think I knew what the story was about and where it was going and how I would finish it. None of what I predicted ever came true. Only, what I got, I soon noticed – which is to say what the story actually wanted to be – was always better than what I had first imagined. I didn’t so much accept the difference, as adore it.

I had to tell many, many stories before I understood that it wasn’t my job to know what lay behind the closed door of what was to come. And I had to tell an equal number of stories before I began to trust that finding something I adored instead of something I had to accept was not some fluke; it was reality.


Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion.

"A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

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