Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I switched to another blog--please follow deep writing (in another incarnation) there

Dear loyal friends who may be reading this,

This "deep writing" blog has been replaced by another blog called "Coming Up Roses." I did this because I already write a monthly newsletter on deep writing (you are invited to receive it if you wish--just go to http://www.essentialwriting.com/, and click on the "Newsletter Archives and Sign-up" page. I needed a subject that was fresh to me, and infinitely interesting. And so "Coming Up Roses" is it.

It alludes to not only my last name, Rose, but also to the publishing house that has emerged out of the Writing from the Deeper Self process, Rose Press. And the "Press" part is what allows the deep-writing process to come into the picture. There are, when I start to look into it, so many fascinating parallels and concurrent threads between the process of distilling roses into perfume (an alchemical process) and the process of taking what is inside you, somewhere, and drawing it out into a book. So much happens inside the person doing the writing, and that is the alchemy. The "perfume" is what's left on the page for readers to discover and take inside themselves.

So thank you for having followed me here, thus far. Please join me instead on "Coming Up Roses." The URL for this is http://rosepresspublishing.blogspot.com/.

May the depths of being and expression bless your life.

~ Naomi Rose

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Writing as a Path to Wholeness

For a long time, I have approached writing—especially writing a book—as a path to healing and wholeness.
No less a health authority than Dr. Andrew Weil,  the medical doctor who has spearheaded the movement toward wellness and integrative medicine, cites research providing evidence that writing about emotionally meaningful topics is good for your health. Already-healthy people who made room for writing made fewer doctor visits, and some ill people improved their health considerably.
I have experienced this, myself—the profound inner cleansing that can come after a spate of writing, leaving me feeling like a clear blue sky after a rain, or the peace at the bottom of a lake, its stillness untouched by the ripples on the surface above. It’s possible that when we write—provided that we are writing about something that has life within us, and not just abstract concepts—the energies in our bodies have a place to spend themselves, rearrange themselves, release, and balance. This can be true whether you are writing about something that you experience as difficult (in which case, the act of writing heals through telling and catharsis), or writing about something that you experience as beautiful (in which case, the act of writing is inspiring).
Dr. Weil was talking about journaling. But if journaling can reduce pain and fatigue; help reduce high blood pressure; help terminal patients sleep better; and more—then just imagine the rewards to healthy living that writing a book might make possible.

Writing a Book as a Path to Wholeness: Giving the Soul a Voice
Even beyond body-healing, writing—especially writing a book—opens a door to soul-healing. Our deepest being … knowing … yearning … seeing … desires expression—ideally, in some way that reveals us to ourselves in the very moment of looking within. “I was a hidden treasure and wanted to be known,” as one mystical text puts it. Ordinary life, precious as it is, gives too few outlets for an extended exploration and expression of this treasure within us.
Writing a book from the deeper Self allows us to engage our deep nature in an extended relationship of discovery, intimacy, and, ultimately, praise of life. Despite the obstacles that can come up along the way (fear, doubt, disappointment, even despair), the engagement with yourself that writing a book can be is a profoundly wonderful, transformative, healing experience. Throughout the process of bringing what lies in your heart to life—the conception, gestation, labor, and, finally, birthing of the completed book—you are transformed by what is in you interacting with what has been revealed to you through your own writing process. In the end, you have a book—ta da!—a living record, between covers, of your wish fulfilled and able to be passed on to others who will read it.
Yet more than the “product” that this book is often seen as, the healing transformation of the writer is the real blessing of the process. At the end of writing a book, you are no longer quite who you were when you began, with an undeveloped awareness. You are deepened and refined by your experience of writing, and by who you have become along the way, which has since blossomed into the deepened human being who can truly claim authorship to the book.
In this and other ways, you can write yourself into wholeness. What a gift to yourself, and your readers-to-come! Why not “take the cure”?
Copyright © 2011 by Naomi Rose. All rights reserved.
Naomi Rose is the author of Starting Your Book: A Guide to Navigating the Blank Page by Attending to What’s Inside You (Rose Press, www.rosepress.com/Starting-your-book.html). The creator of “Writing from the Deeper Self” (www.essentialwriting.com), she is a book developer in private practice in Oakland, CA who works in person and long-distance with people seeking to write the book of their heart.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Lengthy Sentence Contest ~ What This Judge Is Learning from the Courageous Entrants

I have never initiated a contest before now. I have thought, actually, that I don't like contests, pitting entrants against one another, creating losers in the act of creating winners. Yet I turn out to be glad that I initiated a contest, because I am learning so much from the writers who entered it.

