For years I went to bed crying because I couldn’t write my book.

Not couldn’t, per se, more like wouldn’t. Or is it fair to say “wouldn’t” if it wasn’t time?

These last six months I have been staring straight into the face of fate (<— possible title?) and destiny, walking around in the curious conundrum of how the most amazing things can happen when given to the Divine timing. Everything in my life I have ever known has been brought to question. I feel floated in the paradox of action and receiving, all the while being restructured from the inside out.

Which is exactly where the Universe needs me.

For 25 years I drowned in the disease of skin picking addiction. Although it started slowly at a very young age, as with all other addictions, it progressed over time. And even more deceptive, there were weeks, months, and years that it would fade into the background as other addictions would swoop in and take control. I lived with the low-grade fever of its manifestation, and what I thought was my own moral failing and inability to quit.

Which was true—sort of.

Even when I found a 12-step program for obsessive skin picking, I started and stopped my participation for 11 years. There was always one thing or another in a long line of reasoning and justification why seeking recovery for it was too much or wouldn’t work. Meanwhile, I completed the 12 Steps in three other programs, gathering tools and, as they say, experience, strength, and hope.

And in that twelfth year (26 total), I was released. My assignment to be of maximum service to others in this area came due.

As if almost on its own a group of four of us all suffering from skin picking and floundering in our recovery connected. We brought differences in many more ways than one. Coming together (over the phone and across time zones) logistically seemed impossible. And yet once we committed and put it above all else, things rose up to support us. For one solid year we met regularly, and a promise of hope came true.

The result? Abstinence from the addictive behaviors, new literature, meetings, and workshops for the skin picking fellowship, and a program of recovery we could pass along to others. In short, more than any of us could have possibly imagined.

Which leads me back to this journey with my book.

I have felt similar with writing my first memoir as to how I felt over my ability to stop my skin picking—powerless. I couldn’t for the life of me complete it. All the writing tips, tricks, and modalities failed entirely. I would start with the best intentions, gain some momentum, and then stop with the worst result: feeling guilty, ashamed, and sad. This went on for 8 long years.

Six months ago, with the same “Okay God, one last time” attitude I had with skin picking (although I didn’t realize the similarity until now), I sat down to write, people showed up to help, and I was freed.

Cue Divine timing, and my latest spiritual assignment.

After three months of recovery around my resistance to writing, I felt the nudge to pitch a class. I examined all the tools I had gathered over the years. I saw that just like my journey to skin picking abstinence was kept alive by staying close to recovery in other 12-step programs, my book was kept alive by staying close to the subject of writing during periods when I wasn’t penning a single word.

In essence, even amid all the despair and turmoil, by taking peripheral actions, I never left.

Meanwhile, as I’ve mentioned before (see previous posts The Connundrum of No Contact, and Security in the Self), I’ve been walking through an awareness of how most of my life I have operated from the wilds of either INside (depending on myself) or OUTside (depending on you). I had deep experience between them both, but thought they were at odds and “never the two shall meet.”

Well . . .

The application was accepted, and in a little over two weeks I will be teaching my first memoir course online for a well-known creative writing center. I will be employing all that I have learned over the last eight years to help other writers who are stuck stay in the realm of writing by using—wait for it—resources both INside and OUTside of self.

As they say, “You just can’t make this stuff (PG version) up.”

Indeed.

It’s really quite humbling to be trusted with spiritual service. It’s also maddening and heartbreaking and everything in between. Why some things have taken (and can still take) so very long for me, I’m not sure I’ll ever know. But I can find comfort in long, dark stretches with the thought that something bigger is at work and is guiding me.

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”
—Martin Buber