I am usually of many words, but tonight I am tired and only have a few. A week ago I received some constructive criticism about my writing from a person who is very important to me, and it sent me reeling. My confidence was shattered in an instant. This person didn’t view my writing in the same way as I did—was anything I once thought correct? Suddenly, when I sat down to write, I found myself with no words.
Today, we continued the conversation, and I spent the afternoon feeling very down, flat, sometimes in tears. (I am so sensitive! I must grow a thicker hide.) But this disconnection I continue to feel from my creative self is what has me worried. Tonight I went to the coffee shop to write, and although I started something new, the ecstatic feeling of union I usually feel was nowhere to be found. No emotion, no waves of feeling, just thoughts.
I am reading this amazing book on writing called Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamont. So in my sadness I turned to this book for guidance, solace even. And this is what Anne had to say: “Writing is about filling up, filling up when you are empty, letting images and ideas and smells run down like water—just as writing is also about dealing with emptiness.”
About dealing with emptiness! That’s it. Suddenly my day’s feelings took on a new meaning. Sometimes life fills my cup, but sometimes my cup must empty. If the cup is never empty, how can anything new come into it? This feels true to me, and I am relieved. Now I remember about cycles, and change, and transition. Before something new is born, the old cycle must end. The cup must empty.
I think the words of criticism I received will guide me to a new level of learning and give me the push I need to take some new risks. It is a transition, and it is painful, but perhaps not as painful as I first thought.
All afternoon the image of the Fool, a card in my Motherpeace Tarot deck, kept popping into my head. (If the idea of tarot conjures up images of scary old women with head scarves and curved fingernails, do not fear. These cards are more an intuitive guide than anything else.) The Fool represents being child-like, taking risks, opening yourself up to change and new possibilities (and also of course pain). The Fool acts with no knowledge of the dangers all around, and because of this, new possibilities open up, possibilities that a more guarded person would never see.
Right now, before bed, I decided that since I had been thinking of the Fool all day, I would read in my Motherpeace guidebook, by Vicki Noble, about this card. This is what Vicki had to say: “The Fool in Tarot has been a symbol of the void, the precreation state containing all possibilities but not yet manifesting any particular things.” Again, life sends me the same message: the void as a precreation state—the empty cup before it is refilled. It can be a scary, lonely place to be, this place of emptiness. But today I’ve been reminded I only need to be patient and wait, for this emptiness is like the coldest hour of morning, right before the dawn. Soon, something bright and glorious will color the horizon, and my cup will be filled once more.
© Amy Daniewicz and Beneath the Trees