When I wrote Enlightened-ish, I knew I was taping into something unusual… looking at spiritual awakening through the lens of a raw, complicated and emotional grief process was just plain weird. I mean, who writes from a place of vulnerability? Who writes and publishes words that are part of a process? Who dares put in print what will potentially fade with age and healing?
Responses to Enlightened-ish vary, but almost all of my readers so far use words like, “floored” or “brave.” I don’t feel very brave and I didn’t write it to shock anyone… I wrote it because it wasn’t written and I wished that someone would have spoken to me as freely as I spoke to myself, honestly. Grief was intense and separating from suicidal ideation, toxic spirituality, unhealthy relationships and aligning myself with psychic intuitions and energy healing all within a period of a few months was… well, it was weird!
What remains though is that the book is involved in saving lives, namely my own.
And now, as I have considered what to write about next, I look at the pain in my body (Managing chronic pain since May 2013,) I realize the same thing that happened with my father’s death and the face-to-face experiences with death – the book I want to read hasn’t been written.
No one talks openly about pain in a way that feels real. There are affirmations designed to make it go away, medications pushed in order to silence it and plenty of belief systems orchestrated to diminish or mystify its value.
I am embarking on a vulnerability series that will start as a blog, but as you can expect… will end in another book.
Because like grief… pain matters.
And it matters now…
Not 3 years or 2 months from now, when I am finally out of pain.
It matters now, while I type uncomfortably from my couch, between treatments… now, while I am on medical leave… now, while I can barely walk in the mornings and now, while I learn to celebrate pain’s meaning without demeaning my spirituality, relationships and dignity.
It is my highest goal to write what has not been written… and while I expect to do mighty things for my online friends and loved ones once the royalties catch up to the investment of self-publishing, do not be mistaken.
I write these weird things for myself.
It does not make me selfish and it does not make me a narcissist.
It makes me a writer and a person who becomes the change she wants to see in the world.
I want to see more transparency.
I want to see people share their stories.
I want to see people own their shit, establish their dreams and become a part of the whole that is our human condition.
I do these things because pain matters… because we matter… because I matter.
Namaste, my friends. Please share the links to the book and stay tuned… because if you think Enlightened-ish was raw, just wait and see what will come out of physical pain…
Gail is an author, poet, blogger and activist whose first book, “Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams” was published in 2004. She has appeared in FOX DC News, SkyNews and Our America with Lisa Ling as an advocate for ex-gay survivors and young people. “For Gail So Loved the World” is her blog, where she discusses spirituality, politics and social and emotional intelligence from a global perspective. Her spoken word pieces and drumming meditations are available on YouTube and she schedules private speaking engagements where these performances are shared. Her new book, Enlightened-ish became available April 25, 2013 and chronicles her spiritual awakening experience after witnessing a suicide, grieving her father’s unexpected death and leaving a spiritual community. Gail is the only lesbian known to hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Currently, Gail resides in the Washington, DC Area and serves her local community as the Executive Director of a nature-based early learning center.