Rewriting the Dreamtime - Memoirist Kelley Harrell Revisits Her Work
I’ve spent the first quarter of this year prepping my first book, Gift of the Dreamtime – Awakening to the Divinity of Trauma for its second edition, due out early summer. Dreamtime is a memoir, focusing on my twenties, during which I sought out spiritual healing for PTSD and depression stemming from childhood incest. Writing the book the first time was hard enough. Going back through it has been challenging on levels I never imagined.
First off—I can’t edit my diary. Life happened the way it did, and it’s been before an audience for 7 years. No matter how I’d write it differently now, I can’t radically change it or give it a more fantastic ending. It is what it is, and in some ways that’s an even harder pill to swallow now than it was when I was first started writing it 11 years ago. I can’t express how often I’ve slapped my hands not to change phrases from the way I would say them now, or to alter concepts to better fit my present state. In several places I cringed at the thought of allowing myself to be so vulnerable in words, so bared to the world. Yet changing any of those things would be writing a different story with a different voice. I would be chronicling a different me.
I am different, now. Through editing, wandering back through that era emotionally was very hard. Writing Dreamtime was the first time I put to words many aspects of my childhood and how they shaped me as a young adult—the good, bad and the ugly. Cathartic though it was to write, knowing it would be published and read by others was frightening. That it was unique insight into the realm of spiritual healing, overcoming PTSD, and glimpsing the modern shamanic narrative drove me to complete it.
I hadn’t read the book in full in many years, and doing so brought to light shadows I didn’t expect. Frankly, that’s saying something considering that half of my life has been filled with shadows I was well aware of. In the book I unveil in-depth my very unorthodox healing process, which was life-altering and much needed. As I re-read it, I felt renewed and capable of soothing jagged edges in my life now. In the distance gained since the book’s publication, I realized how much I’ve grown.
Quirky as the editing process has been, the light changes left it an even stronger resource for those recovering from trauma and seeking spiritual healing. In reconnecting with Gift of the Dreamtime as it was and now becomes, I am impeccably, sincerely grateful for my life, for every experience that has awakened me to who I am.
The author of this guest blog, Kelley Harrell, is a neoshaman and author in North Carolina. Her shamanic practice is Soul Intent Arts, and her open dialogue with souls is recorded in the regular column, Intentional Insights: Q&A From Within.