Dharma Diary · Writing

A Confession: I’ve lost my voice

I’ve lost my voice. It sneaked off when I wasn’t looking. One day I realised I was no longer telling the truth. Every time I sat down to write a blog post or work on my latest book, a tiny part of me died. I knew there was something I needed to say – but I couldn’t say it. I kept writing, but my heart wasn’t in it.

In a favourite of life’s ironies, the problem came up because I’m writing a book about how to free your mind from the blocks that interrupt the flow and stop you from writing freely. Or I would be – if I wasn’t blocked. The trouble is I know exactly what I want to write, but I’m not convinced I should be writing in the first place. So here’s the truth:

I don’t enjoy writing at the moment, but I don’t enjoy anything much right now. I’ve lost my joy. I feel so tired – not just physically, but emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Some of that is exhaustion from lack of sleep – hot flushes have been waking me up every couple of hours through the night for two years. Some of it is the hormonal apocalypse of menopause mixed with an immune system from hell. Some of it is the outer apocalypse of unremitting destruction and madness of a culture eating itself alive. (Maybe I should stop watching the news – can 2016 get any worse?)

Deep down, I want to surrender, to let go and be at peace. But when I do that I feel guilty that I’m not working harder. And when I try to write, the exhaustion makes it impossible to concentrate and I start to doubt my motivation. Demons slither out of the shadows and whisper lies: “You’re not really a writer. You’re a deluded fantasist. You have nothing to say. You have no talent. You should quit and do something useful with your life.”

To shut them up, I surrender and dissolve the fear, and then the guilt drives me back to my desk. It’s a misery-go-round.

I need guidance. I’m obviously in the middle of some sort of transformation – along with the rest of the world. So I did a tarot reading to clarify the situation and it turned out so well that I thought I’d share it with you. Maybe it’ll help.

What Covers Me (situation, the heart of the matter): The High Priestess

345px-RWS_Tarot_02_High_PriestessIntuitive awareness, trusting your inner voice, esoteric knowledge, hidden talents, the unknown, meditation, female mystery, source of creativity

I need to listen to my inner voice and trust my intuition. Hidden forces are at work and my life is changing, so I should pay attention to my dreams. Thinking about the problem won’t help. The answers will come from within, by tuning into Divine guidance and the wisdom of the spirit. I must trust myself.


What Crosses Me (challenges, opportunities, forces at work): 7 of Wands

wands07Holding your own, taking a stand, competition, perseverance, things coming to a head, strength in adversity, courage, purpose

This is a challenging situation and I need to stand up for myself and what I believe in and be true to myself. There may be fierce competition, but I’m in a strong position. I mustn’t give up now. I must have the courage of my convictions and keep going – I’ll get there in the end.


Beneath Me (source of the problem, foundations): The Tower

RWS_Tarot_16_TowerCollapse of old way of life, shock, disruption, awakening, major transformation, release from bondage, loss of security

This refers to the massive upheaval I’ve been through in the last few years: job loss, collapse of health, whole life disintegrating. I ended up self-employed because I couldn’t find a job and now I’m feeling insecure and fearful that I’m not up to the new job of scavenging work where I can find it. The Tower could also be about awakening and the fact that I know I can’t hide within my ego fears, even though that’s what part of me keeps trying to do. Opening to my true Self should liberate me from fear, not send me scuttling back into the same old structures. Those structures have been blasted to pieces – there’s nowhere to return to. If I gave up now, I would be going backwards into a wasteland of nothing.

Behind Me (past influences, fading concern): 5 of Cups

cups05Regret, sadness, loss of trust, feeling abandoned, unused talents, betrayal, disappointment, glass half-empty

This is the dark night of the soul that I’ve been in for years, on and off. So this card is saying the dark night is over. It’s time to move on from the feelings of abandonment and disillusionment. When I get caught up in the sadness my talents go to waste because I can’t write. But there’s no need for this regret. Two of the cups are still upright – something remains. I need to focus on the glass being half-full and stop thinking about what I’ve lost. Even when I’ve been writing, the self-doubt is there in the background saying: What if it all goes wrong again? What if I fail again? This card is saying that’s all behind me now. It’s time to move on.