The premise of the contest was to write in lengthy sentences--not the short, to-the-point, Hemingwayesque bullets of prose that have come to stand in as the prose standard, but sentences long enough to breathe in, long enough to give evidence of the length of the writer's breath in writing.

There were 12 responses. Not a huge response, but heartfelt in each case. Twelve courageous people took my challenge to heart, and wrote about things close to theirs. I came into the "judging" (oh, what an unusual place to be: a judge who isn't internal and about to pounce) with the idea that I would simply give each entrant a prize (there are prizes), categorizing each entry with its own captioned domain. I liked the egalitarianism of the idea: everybody wins, nobody loses.

But in the actual act of reading the entries, I saw that I could not apply this top-down notion. I was grateful to each and every person who had taken the time to take my suggestion seriously, and had had the courage, perhaps hope, to send it in. Yet I could not simply label each entry and award a prize, for some clearly sang at length, and others could not find their way into that inner singing-place.

As a writer, I've certainly been in both places: the long song, and the knocking on the outside trying to get inside. Perhaps that could be one definition of "deep writing": finding your way into the long song hidden in the breath. So I feel sympathy for the entrants who did not find their way in. Even if I can't award a prize, I want to acknowledge how human it is to have something to say--something heartfelt, sincere, cared about--and not be able to get past the perimeter of the telling. Where you are still telling your own story, but not the reader's.

What is the alchemy that allows you to talk about the perceptions and experiences of the "I" that is the "I" of the writing ("I felt... I knew.... I went.... I saw....") and yet become the reader's own "I"?  That makes a reader grateful, rather than tolerant or bored, that you have made the effort to articulate what is in your "I"? There must be some depth that must be gone to--not necessarily a dark, abyss-like depth (though, sometimes), but a deeper-than-surface contact with what's inside and being written about; and that contact evoked, rather than kept close to the chest of idea-words and -thoughts, so that what lives in your "I" lives in the reader's "I" as well.

I certainly had not expected, in becoming a judge of the contest I devised, to learn so much from the people who sent writing in. I always thought of judges as busy, professional, fast-paced people, making decisions based on some set of arbitrary rules as to who was best, who worst. But you can't really tell what it's like until you're there, can you? I was quite moved by some of the entries--not only the content, but the breath inside, the breadth of feeling, the impressions in memory that rise up to mark and illustrate a longer-breathed moment in writing.

Lengthy sentences seem to work to bring me as reader into the writer's own "I" and make it my own, when the writer stops and quiets down long enough to walk through the writing slowly, rather than skim the surface or prove anything at all. When this happens, the length of their breath triggers a lengthier breath in me, and then I am reading their writing from that deeper, quieter, slower place. Gratitude pervades me: this place was where I was trying to get to, all along.

Deep writing is not always lengthy or slow; but when it is, and when you can feel it inside your own body, your own thoughts quieting down to receive what is there, then you and the writer are one in that moment. You and yourself are one. So writing can help you get to that place under the noise, that place under the separations; and as soon as you are there, whether as writer or as reader, you know where you are, and there is no place else to be.

Stay tuned for the results of the "Lengthy Sentence" contest--here, on my Writing from the Deeper Self newsletter, and on Creativity Portal. May long breaths sustain and bless you.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How Can It Be All About You If It's All About Me? (Or, the self as lens)

I recently was honored to receive an award for my book-development and editing work. I don't know how it happened, exactly. True, I was taking my own design of flower essences for writers, including "Shining Star" which amps up the inner wattage on self-worth and making a contribution. True, I had been praying to reach people of like mind and heart. Maybe it was that.

