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Realising Oneself

I have always been pretty good with words, when it came to speaking, but it was not always the casee when it came to writing. From my twenties onwards, I would meet writers who, on hearing me speak, would urge me to write. I would find ways to demur and avoid the process.

For me, the gap between what I could say and what I could write was pretty obvious and something that I found impossible to bridge on my own. It was not until 2010 when I decided that I really needed to do something and attended a writing course with Dark Angels, that I realised that I could actually write.

This realisation came from the simple act of writing and then reading my work aloud to the rest of the course participants – all of whom were professional writers. It would be fare to say that I was shit scared and expecting to be ridiculed. The warmth with which my words were then received allowed me to grow in confidence and leave that three-day course thinking ‘I am a writer.’

Five years on, I have gained my wings and completed my Dark Angels apprenticeship with a masterclass in Oxford. I am no longer terrified about reading my work to a group of professional writers, in fact I rather enjoy it, but then writing has become something playful and something that I am much easier with and freer in. With that has come a confidence in my ability; I have realised myself as writer within the scope and ambitions that I have for writing.

Yet, there is something more for me, that has occurred in the process; something that I am still assimilating after returning home from Oxford. And it has to do with accepting more fully and trusting not just my writer’s voice, but my inner landscape and experience on which it draws. That self-acceptance was greatly aided by the generosity of all who were involved - tutors, students and our guest speaker. Everyone gave freely of themsleves, exploring their own edges, pushing themselves gently, listening attentively and appreciatively – providing a rich soil in which we could all grow.

This exploring of edges, realising one’s different capacities and potentials, are part of a living life. This often involves recognising where we are shit scared, as that is often where our edges are. If we explore and learn from our fear, anxiety and terror, rather than retreating or avoiding a situation, we can learn not to be immobilized or frozen but rather free enough to move. It is then we all have a chance of developing further, the possibilities that lie in front of us.

And, this brings me to a final point, which is linked to what attracted me to Dark Angels in the first place. Their mission is to humanise, personalise the language of business, to make it intelligible, to tell a story. I guess, I think the language of therapy should be the same, in that it should not medicalise, pathologize, the difficulties, tragedies of human experience. Rather, it should enable people to find their edge, and step over it for themselves, through realising themselves in their potentialities. And in the part of life that therapy often deals with, that often means realising their own potential to love, not just oneself, but others. And for that change to happen, part of what we need is a good story, and that means we all need to become a friendly storyteller of our own lives.