Butterflies and books

I had a vision last week. No, not Rebekah Brooks’ face appearing in a slice of toast, sadly. It happened during a Health Kinesiology session with my wonderful friend E, who is training to be a practitioner. I’m one of her guinea pigs, which is more than fine with me – I’ve used HK on and off for many years and she’s already one of the best, most intuitive practitioners I’ve worked with.

Kinesiology is one of those complementary therapies that divides people. There’s absolutely no scientific evidence that it works. It’s properly holistic: either you ‘get’ the premise that your body has infinite wisdom and a skilled practitioner can interpret its weaknesses, blocks, and imbalances, and then help to resolve physical, emotional and spiritual issues, or you don’t. I’m very into all branches of ‘energy medicine’, which includes acupuncture, so HK has been, for me, a crucial aspect of my treatment since the day of my breast cancer diagnosis. It helps that E knows me extremely well, and sometimes one of the ‘things’ that comes up, that my body and soul is urgently requesting, is as simple as a big belly laugh or a massive squeezy hug.

Anyway, after balancing all my energy points last week, the ‘thing’ that came up, bizarrely, (an HK session is frequently an open-minded adventure into the unknown, even if you think you know what you’re there for) was the apparently random word ‘ridding’. E held various points on my head, while I had to focus on the word ‘ridding’ and let the context of what it meant just sort of come to me.

I concentrated on ridding. Ridding ridding ridding. The first thing that came to mind, obviously, was being rid of f*cking caancer. Then ridding myself of cancer treatment. Focusing on these two things, I felt hot tears streaming down my cheeks as I felt very deeply all over again the full horror of having cancer and going through all the treatment. Then, after a few minutes, something weird happened. The tears stopped. In my head there was a pause, a moment of immense, bottomless calm. And then I had the vision.

It was me, or rather, The New Me. Pinchy, version two point zero. Like a butterfly stepping out of its chrysalis, I saw myself, in technicolour, striding forward, with cancer and its treatment fully behind me in the monochrome distance. I had a huge smile on my face. My hair was long, red and glossy again. I walked tall, my head high (I was also very slim, wearing tight white jeans and looked a bit like Elle McPherson on the school run, but hey, it’s MY VISION, OK?).

Pinchy on the school run. Liderally in my dreams.

It wasn’t just cancer behind me – it was all the old aspects of myself that no longer serve me: anxiety, depression, fear, that extra stone of weight, anger, lack, guilt, a desperate need for love and approval – all the crap stuff that has been my own personal albatross around my neck almost since I was a child.

And what was I moving forward to? Quite spontaneously, in the vision it was utterly normal, and inevitable, that I was a successful novelist. I am cringing slightly writing this, because it sounds a bit arrogant. Also, my loved ones have listened to me saying for practically decades that what I have always really, really wanted to do is write fiction, and then watched me do precisely bugger all about it. Writing novels – good, intelligent, funny, best-selling, award-winning ones, naturally – is what I have always thought of as simultaneously my purpose on this planet, and waaaay too scary to even start. I have a couple of dusty first chapters tucked away, but I’ve never embarked on a serious attempt to crack out my first literary baby. I’ve always been too scared. But there’s something about cancer that makes you laugh in the face of the things you once feared. Because the really scary thing happened, and I got through it.

So that simple, slightly clunky word, ‘ridding’, was exactly right. Focusing on it and watching the subsequent slideshow in my head was an intense experience. After the session had ended, I felt quite drained, but full of quiet, nameless purpose. I didn’t really go into detail with E, or DH, or anyone else about what I had seen. I didn’t analyse it. I needed to let my subconscious chew it over for a few days. Then this week, during a coaching session with the pretty darn brilliant Amanda Alexander, I spilled the beans. As always, Amanda’s sessions are a ‘safe’ place to articulate things you haven’t really said, to yourself or anyone else, and then suddenly you’ve taken the first step from turning a dream into reality. Started to put some flesh on those bones. Telling her about my vision brought it more fully to life. It was extraordinary, like I’d actually seen the future.

Even more interestingly (to me, anyway, I am well aware there are fewer things duller than hearing other people’s dreams, but bear with me), I don’t feel any sense of rush or urgency to get started. I know what I need to do right now, now I’ve put this picture out into the universe, is to just wait patiently until the right idea for my first novel comes to me. I have a sense that writing it will be effortless, like channelling the story, rather than grinding it out. I’ve never suffered from writer’s block, professionally, but I do tend to end up sailing quite close to deadlines because I’m waiting for my muse to land on my shoulder. I say it jokingly, but that’s exactly what happens. When the time is right to write, and my head is in the right space, the writing just happens, in perfect flow, with no force required.

In the meantime, I could read a few more books about the novel form, get stuck into Julia Cameron’s ‘Artist’s Way’ again (stream-of-consciousness writing every morning, as an exercise in disciplined creativity), and maybe find myself some sort of mentor in this area. But there’s plenty of time.

So now I’ve said it, out loud. I really am going to write a novel, quite soon. And you can hold me to that. Let’s just get the remaining 11 radio ga ga sessions out of the way first.

*Thanks so much to everyone who has voted for me in the Loved By Parents Blogger of the Year awards! The deadline for votes is now 5 August, so if you haven’t done so yet, please please please go to the website and put a tick next to Pinchypants. I thank you, my lovely comrades.


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