42. How to Emerge from Isolated Internalising to Connected Public Sharing?

February 18, 2022
Barbara Cook

Be like the blossom tree

sharing. blossoming. book. Barbara Cook blog
image by Darkmoon_Art on Pixabay

Dear blog subscribers,

Here’s a little article I wrote recently on Medium. For all of you who are sharing your whole self in the world right now, I celebrate with you. Yaaay for us!


“Why do I write?” This was a great question asked recently on a newsletter I subscribe to.

You may as well ask a blossom tree, “Why do you burst out into flower?”

It’s simply a part of me. I love it all. The dashing down of snippets of ideas into a sketchy first draft, the multiple edits over many days, the deleting of anything that’s superfluous, the unfolding of new ideas or structure as I return to it day after day, and the final moment when I put it out there for others to read.

I am energised by writing. I’m in the flow.

It’s my version of blossoming.

Why now?

Did I have time for it in the past? Heck, no! With a demanding job and various other commitments, I could barely manage a few posts per YEAR on my personal blog. I’m now thrilled to be at a stage in my life when I have time to devote to my writing. Retirement has coincided with an inner shift in which I am finally ready to claim my voice. It’s time.

Was I READY for it in the past?

Heck, no! Here’s why:

Internalising — a clever idea. Until it wasn’t.

As a child, I absorbed lots of love, acceptance and encouragement to be whoever I wanted. Simultaneously in that era and family there was puzzlement, deflection and even exasperation delivered to this little girl who felt big emotions deeply. What to do with this aspect of not being affirmed? 

My clever strategy was to internalise! Yep, with no-one able to help process those pesky, so-called ‘difficult’ emotions, I’d swallow them down, keep them to myself, lock them away and get lost in my very clever, complicated but tiring thinking mind. As anyone who’s been on a path of personal and spiritual development will tell you, these early protective behaviours eventually reveal their limitations.

Why not continue to keep them to myself?

Because my articles are always personal stories written with a keen self-awareness, my writing helps me affirm and solidify my growth and personal insights. I guess that makes me one of the writers who consider their writing to be a form of therapy. But why publish them for others to read?

Would I even bother with writing these self-affirming stories if they were just for me, or for my great-grandchildren to discover when I’m gone? Well as a matter of fact there was a stage when that was exactly the case! About thirty years ago I was surrendering to some very challenging life events when a burst of poetry and an allegorical novella simply ‘arrived’ over the course of a few months. They seemed to come through me, without any involvement of the ‘thinking mind’. There on the page was the truth of what I was going through, expressed in symbolic form. I typed them all up and stored them on the highest shelf of the wardrobe for over twenty years. I thought they were simply for me.

Why share publicly?

Little did I know that things would change. Over the past six years I have published that book and continue to share my awareness articles publicly on various platforms. What shifted?

Is it about money or fame? Well I admit that I’ve had to do some inner work on clearing exactly those impulses, but that’s a whole other series of articles!

That inner shift I mentioned has something to do with un unshakeable feeling that sharing my stories would be a kind of service. It was also about ‘stepping in’* and expressing my whole self without hiding; emerging from the isolating island of the young internaliser and joining a community of like-minded souls all exploring their deeper inner worlds at this time. It seems I’ve developed a ‘fellowship mindset’*.

Am I INSTRUCTING now?

Gosh no! Neither my articles nor my book are instruction manuals or lists of tips. Even if I gave my most well-meaning ‘instruction’, it would contain an energy of mild ‘arrogance’*(“I know how you should handle this.”)For me there’s a difference between instruction and the more equal connection that comes through resonation; a little like the deep sharing amongst friends that can turn on lightbulbs of recognition or new perspectives.

It seems to me that everyone’s journey is unique, and can’t be undertaken authentically by simply reading stuff or doing what someone else has done.

I love this quote,

“Don’t be satisfied with stories; how things have gone for others. Unfold your own myth.” — Rumi

Instead of instructing, I hope to sit in a space of humility; vulnerably sharing what is real for me. Perhaps my stories might just resonate with someone and affirm what they already sense in themselves. They might have a ‘realisation of truth’* and feel, “My reality is slightly different but yes, that has shifted something in me.”

What about the response from an audience?

During my Dance degree, we explored the case of a choreographer who sought to explore what it means to perform. She created an amazing solo and proceeded to take it on tour to many different remote locations, deliberately performing for audiences of precisely ZERO!

Let’s pause for a second and actually ponder that.

I can’t remember what her outcome was, but sometimes I wonder about these writerly-related questions:- What if I come out and share my whole self and no-one reads my articles? What if no-one ever claps or comments?

I have no answers yet, only questions. There’s a sense that when the reader connects and resonates, there’s a beautiful completion of a circle.

Here is a clip I made a few years ago about sharing My Whole Self in the world. It was a parable that came to me without even thinking. Here I share it with my grandchildren. It’s got nothing to do with blossoming, but has a different slant which had them giggling. Little did I know that it would be a premonition to what’s continuing to unfold in this moment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DP1xpU7lnOs&t=6s

The ‘asterisked words in italics*’ sprinkled throughout this article are terms I’ve used from an inspiring book I’ve read recently called“The Awareness Code”.

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