Listening – a reflection by Alison Rose

And months later, on the back of a scrumpled receipt, you uncover a bleeding scribble and think: ‘wow, who wrote that?’ Cut and paste to a search engine in pursuit of mystery scribble. Press a button marked ‘Images’. Scroll trite words balanced on backgrounds of spikey mountains. Become slack-jawed by intoxicating ideas of ‘no pain no gain’ ‘the undoable is doable’, ‘you can change your life if you could just…change your thoughts’. But the bleeding scribble is elusive. 

‘Well, I couldn’t have written it’ you say to the screen. ‘It’s far too good for me! Did someone say it on the telly? Was it on a T-Shirt? A mug? The cover of a journal? Did the man who came to fix the boiler say it? Did my cat telepathically beam it to me?”

I pin the runty receipt to my cork board; the origins of this scribble haunt me. If I wrote this, I’m a better writer than I think…

My fragile human ego is governed by self-doubt. If you want to be a writer, then write. Deep sigh. Should I sit and write something? My mind kicks and screams, procrastination at full throttle.  What’s the point of writing? Who do I think I am? Nobody will read it anyway

And then comes a split second of clarity, just a hint of a whisper, like a feathery dusting of hope, a shallow tremor of a smile. What was that? Speak up!

I’ve no time to write today. I have books to read, films to watch, a wall to paint, a garden to plant. Perhaps I’ll write when I’ve finished composing my lists of what to buy, to cook, to waste… I could save time if I compose said lists wallowing in fragrant bubbles.  And I must wipe the kitchen worktops, put away the laundry, windup the grandfather clock. If a tidy house is a tidy mind, it will help me to focus. Unless tidiness hoards my creativity like a squirrel storing nuts for winter – kept away, out of sight, never sharing. Best leave the coffee stains and socks then. Perhaps just windup the clock. 

It’s 10am. The cat sleeps. Despite myself I type a chapter heading. Tippity-tap-tap. Maybe another few lines. Miaow. Lunchtime. Cat’s awake, telepathically beaming again: ‘tuna please’. 

There’s that pesky feathery whisper again.

2,000 words! Where did they come from? I like that bit of alliteration. I sit. Still and curious. Hazy, lazy, drowning in the day, my purpose in this seat is reluctant, unclear.  I Google: ‘why do cats stare you out’? Ah. ‘How often does a cow fart’? Oh!

Again, that feathery whisper, the unseen gentle voice.

And then.

A pink bloom unfolds like lover’s lips flounced over a custard-cream pie. My breath slows and deepens. I hold it and hear inspiration weaving her whispers through my parched mind like lemon-specked sorbet quenching a scorched chin. The feather settles, the whisper is clear, her presence an undeniable sunset, her gaze tethering, her willpower burning magnificence, a power greater than my own. 

And then I recall. The scrumpled bleeding rhyme and unfamiliar reason. A few months back stranded on an angry bus stalled outside The Ritz I scribbled whispered words of wisdom on the back of a receipt. The words were lost in the chaos of the day. I could barely hear her then but now, this time, I’m listening.

Alison Rose: Twenty years ago, having struggled to engage with traditional psychotherapy, Alison Rose began a spiritual journey towards recovery from childhood trauma. Now advocating a ‘road less travelled’ approach to healing, her first online course and accompanying book will be published later this year. 

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