First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 3 – Cave of Truth

Once a year, for a period of one month we would leave our house and travel to the coast. We would stay for that month in a cottage which had once belonged to a fisherman.

It was a place where the only thing which separated the cottage from the beach was a strip of concrete. A place such that shoes and socks were discarded at the start of the month, to be retrieved again at the month’s end.

A place where sand and sea and rocks and seaweed and pools and green fields were enough to fill a child’s imagination. A place too where lobsters were taken straight from the sea and put into the pan.

And in that place, off to the left as one looked out from the cottage, the cliffs reached right down into the sea. Invisible at high tide was a cave whose entrance and dark recesses were accessible when the tide was low.

Many days I stood outside that cave – looking into the darkness but unable to venture in – held back by some unidentifiable fear. Yet some deep part of me knew that sooner or later I must cross that threshold and venture inside; take a torch and risk the uneven floor, look into the dark corners, the hidden recesses, the nooks and the crannies which existed therein.

Oh, I could exist, I could live my life, I could be, without taking that risk, but I knew there would be something lacking, something missing from my life if I did not take it.

Eventually I began to explore, first of all in those areas which were reached by daylight, then in those areas accessible using the light of a match and, at last, carrying a torch from the cottage, I was able to reach the innermost parts. And although there were shapes which frightened, strange structures and creatures in rocky pools, the only monsters in the cave were those created in my own mind.

I carry that cave with me to this day. It exists within myself. A cave of truth into which I must venture from time to time in order to expose my monsters to the light.

I have found it necessary too that I escort trusted friends into the cave with me. Only then can I be sure that I have not ignored a hidden place which I need to see. And as they explore my cave of truth with me, I invariably find that I am also exploring their cave of truth with them.


 For those of you who prefer the spoken word   –


24 Responses to “First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 3 – Cave of Truth”

  1. Vera Hazelgrove Says:

    Ohh! This is my most favorite part of your book!!

    I love it, because of all the reading I have done, this is the most clearest, simplest and encouraging guide on how to tackle something actually quite complicated! At the same time creating a picture which is easily remembered and carried through life!

    I enjoy it every time I read it!
    and I admire your endeavors to help others on their journey!

    I wish you a good week!

    Vera & Karley

    • belfastdavid Says:

      A long time ago Vera an old man said to me “Inside you David there is a cave of truth. All your life you have walked past the mouth and thought – bloody hell it’s dark in there. Sooner or later you are going to have to take your courage in both hands and venture in.” The image created by his words has stayed with me ever since.

      Thank you.

      My best to both you and Karley – have a good week


  2. christine Says:

    The serialising of this book is bringing it to life for me.

    This section about the cave of truth is, for me, animating the 12 steps, more specifically steps 4 through to 10.

    When I was at the very beginning of my journey of recovery, I was given a recovery chip with the words “To thine own self be true” (you actually gave it to me). Over the years I have come to learn what that means for me. However, knowing what it means and acting on it are two different things. Today, however, the cave of truth is more a place of refuge than the frightening place it used to be, which indicates to me that I am making progress *smile*. And as you say, David, sometimes I need to take somene with me in order to get clarification.
    There aretill occasions when am inclined to walk past the entrance, but the discomfort which results is enough for me to retrace my steps.

    This is such an accessible image, very vivid and memorable. Thank you.

    Lots of love



    • belfastdavid Says:

      What a wonderful description of the progress of recovery Christine – If it is now more uncomfortable to walk past the entrance than to venture in you are clearly in a much different place than you were in the past!!

      Sometimes we need to see these signe of progress to re-assure ourselves that we are moving forward.

      You take care

      Lots of love

  3. Oh David this is so true and I know it so well we have no option but to enter the cave for it is on the other side of the fear that freedom lies…amazing piece

    • belfastdavid Says:

      I knew Katherine that you would know this place – havin been there yourself.

      As you say we do have to go there if we want to get well!!

      I have a friend who’s favourite quotation is “Courage is fear which has said its prayers”

  4. I love written and spoken. You’re a wonderful storyteller – with both methods. So I read and I listen. This is a charming and engaging piece, David. What a marvelous time I’m having!

    Why am I not in the list of MySpace poets which is on the right-hand side of what is, I believe, this blog’s home page?

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Leeza – you do encourage me greatly. This time you made me smile as well 🙂

      The list you refer to is a link to MySpace poets who are now posting on WordPress. I would have put up a link to your WordPress site but I understand you are not posting there any longer (I will go check in a minute). So far I have not put up links to MySpace blogs although I might well do that in the future.

  5. Alot of deep inner journeying going on here. Again, a joy to read & digest.

  6. The journey is getting somewhere dark and dangerous!

    You better not go into those caves alone, take a friend (=sense of humor) and a torch (= your intelligence) with you. You might get lost without 😉

    • belfastdavid Says:

      🙂 Thank you Ina,

      My sense of humour (the ability to refuse to take myself too seriously) has indeed been a good friend to me. But the torch is Hope (Faith if you like) – My intelligence I found could be a hindrance 🙂


  7. Hi David,

    I have immesley enjoyed going through part 3 again. I deeply relate to the the turth underneath the metaphor and I just love the story.

