Writers who craft their words authentically are fewer than you might think. Which is where Proprioceptive Writing really comes into its own.
People write for different reasons: to create that mythical blockbuster that will make their fortune and provide celebrity status; so that ego can claim it’s A Writer; to tell stories; as a proven record of life lived, often it being irrelevant whether anyone reads or wants to know or not; or to sing up life into being, as I try to do.
When someone comes forward to learn PW, hoping that it will help them reclaim their sense of self, in order to write with genuine authenticity, I breathe a great sense of relief. For this is where PW’s strength lies.
This happened on June 7, at the second ‘first Saturday in the month’ session of PW. (See schedule for future dates: www.cluniehall.uk.com)
A young woman came for the first time with a powerful motive. She was recovering from an accident and while her body was healing, her sense of who she was in distress.
“I’m here to recover my self”, she said. She felt a powerful – and exceptionally mature – need to be as honest as possible about what had happened to her and rather than seek blame, see the experience – however steep the learning curve – as a lesson.
She thought PW could help her, and it will.
Proprioceptive Writing involves a peeling away of the layers of our stories, the stories that ego begins creating to protect us as children. This young writer’s problems had intensified at school, where she had been bullied. It will take many WRITES (written rites) to recover her sense of self, the strong unafraid trusting child she once was; she will need to remove the masks of persona one by one, however painful.
The wonderful thing about PW is that progress is at the pace chosen by the writer, so while there can be revelations and often tears, recovery towards authenticity and well being is gradual and supportive, never pushy or demanding. In this sense it tends to be remarkably pain less.
Our personalities are psychologically as complex and multi-layered as any physical landscape. No sooner have we stripped away one layer than another reveals itself. Sometimes the going is relatively easy; sometimes incredibly pain full.
As someone who has bitten their nails since childhood, I know what it’s like to strip a bit of cuticle or skin but then ouch! let go, because to go any further will cause bleeding and deeper suffering. Stripping back who we have become to who we were as tiny precious all-knowing babes, can be just like that. We get close to a source of old pain and back off rather than take that leap of faith into the fear-full unknown.
It happens in PW all the time. That is the purpose of the first of the four questions facilitators ask at the end of each 25 minute ritual writing meditation: WHAT WAS HEARD BUT NOT WRITTEN? What does the writer hear (inwardly) but chooses not to go there (write about it) for whatever reason: fear, guilt, a general feeling of discomforture, etc.
It is being brave enough to tackle such internal whisperings that allows the thickest layers to unpeel, fall away and allow further ever more powerful integration.
Is my own voice 100% authentic? Of course not. But I do try, and you’d be amazed at how much criticism results, especially in my writing. The last piece published is a good example, in which I reflect on the sources of irritation and anger with my partner: http://embrace-transition.com/2014/05/29/east-and-west-bitch-of-a-month/
As a very dear friend of many years just mailed me: “I will never understand is why you want to broadcast such deeply personal things to the whole world. Although it’s a severe self-indictment it affects your partner too by exposing your personal lives to the world. If he can tolerate that you are a very lucky woman.”
When I discussed this with my be-loved, he read the piece (in general finding it too hard since English is not his first language) and shrugged. “It’s okay”, he responded, smiling. “It doesn’t matter.”
I am indeed it seems a very lucky woman.