Last weekend, Grant Cooper and I participated in a workshop called Writing to Awaken at the Open Center in Manhattan. It was facilitated by Mark Matousek, a writer who advocates for writing as a spiritual practice in order to find the (sometimes hidden) truths within ourselves.
I really enjoyed the all day session though it was, in the end, a little tiring. It takes work to delve into the shadow and see what gifts or wounds we hide from ourselves. As Mark shares, by telling the truth we can change the story of our lives and be transformed in the process.
Even in just this one session, it was very clear that writing can have a transformative effect. In the exercises we did and sharing of those, memories and insights percolated to the surface, and made me consider myself and my story as well as my place in the universe in new ways. The story of self, Mark reminds us, is something that is always being created and recreated. Self inquiry is a path to claiming all of our powers and can lead us to insights based on our experiences.
As conscious and spiritual beings, humans need story to understand who we are and to conceptualize where we are heading. I really liked his idea that the ruptures of our lives, especially in early life, become “ground zero” for our spiritual striving. Experiencing loss leads us to growth and uncovering the things inside of us that cannot be lost. This is, in Mark’s words, “the doorway to self discovery.” Our creativity, our sense of spirit, these are all wrapped up in the stories we tell about ourselves.
If fears represent opportunities, then writing about myself is a big opportunity for me! It is exciting to consider where this avenue is going to lead. Many thanks to Mark, who seemed to me to be patient, generous, and imbued with a grace that reflects wisdom gained in the world and comfort in his own skin.