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Writing and Healing Idea #34: The Next Step

Posted on Apr 24, 2007 by

This idea is a continuation of Writing and Healing Idea #33: Imagining Refuge. It picks up at a moment after the old woman in the cottage has invited you to tell her your story. It picks up after you have talked and talked—and she has listened.

She is, as it turns out, a good listener. And, it turns out that nothing in your story seems to rattle her. She’s interested—and concerned—but not rattled. She’s seen a lot. She’s no stranger to reversal. There is also a kindness in her. Her face is very very kind as she asks you: Did you think it was going to be like a rose garden? That it would be easy? That it would be possible to move forward on a matter of such significance without any danger? Have you not read the books? Seen the movies? The Lord of the Rings? The Harry Potter series? When you were young, she asks, were you not told the fairy tales? She smiles. It’s a rueful smile. It’s all right, she says. She knows it can be terribly terribly difficult at times. But she also tells you that she doesn’t want for you to remain too long in a place of such difficulty. She sits with you and begins to talk about a plan.

The first step and then the next and the next. She tells you that one step in the right direction can often be enough—and then one devises the next one, and the one after. She reminds you that, as with the story of the handless maiden, the baby is not ugly, that the baby was never ugly. She explains about the messenger falling asleep and about the twisted messages getting through. Then, after enough time has passed—when it is just the right time—when you are rested—and well-fed—and perhaps a bit clearer—she rises from the table and begins to pack you a satchel.

What do you imagine that she might pack for you?
What would you like her to pack for you?
Where does she think might be a good place for you to go next?
(Does she, for instance, think it best to stay with her a bit longer? Or does she suggest some other companion? Or a group of companions? Or does she suggest that it may be time now to go on for a while alone?)

What does she think might be a next step?
What do you think?