87. I Can’t Do This Alone

I’m relieved that I’ve managed to come screaming in with a blog just before the end of April, as it was getting a bit embarrassing. There’s not much point keeping a blog if I don’t, er, write in it, is there? A bit like having an empty journal by the side of your bed that you’re absolutely, definitely going to write in tomorrow. Or maybe the next day.

As per the excuses in Blog #86, it’s not that there hasn’t been anything to report, it’s more that there’s been so much happening that I haven’t had the time to think about writing here. And one of those things is that I have finally finished and published my second book. Well praise be for that, as it was taking up every waking moment and even my totally wonderful support team were probably getting a bit jaded. In the Acknowledgements I say that writing a book is never a solo journey, and I don’t think it can be. Artists of all kinds need muses and sounding boards, and in my own case that means friends who thought they were just friends, and family who were quite happily chuntering around being just family, may quite possibly have found themselves as characters in It Could Only Happen At Sea. Sorry peeps, occupational hazard apparently if there’s a writer in your midst.

I guess seasoned writers out there are having a ‘der, obviously?’ moment, in contrast to me. I’m having a massive light-bulb moment, which has got me thinking about the way we’re all interconnected, a theme found in Buddhism in general and Thich Nhat Hanh’s writing in particular. Because if I’m not completely me without them being in my life, then presumably it works the other way too and they aren’t 100% them without me being in their lives (even if they might like to be), so on some energetic level we are all connected however difficult we might find it sometimes. More of this in a moment. Clearly this isn’t spiritual rocket science, but the whole process of writing my book and getting myself into the heads of the characters has brought me to thinking about it on a deeply personal level. Because it’s not just friends that we’re part of, is it? We’re also part of the driver that cuts us up in traffic, or any other person who causes us to have an extremely uncharitable thought. Or somebody out in the wider world who is doing really bad things. Those people who quite possibly represent the shadow side of ourselves we’re ashamed of and don’t want to acknowledge. How does that work then? That troubled me a lot.

And in the way that the Universe provides what’s needed just when it’s needed, the daily newsletter from the wonderful Pam Grout popped into my inbox. She was writing about the Hawaiian forgiveness practice of Ho’oponopono, something I’d heard about vaguely and added to the ‘must look into this’ category, so this was clearly the moment to be looking into it. Rather than make a total fist of summarising it and probably writing a massively long blog as a result (which I’m trying not to do), I suggest you follow this link by Dr Joe Vitale and read about the inspiring Dr Ihaleakala. What I will say though, is that as a result of reading it and buying the book and the t-shirt, I’m trying very hard to practice taking responsibility for myself in the context of being connected to, and part of, everyone else. Oooh. Tough call. I love to have food for thought and this is a whacking great feast.

The funny thing is that now I’m at the end of the book, I see the real journey is only just beginning. Because in the process of writing it, rather than playfully introducing characters and trying to spin a good yarn, it turned out that I was unwittingly delving into some very dark and difficult ‘stuff’ from my own life. Writing about it was incredibly cathartic (where have I heard that before? – oh yeah, the blog!) and I came to see that in the spirit of Ho’oponopono I owe myself and the other person involved a big chunk of love and forgiveness, where previously all I found was sadness, blame, anger and a certain amount of embarrassment for getting into such a situation. It is an interesting journey to be sure and not at all what I expected when I set out to write contemporary fiction. I hope you enjoy reading it, should you feel so inclined.

Wishing you good health

Margaret xx


About Margaret Cahill

After diagnosis of Mantle Cell Lymphoma in 2013, I started this blog to stay in touch with friends, family, and and an ever increasing network of lovely people who sent me healing. The readership increased and I ended up blogging for all I was worth to try and stay sane through the chemotherapy and stem cell transplant. Then after I went into remission (thankfully) I was enjoying the writing so much that I have carried on, and the blog seems to have become a bit of a resource for people, which is lovely. The original year of blogs have now been made into a book, Under Cover of Darkness: How I Blogged my Way Through Mantle Cell Lymphoma. It fills in a lot of the gaps between the blogs, and the tone falls somewhere between graveyard humour and explicit details of chemo treatments. I do hope you enjoy it :-) Mxx
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