When I was told that I had won the Thumbtack.com Elite Service Award, and would be featured in their "Spotlight," after I got through my "is it real?" skepticism I became quite thankful, and gladly answered the few questions they asked about my work. The results were beautifully put together on a very attractive page, and every time I look at it (you know I do), I see my own image looking back at me (a really nice photo, I admit, by photographer Lucie LeBlanc) ~ my own words coming back to me ~ and all sorts of nice perks and encomiums in the vicinity of my face, words, and name.

This is great. This is lovely. I'm delighted. I'm happy. It's good to be "chosen" ~ and the word "elite" already does something for a sagging ego, not to mention the "only 1% of services merit this award." So there is a wonderful external sign of my inner work and workings, up on the Internet for all to see. I'm #1. Sometimes it's great to think of yourself that way.

At the same time: If your real work is to mine the limitless treasures of what it means to be a human being  (dark and light, hidden and revealed, universal and particular), as I believe is the case with great writers,  sensitive therapists, dedicated artists, and the like ~ then putting yourself in the spotlight may need to benefit more than only you. Putting yourself in the spotlight is good for you, if it means that you get to shine in ways you want to, and let people know how trustworthy, talented, loving, etc. you are.  But how is it good for others when you are the focus of attention?

It depends, I think, on whether you are saying, in effect, "Look at me, me, me!" or saying, "Look with me into me so you can see you." That's what mystics and artists do: make the warranted assumption that if they can relate to something from within and open it up in such a way that it's there for everyone to relate to, they are giving others something precious by focusing on themselves. It's perhaps the difference between whether the "I" is opaque, not allowing any light to return out (only taking it in) or transparent (bringing back from one's inner travels something universal that can only be found within individual experience).

Lots more I could write on this, and probably will. For now, two things:

 1. Notice how I took the subject of my own "Spotlight" and turned it into something that might also be applicable to you. And,

2. Check out my Elite Thumbtack Award. The interview is interesting, and the photo, I must say, is great. I'm a little older than that now, but the spirit is still there. Thumbtack Elite award, Spotlight on Naomi Rose

"Once a soul has begun to read, every leaf of the tree becomes as a page of the sacred book of life." ~ Sa'di. 

Naomi Rose, Book Developer, creator of "Writing from the Deeper Self"

Publisher, Rose Press  
Books & Other Fragrant Offerings to Bring You Home to Yourself
(including Flower Essence Remedies for Writers & Readers)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Guest Blogger: Ann Luria

Intimate Details Evoked through Writing

In the spirit of writing intimate details, as I wrote about in my January-February Writing from the Deeper Self Newsletter (to be posted here later on), I am delighted to present my first guest-blogger, Ann Luria. Her beautiful poem illustrates how evocative writing can capture an idea, a feeling, an atmosphere better than abstract, explanatory writing.

Ann chose to chronicle her experience of cancer, some time back, in a haiku-like poem. The combination of the insight characteristic of her profession as a therapist with the telling details that bring a reader close in makes for a touching, illuminating, and compelling work that—though it is motivated by the desire to explore what underlies the cancer, as well as what to do about it—is not limited to that, or even just to her. Many people could relate to the feelings and images here.

I am moved by how this beautiful haiku goes deeply into the subject, how concretely it shows the workings of transformation. I love what the writer notices, and how she says it. I love “no way to be perfect now” in itself, and also juxtaposed with her cat Reuben wishing to be human.

Deep writing is not about being perfect. It’s about being so true that something universal is reached. I think that happens, here.

Haiku like
Raindrops fall on ground
Planning another surgery
I am thoughtful
Spidery green leaves
Burst Open
Like ducts of cancer
Waiting to be born
An onion grows old in the cabinet
Donning a rotten brown edge

Biting into a crisp
Blood red-apple
With a surprise-
A decayed part-

Peeling a firm yellow banana
Where did its tan crown come from?

Awaiting signs from the universe
A small re-excision
Or total breast reconstruction
My answer comes in nature’s forms.
Addictions melt away
Shedding their old skins
The gift of disease
There is no way to be perfect now!

Worry melts away
In nature’s heat
Doesn't matter what conclusion is reached-
The moon still bathes the nighttime sky
Beckoning the world
To a new darkness

Drinking glacier water
Standing on melted ice
How lucky I am.

