Dear Martha Beck
Last night, I dreamed that I had the opportunity to meet the author, Martha Beck.
There’d been some kind of competition, a contest or a foot race or something. At the end of the thing, I found myself in a remote African outpost where Martha Beck sat, inside of a round metal hut, behind a folding table stacked with boxes of index cards.
She was wearing glasses and writing in a journal. At another table, a woman sat, handling paperwork. I gave her my forms and went over to sit on a long bench. It was hot and I wanted to change from sneakers to street shoes (something that, in real life, I wouldn’t even do but Martha Beck was there, and I wanted to be in that room long enough to garner the courage to talk to her.)
I wanted to say something engaging and interesting, to strike up a conversation with a person I’ve admired for some time.
I wanted this, not to make me all special and important. I wanted it because I sense that she and I are cut from the same soul cloth. I wanted this because I long for deep, comfortable soul level conversation with anyone, with everyone for whom that soul-cloth resonance exists.
I sat on the bench watching the late afternoon sun streak across the floor, swirling with shimmering dust. In a way, it was magical. Beautiful. But I missed that – so focused on thinking of something to say to Martha.
Finally, after my shoes were changed and there was no more reason to hang around, I stood up and left, without saying a word.
As the dream faded, I was walking down a lonely African road and Martha was at her desk, working, unaware of the small and swirling tempest I’d carefully forced back into the teacup of my heart.
And then I woke up… but not quite.
I’ve discovered that there is a ‘room’ between dreaming and waking where I can extend a dream and, sometimes, shift things around. This morning, as I lingered in that room, another “I” entered, the one that’s made of white light. She began to speak.
You have read all of Martha Beck’s books. You know who she is.
This message glowed from her bright body and streamed toward me, pure white light, which I received through the center of my forehead. A waterfall of love and imagery, a dream language, that poured straight into my heart.
Maybe you don’t know her personally – and she certainly doesn’t know you, but you do know these things about Martha. You know that
- She, too, has been an outsider, has felt shy, left out and vulnerable. She, too, has struggled with feeling like the weirdo at the party.
- She, too, has been a writer, trying to break into a market, with something important to say, something that is burning inside of her, keeping her sitting at a desk, words spilling out of her, trying desperately to say it.
- She, too, has watched her children grow and change. She, too, has been brave about that, about letting them go. She, too, is mother.
- She has been all of these things that you have been – and she still is. That’s why you’ve loved every word that she’s ever written.
- You know her, and you know she’d understand.
That’s true. I thought, lingering, considering. And then, “I” flashed me this:
“Write to her. Write the words that, when you think about sending them, give you a stomach ache. And send them.
And I opened my eyes thinking, Crap.
Cue stomach ache.
Dear Martha Beck:
Expecting Adam changed the way that I see the world. I read it around the time that I was expecting my own children, Max and Katie. Your story demonstrated in vivid (often hilarious detail) what I’d long suspected: That there are extraordinary forces supporting us in the most earthly and ordinary ways, But that book touched me in a more personal way, too. It opened my heart to the joys and challenges of raising a child who is different.
As the daughter of two such children (my dad has cerebral palsy; my mom had a traumatic childhood and so, as a result, she’s special, too) I felt a great weight lift from my heart as I read of your love for Adam, of the joy he brought into your home. I can’t explain exactly why now. But I remember that weight lifting from me, and the gratitude I felt when it did.
Later, when Max and Katie were in middle school, Finding your North Star helped me sort through deep piles of memory and meaning, and to set myself on the path toward the career I have today – as an author and intuitive, working with the precious stories of light, love and life that my clients and readers share with me.
Though I know this path was always in me, I credit your book to handing me the compass that helped me navigate toward it. After all that I’ve read, Finding your North Star is still the best guide out there for discerning our mission and purpose and integrating that discovery into our lives.
As so often happens with the teachers – and authors – we admire, I feel a debt of gratitude to you, along with a lifetime connection. For that, I’m writing to say: Thanks… for everything
With love, Amy
Funny… now that I’ve written it, I don’t have that stomach ache any more.
Update: Two years later, I’m sending the letter.