Tracy has often said that he wants to start a blog about the dark side of the dream life. He wants to post all of my 365 day rejects – the ones where one of my eyes is closed and the other is open but you can see that eye rolling back in my head and my face looks like it has about five chins.
He wants to post all the snarky things I say about American Idol contestants and recount the times when I just “give up” and don’t even get dressed and mope around all day in pajamas declaring all to be lost.
I don’t do that as much as I used to, but it still happens. For one thing, I’m a writer and we all know that if you have a proclivity toward writing there is at least one small wedge of your soul that drinks black coffee all day long and grouches at the world and weeps into your shirt sleeve and downs a whole bottle of scotch in the back seat of your car while your spouse is inside tending to the children. It just goes with the territory. Honest writing requires delving into the darkness and sometimes the darkness invites you to dance and you think well, why not, one dance never hurt anybody.
But this blog, this dream life, it does have a positive thought agenda. I do try to be careful here about what I say and how I say it. There are posts that don’t get posted, not because I’m hiding or pretending, but because I have truly taken to heart “be the change you want to see in the world,” which means extending love instead of judgment, and I hope that the me you know here is the best part of me--the truest part.
Amazing yet undeniable things happen in my life now on a daily basis. My whole concept of what it is to be human has changed. Things that I once considered fascinations, things that I hoped were true, have been proven to me and the world of spirit continues to unfold as I sit in awe of it, and while that may sound fantastical, it’s the only way I know to describe this incredible stuff that is actually quite real.
This week, I saw a client for a Reiki session and reading. After the reading, which the client was able to validate, we sat in that healing space and talked about techniques for meditation and visualization and time seemed to dissolve. At a point in my day when I would normally be tired and pretty much “finished,” I was energized and alive. This is how you know, I believe, that you’re living your true purpose--and I do believe that all this spiritual stuff – it is a big part of why I’m here. It feels right to me and I love being a part of other people’s journey. I love when I’m channeling Reiki or giving a reading that I’m engaged fully with spirit but that it’s not about me. I love being able to say to a person, “Here’s what they’re showing me,” and have that person say, “Yes, that’s right,” and in that moment we both know that spirit is communicating and we’re open to receiving and all is well.
And because of those moments, I do know that all is well. I really know it. And because I know it, I want to talk to people about it—but not like a missionary. I don’t have any desire to change other people’s minds or “show anyone the way.” My path is my path and it doesn’t have to be anyone else’s path. I want to talk about it with other people who are on it, or want to be on it, or are curious about it. I’m certainly no authority, but I can suggest some teachers who are. When someone says to me, “I’d like to know how to communicate with my spirit guides,” then I am more than ready to talk, but if you think that’s all a bunch of hooey – well, that’s fine with me. We can still love each other. And we can even go dancing around in the dark side together, because that’s a part of me, too.
And that part, that is really what I’m trying to get at. I’m at work on a novel and I’m getting to the place where I have to jump off into the abyss and peel away the surface level stuff and say, okay, what’s the real nasty underbelly here? What’s this story really about? What are these characters after? What’s the secret they haven’t yet revealed? Where’s the hurt and how much does it hurt and what are they going to do about it? This is where it gets messy and painful and human. And I have to tell you, I love this part. And I also have to tell you that my fiction work is often motivated by things like anger and despair and anxiety and sorrow and grief – or my characters are. In life I try to stick to the positive thought, because that’s where I feel good and real, but in the writing I willingly go deep into the most painful thoughts for the sake of trying to do it well. I will swim in anger until it dissolves into despair and I will stay there as long as it takes. (Because that’s where I feel good and real.)*
I have a world view and there’s no way I could write honesty about life on earth without the writing being informed by that world view so somehow, someway, my spiritual beliefs are going to show up in my writing, but not ever at the expense of the integrity of fiction, which is my first, deep love. When I write fiction, I am the poet with her head in the oven, the guy with the scotch in the back of his car. When I write fiction, I am trying to get at something – that question that doesn’t have an answer, that place inside of us that we don’t talk about any other way except through art. My stories are not, nor will they ever be, devoid of hope. They will never present a cynical view of life with no chance for redemption, because that’s not the truth as I see it. But neither will they be Pollyannaish tales of bliss. Not just yet, anyway. My characters can usually see the light at the end of the tunnel, but they’re not always willing to walk through the tunnel. They’re ornery sometimes, just like me.
There’s this scene in Steel Magnolias where Darryl Hannah says, “I promise that my personal tragedy will not interfere with my ability to do good hair,” and I guess that’s how it is with me and the spirit guides and the fiction writing. Perhaps they inform one another, but they will not interfere with one another. Or maybe it is that they are just two ways of looking at the same thing.
When I first began to open to this path and realized that I was evolving and sloughing off old out-dated habits and putting on new shiny habits, I had this nagging suspicion that I should somehow try to be perfect, that I should not want to watch TV anymore or listen to the Rolling Stones or search for videos on YouTube. But the more I tried to be perfect the more I realized I had all this other stuff in me – this nonperfect ugly weird insecure stuff – this stuff that could only be exorcised by turning up Gimme Shelter really loud or watching a Joaquin pull a sink out of the wall.
And as I progressed and opened further, I made this beautiful discovery about the perfection thing and that is – we’re already perfect. God, the universe, whatever you want to call “it” doesn’t judge. When I get into the gap and quiet my mind and unlock my heart and ask – the love just comes pouring in. The guidance is there. It doesn’t matter what else I’ve done that day or where I’ve been or how wrong-minded or off-track.
I don’t particularly think that Denise Linn sits down at her desk and thinks, “I’m just going to look at one Hollywood gossip blog before getting down to the business of spiritual enlightenment,” and at some point, I might not feel the urge either. But I’m not there yet.
Accepting ourselves as spiritual beings, accepting ourselves as instruments of divine love and healing, doesn’t mean we have to become blanked out carbon copies of one another floating in the clouds all day long. I mean we are on earth, after all, and earth has its twisted craggy places--its beautiful hard filthy fantastic places--and what I’ve always loved most about fiction is that it, like god, doesn’t judge. It asks for only one thing --the truth of the moment.
There is, and in one form or another, always will be a dark side to the dream life. I will always hold the camera slightly above my head for self-portraits so you can’t see all those chins. I will always sit in astounded gratitude for the miracle that is this life. And I will always let my stories lead me to wherever it is they need to go, even if where they need to go is some dark dirty basement somewhere with only a tiny slat of light getting in. It’s that tiny slat of light that I’m after.
*This post makes me sound like some kind of whoopdidoo world-class fiction writer…um, yeah, let’s go with that.