What Crowns Me (potentials, opportunities, how I might resolve things): Knight of Swords

Knight of SwordsSudden changes, unexpected situations, leadership, ambition, confidence, fearlessness, assertiveness, decisive action

I have the potential to be fearless and more assertive in taking decisive action to achieve my goals. I need to take quick action, but must be careful not to be impulsive. I can overcome any obstacle on my path if I put my mind to it. This ties in with card 2: the forces at work being courage and perseverance. Another encouraging sign that I should go for it.


Before Me (the near future): 9 of Cups

cups09Wishes fulfilled, health, happiness, dreams come true, a job well done, getting what you wish for

That’s pretty self-explanatory, but it also points towards ‘those who are enjoying themselves.’ So perhaps this is saying I need to enjoy myself more and not focus on succeeding, especially in worldly terms. I enjoy writing (well, I used to when I wasn’t worrying about money) but I don’t enjoy trying to sell my writing. I’m not a salesperson so it always feels off. Biddy Tarot says that nines represent personal integrity and completion, so this card may have nothing to do with getting published and might be more about me being true to myself.

A good place to start would be seeing the perfection that underlies everything and opening to abundance and happiness through gratitude. I’m lucky, for now, that I can live in a relatively peaceful way (or I would be if I stopped beating myself up!).

It’s time to wake up and smell the roses. Joy is the only thing worth building a future on. Nothing else will work and no other structure will stand.

Self (me): The Devil

RWS_Tarot_15_DevilSelf-imposed limitations, negative thinking, not letting go, guilt, darkness, personal demons, attachments, fears, self-doubt, hopelessness, feeling stuck

I’m my own worst enemy. I’m making things worse than they need to be through negative thinking and old ego attachments. I’m trapping myself in my own web of lies and bullshit. This is the predator that lives in my head and whispers in my ear that it’s hopeless. The voice of fear that misperceives reality. Every time I give in to this ego delusion of separateness I invite the fear in and it’s dragging me under.

But the truth is, as in all the best stories, I have no idea what’s going to happen next. I have no more reason to fear than to have hope. In truth, I know nothing. I’m not in control of what’s unfolding in my life and no amount of fear or worry about the future will make it clearer or give me control over it.

Whatever happens, there’s no need to hold myself in bondage any longer.

The Devil can also be about attachment to one way of seeing things or one particular outcome. So, again, I need to stop worrying about trying to get published. That doesn’t mean I stop sending the book out to agents. The book exists, it’s done, it’s had good feedback, I may as well send it out. But I need to let it go and focus on enjoying writing for fun again, regardless of the outcome.

Environment (outside influences): The Magician

RWS_Tarot_01_MagicianWillpower, creative power, special knowledge, self-determination, opportunities, adapting to change, limelight, marketing, self-employment, technology

My immediate reaction on seeing this card was that I was surrounded by magic. I also wondered if it might mean that I should self-publish my novel because The Magician is about self-mastery and being the master of your own fate – i.e. not taking the traditional publishing route. But then I noticed that one of the people it can represent is ‘agents’ – so now I’m not sure. Whatever I do, the timing is right and I should be able to find the right skills, resources, and people to help me.

This card is about harnessing creative forces and manifesting your power. The law of attraction works when you align yourself with your true nature which is one with everything, and then what is needed is drawn towards you. There’s no real need for willpower, as such. Your own will is surrendered when you align it with the higher Will. It’s more a letting go than an act of will. So to succeed I need to step into line with whatever it is that life is trying to manifest through me. I need to stop getting in my own way.

Let go and let God.

Hopes and Fears (unexpected factors, how to proceed): The Sun

347px-RWS_Tarot_19_SunSuccess, fulfilment, optimism, achievement, empowerment, positive thinking, creative self-expression, blessings, health, vitality, opportunity

This card says I have every reason to hope. There is no room for fear at all. I can find a solution to my problems and achieve success and abundance. No matter what happens, I can feel optimistic and happy. This is about saying a big fat yes to life and being confident and believing in myself. Things will improve when I focus on the light at my centre rather than on the fears of my ego (the Devil). So another card telling me to enjoy myself and focus on simple pleasures.

The Sun also represents the mystic heart – the true Self – so again, it underlines the need to surrender and let go into that truth. The sun burns away the shadows and shows the way forward. Time to embrace my destiny. Have faith, relax and enjoy the sunshine.

