The Thud of Self-Deception and the Ring of Truth


Can you hear the difference?

I can. Now. But it’s taken years, and it’s been primarily through writing. People won’t always tell you when you’re just standing around blabbing. They know you well enough to know that their feedback is going to fall on deaf ears. Why else would you be going to such trouble to convince yourself of something that is false?

Before I got into recovery, I would regularly tell people I would soon be cutting down, or explain why my using a certain substance was okay. Was in fact more than okay! It was an elegant solution to a pernicious problem. Although I could perceive it then, I never understood what was happening when the energy seemed to get sucked out of certain things I said as I was saying them, things I said over and over and over….They had to be true, right?

When you write, and then read so that you are being listened to and heard, when you find yourself stumbling over words, or bored with your own perfectly constructed sentences that march down the page like rows of soldiers – and conversely, when you hear yourself uttering crazy wise metaphors that are sloppy and sideways, but nonetheless full of life  – You hear it. The difference.

When I was in school for occupational therapy, I had to explain what occupational therapy was practically every time I talked about it. And I did, patiently and with enthusiasm. I said something different each time I answered, because I was learning something different, and because some new facet of the field had just come into focus and I was newly in love. I had no pat answers. 

When you’re fooling yourself, you develop an argument. You bring in evidence. You tie it all up very neatly, so that it makes sense and is defensible. You look for agreement from outside yourself, and you use it to bolster your confidence in your position.

When you’re simply being yourself and representing yourself honestly, you don’t have to work as hard to make sense. After all, the truth may not actually make sense, at least not right away. You stand in curious, open receptivity to what your heart and soul are trying to make you aware of. Rather than try to make your irrational parts speak perfect English, you suspend the rules of grammar so that you can connect.

I value the hearing I have developed over the years of writing every day, teaching writing, and working with people on their goals and dreams. I know the ring of truth. And so do others, if they just keep going long enough for it to be expressed. “Teaching writing” is nothing more than creating the space and showing people a few good ways to keep writing until the truth comes out. I don’t know what that truth is until it arrives. But when it does, everybody can hear it. And feel it. It feels good. And depending on how far down the writer had to reach to get at it, it can also feel like a dam bursting, an unwritten rule being broken, or a vow coming undone.

But liberating, no matter what.

I hope you will consider joining me for one of the writing workshops I will be leading in the next several weeks, in Boothbay and Sidney, Maine. If that’s not your locale, and you’re interested in hosting me where you are, drop me a line, and we’ll talk about it.

Here are the details. I hope to see you soon.

Find Your Voice – Find Your Joy*

*Featuring material from the forthcoming book Juicy-Joyful: How To Squeeze More Joy From Your Already Messy Life

Writing Exploration Workshop

Using Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind writing approach, we will begin an exploration of writing and of joy. How do we get started? What makes for a joyful life? Do either of these things come naturally? If so, how do we get out of the way?

We will learn simple techniques for getting our writing started and keeping it going. By tuning our listening, we will hear and feel the unmistakable sound of our own voice. We will each have the opportunity to be listened to in a structured, safe, empowering way.

The principles we use in this workshop can be applied to any self-exploration endeavor and have the potential to yield a lifetime of authentic living, self-love and self-trust.

What to bring:
A fast pen, an open heart, a blank notebook and a sense of adventure.

Three Spring Dates!
  • April 19th, Boothbay, Maine 1-3 p.m.
    Contact: Kitty Hartford at (207) 633-6355. Fee is $18.00
  • April 29th, The Pond, 1783 Pond Road, Sidney, ME 04330, 6-8 p.m.
    Contact Phyllis at Fee is $25.00
  • May 3, The Pond, 1783 Pond Road, Sidney, ME 04330, 1-3 p.m.
    Contact Phyllis at Fee is $25.00

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