I’ve just finished two books within days of each other, which have left me reeling. It was good to read them together- Charles Eisenstein’s, ‘The more beautiful world our hearts know is possible’, and Charlotte du Cann’s, ’52 flowers that shook my world, a radical return to Earth’.
I read them as a reader, but also as a writer, feeling the discomfort of my own unborn book prowling around the edges of my consciousness, prodding weak spots in my defences, looking for a way out- while I look for a way in.
When I received these books several weeks ago, on my 64th birthday, I held them both in my hands feeling hope and promise. I chose them because I sensed they would tell me something I needed to know, that taking the journey with both these writers, I would be brought to a new level in my own understanding. I was hoping their passages would give me the courage to set out on my own journey back to my true heart. And they have.
What struck me most about these two writers was how true their discoveries rang for me. And that this truth was a product of them both having navigated one or more difficult periods, falls from professional acclaim, periods of invisibility, loneliness, directionlessness, and humility. And that neither of them have arrived at some perfect all-knowing condition where they will tell us what to do. They both have been hurt and both still have issues to work out. Their travel reports don’t chart the territory that I have to navigate, but they tell me I’m on the right journey and it is ok that right now I’m walking in a land with no signposts.
It seems that the books we are getting and perhaps need most now are by real people, asking the same questions that are on our minds, but asking them from a new perspective. Not theoretical, but rooted in a hard won knowing of their place in the world and in their own internal landscape. And that this is perhaps their greatest gift, that they have faced down obstacles of low self worth, isolation, criticism, to emerge whole with a story to tell. A story that can help each of us do the same.
I know I haven’t gone into the subject matter of either of these books in this post, that is for another time. These two books’ gifts to me were of two very different people and their journeys to find their own truth. And their compassion and clarity in describing the movements of their innermost hearts lights the way for me as well.