Outcome: Queen of Cups

Queen of CupsNurturing, sensitivity, intuition, imagination, dreams, artistic creativity, mystery, mysticism, prophecy

Cups are about feelings, emotions, imagination and creativity. Queens are about feminine power, creativity and making ideas real through birthing or giving them form. So the Queen of Cups is about achievements in the use of imagination and creativity. Nurturing and birthing a creative project into the world.

This card represents me – or what I could be if I follow the advice in the cards. Creative self-expression is how I manifest who I am and express my feelings and understanding of the world, and share that with others. My intuition and dreams can guide me. I need to channel my visionary abilities, and this ties in neatly with the first card, The High Priestess. Incidentally, the novel I’m trying to sell features the discovery of a prophecy…

Thinking Birds Header
Darkness is fuel for the alchemy of imagination

My sensitivity should be a gift not a curse. I’ve let my empathy overwhelm me in the past, and withdrew too much from others because I couldn’t handle being swamped by their feelings when I couldn’t even deal with my own. But now I should be strong enough to come out of my self-imposed exile and dark night to rejoin the world and share what I’ve learned on my trek through the wilderness.

To find my voice I need to trust myself and my feelings. My body knows what I need to do. When I’m exhausted I should sleep, not continue to work because I think I ‘should’ because I have to prove myself or achieve something concrete in the world. The world is too busy tearing itself apart to care what I’m doing anyway.

I’m here to share what I can of the process of coming home to yourself, which is the real meaning of the hero’s journey found in stories. But perhaps it should be called the heroine’s journey. Heroes go out into the world and clobber poor defenceless dragons over the head. Heroines befriend the dragon and discover that he’s quite nice when you get to know him and he just wants a hug. The world has had enough of the wilful blindness of the hero on a quest. It’s time for the heroine to listen.

Heart over head.

Truth over… I was going to say lies, and I suppose the ego is a liar – a big fat one with burning trousers – but my compassion compels me to pull my punches and say delusion instead… Truth over delusion.

Soul over ego.

Ah, there you are.

I found my voice.

More from my Dharma Diary


16 thoughts on “A Confession: I’ve lost my voice

  1. Thousands of Illusions vs One Truth …fight goes on and on ..we have this human life gifted to us by God. It is only human form that can overcome illusions and be one with our selves and ultimately with almighty who has gifted us this life.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. .. and now you are in alignment with your heart and soul once more. It can take a lot of ego mind talk to find our way back to our inner wisdom again. So glad you did!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jessica,
    I can completely relate to, and empathise, with how you are feeling about writing.

    I have really struggled to write anything this year and feel like a fraud and a failure.

    I have always enjoyed your blog and your writing style. Don’t give up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks David. I’m glad you enjoy the blog. 🙂

      I think struggling to write is part of the process – it doesn’t mean you’re a fraud or a failure. I know it’s hard to believe when you’re stuck, but perhaps sometimes getting stuck is necessary. When you get going again, it all starts to make sense…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Terrific meditation! And you are a good writer. Look at self-publication. It’s certainly faster (although more costly). And if you’re not a self-promoter, which I can also identify with, then it may be hard to earn much (if any) money on the books you’re written. Still, they are your gift to the world.
    You’re right when you say you shouldn’t drive yourself to write when you should be sleeping. Sleep deprivation is a chief cause of depression. That and getting too little sunlight.
    Write because you must. Offer it to the world. And try to enjoy the rest of your life as you can. The world is better for your having been in it. Believe me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joanne. I’m not giving up on the agents yet. I’ve already sent the book out – just waiting for the rejections!

      Self-publishing can be done for free, so that’s always an option. I self-published my first novel, and the next may go the same way. Making money is almost irrelevant when it comes to writing these days. Even if you’re traditionally published, you tend to earn very little, what with one thing and another. That deserves a blog post all to itself…


    2. What Joanne said about sleep deprivation is very true. Dehydration too. I’m going to assume that you eat good food and allow yourself to indulge a craving or two on occasion. Making sure you are hydrated is important too.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. You found it and how! Even in meno-pocalyptic hell you hit all the markers and wrote quite beautifully. I empathise with your empathy – a gift, a curse, a sponge sopping it all up and then needing to weep it all out. Maybe this is why you were born to write – tears on a page to show the world who you are and what you can do and that in the doing of it, you will be triumphant!

    Liked by 2 people


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