Cat bathes in the moonlight
Chin turned up to the stars
Light pours in through closed mini blinds
How lucky we are.

Cold air frosts the plants
Writing pros and cons of surgery and which type-
Anxiety generates heat –
Will I ever make a decision?

Angular cells
with jagged edges
Multiple nuclei -
Unlike their circular cousins-
My doctor draws each -
Explaining why surgery is the only option
Thank G-d for him –
Like a pearl in an oyster
A small column of ductal cancer 
In situ -
Is unexpectedly found.

Shadows come alive
Stretching out tall like giants
Others root sideways
Widening and get smaller
Some ant forward
Flickering on and off
Like well lit candles
In the sun’s rays-
Breaking free of human forms.

Paw prints in the sink…
Reuben is caught again –
Drinking water from dripping facets
Nourishing himself -
Wishing to be human.

 Copyright © Ann Luria 2010. All rights reserved.

Ann Lurie is a therapist in private practice, so that the transformative healing journey is part and parcel of her work and being.  

Ursula LeGuin on How Your Book (or Story) Can Become What It Really Wants to Be

I've tended to avoid reading books on the writing craft, in recent years. Too much emphasis on technique, too little on attending to your inner experience and finding ways to articulate that.

However, I came upon a book by the astonishingly prolific writer Ursula K. LeGuin that I read from cover to cover. It has an interesting, metaphoric title: Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing fro the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew (Eighth Mountain Press, 1998).

And though LeGuin has deep and meaningful things to say, she manages to keep it light. In addition to her praise of long sentences (I loved that, because that's my heart's natural way), she offers a perspective on ego-free writing that, differently, meshes with what I have come to know: that something in us wants to be written through us, and in that process we are transformed.

She says it differently, and valuably. Here it is:

"Some people see art as a matter of control. I see it mostly as a matter of self-control. It’s like this: in me there’s a story that wants to be told. It is my end; I am its means. If I can keep myself, my ego, my opinions, my mental junk, out of the way, and find the focus of the story, and follow the movement of the story, the story tells itself.
"Everything I’ve talked about in this book has to do with being ready to let a story tell itself: having the skills, knowing the craft, so that when the magic boat comes by, you can step into it and guide it where it wants to go, where it ought to go."
I've experienced this, myself. So have the wonderful writers who become my clients. You start with one book, and it turns into what it really wants to be ~ and wants you to become, in the process.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


When you get to a point in the telling of your story where you think, "That part is boring and unnecessary. I’m going to skip over that," and there is an unfulfilled, disconnected feeling inside you, that usually means that you are so judging yourself for the unwritten part--the part you lived, or now perceive--that you would just as soon turn away from it. But the remedy is not in diminishing its importance; it is compassion, invariably it is compassion for yourself. Somewhere in the original experience and your subsequent interpretation of it, you judged yourself, you rejected yourself; in shame, you don't want anyone else to see, not even you.

And that is the paradox of this way of writing. For the story that you have cast out seeks to be taken back in, embraced by your compassionate seeing and heart. To hold yourself within to the unloved experience with as soft and kind a heart as you can. That is what allows the details that are blanked out to come into focus, the words to stream up out of your heart. And as you cradle yourself, the energies locked inside that judged experience come out in the writing and infuse your being. Now you have the missing piece of writing and a missing piece of your being back.

To help the process of self-compassion come about, why not use the Rose Press Flower Essence Remedy for Writers, "Self-Compassion: Rewriting the Past." Sometimes what we write brings up old, unforgiven places in our pasts. Writing a book offers a wonderful opportunity to go back into the same events, feeling tones, or patterns in service of the story ~ but now with the compassion you are capable of in present time. "A writer gets to live twice," it's been said: "once when you have the experience, and again when you write about it. Self-Compassion: Rewriting the Past Flower Essence Remedy allows you to live deeply and fully by mining your past for its hidden gems and bringing them into the present, thus benefiting your actual life as much as it does your writing.

$15 for a 1/2-oz. dropper bottle, available from Rose Press: www.rosepress.com/other.html; by emailing naomirose@rosepress.com; or by calling 510/653-ROSE (510/653-7673).  
For a healing experience of writing ~ and living.