    You have created such a magical place that vividly sits in my mind as you take us through the cave. On the one hand I can’t imagine a summer with no shoes, burnt feet! *lol* but I love the sensation of being barefoot and I can recollect from my own travels that smell of brine and fresh seafood, though mud crabs and in my case. 🙂

    Little things like this make me smile along the way as my own good memories sit alongside the memory you relate as you carry us along not to a scary place but a place of truth. A place of growth which we are better people for having explored.

    I’ve explored that cave within a few times on my journey thus far. ‘The Cave of Truth’ evokes for me a sense of reasurance and comfort hearing you read and reading through the text.

    From the perpective of mental health, the greatest fear to explore is that you are as nutters as you feel you may be. Coming to place where you see you’re about as dysfunctional as most people was a great “monster” for me to meet.
    I know my monsters aren’t so scary and I know the next time high tide floods the entrance the next exploration can only further expand my awarness of myself and others. It is ultimately a good thing. 🙂

    Thankyou so much for sharing, and for making the videos. I am throughly enjoying being able to sit with you as it were and listen the knowledge and experinace you have to share. 🙂

    All my best wishes to you for lovely end to your week.

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Hi Tikarma,

      Thank you for this comment which tells me re-assuringly that the book works – its whole intention being to allow the reader to wander off into their own memories and into their own cave of truth.

      I felt too your pain as you confronted your greatest fear – the wonderful thing is that once we have confronted that we need never give back to it the power it once had!! – Such a relief, such a release!! 🙂

      It is perhaps interesting too that one of my younger brothers informs me that the particular cave which formed the basis of this memory for me (he was there too) no longer exists – a victim to time, tide and coastal erosion. And the particular place has also changed – I visited it on the internet – full of tourists and populated by wazzocks with jet-skis!!! I will not visit it for real I don’t think – but I do not need to do that for it lives on for ever in my memory. But it does remind me that things change, move on and I have to be prepared to change too. 🙂

      I will continue with the videos, although I may change the format somewhat in the future.

      And just to let you know that my muse has come back to life – sparked by your latest posting!! Thank you.


      • Hi David,

        *LOL* I do like the term wazzcoks! I have no love for jet skiers. They are a menace on our beaches.

        I’m humbled that my last blog help spark the muse for you. 🙂 I hope you’ve enjoyed writing again and I look forward to seeing the results. 🙂

        I have learned that the only constant in life is change. To resist it only brings pain. That’s where I think our memories are vital they help soften the blow of time passing. 🙂

        I look forward to seeing what you will come up with with your videos. I’m thinking myself…I may actually have video of my own on You tube soon. :-O Exciting times. 🙂

        I hope your week is drawing to a peaceful and pleasant close.


      • belfastdavid Says:

        Hi Tikarma,

        I am delighted to have supplied you with a new word 🙂

        My muse is enjoying creating again – she is taking her time and the poem is evolving nicely – it has reached the stage of moving from my notebook to my computer 🙂

        As regards videos I have already pre-recorded the next three excerpts, but after that I intend to experiment. Do let me know when you apear on You Tube – I really look forward to seeing you there.

        My weekend drew to a very pleasant close in that I spent all day yesterday in my pyjamas!!! Just occasionally I need to do that 🙂

        I am on my way to read your new blog


  8. We went camping by the ocean one summer…it was on of the best times of my childhood…somehow, it seems that the sea really does hold a lot of the truths of universe…

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Michael,

      The sea, ever from those childhood days, continues to be a source of awe and inspiration for me

  9. I know there are still some recesses in my cave of truth that I have yet to explore. I will, in time. I find that the more I write, the more I learn about myself. Now when I write, I will consider it entering the cave.

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Exploring the recesses Susan is a process which continues throuhout our lives I think. It doesn’t have to be rushed but nor can it be put off forever.

      Writing, particularly poetry, does that for me too. I think it is a lovely thought to regard it as entering the cave – I will carry that thought forward too.

  10. i like the metaphor … and caught onto it before your explanation. in fact, had sort of a broader-view. lovely descriptive-work … and far as the metaphor or analogy — trying to think: i pictured action and events, as well as communication factors. as in, needing to EXPLORE those things in life which we are told NOT to do — yet the truth of that is one cannot know for certain how ‘correct’ those ‘forbiddings’ are unless you go ahead and ‘explore the cave.’ something like that. but of course, we bring our own interpretations to metaphorical content.

    PS: i SO know the feeling of “ocean days” and spent my own childhood summers covered in sand! beautiful reminders of that

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Eileen,

      It is so true – we do need to explore for ourselves – we do not often appear to learn from other people’s mistakes – only our own!!

      And I am delighted to have brought back for you those memorie of “childhood summers covered in sand” – just the words themselves cause me to smile 🙂

  11. David,

    This is lovely. I feel like it has taken me a long time to appreciate the real meaning behind your words in this book. I just didn’t have the life experiences that would enable me to relate, or maybe it was the insight to connect my own experiences, to your words. Now, the ingeniously complex, yet easily accessed, metaphors touch me deeply.

    I find myself looking at the images my mind draws from your words. I see my life as that innocent place on a high cliff, sound of sea, and blue skies overhead. Carefree. But, there are cliffs on all sides, and the danger of one step, without thinking, in the wrong direction. Falling. And, somewhere on the way down, just before we hit bottom, each of us has a cave. It looks ominous, but it can be what saves us from shattering on the final drop.

    Maybe this isn’t exactly what you meant, but it is how I can relate to your words, now, through my own experience. No, I have never been one to drink. Nor have I ever been addicted to anything, save coffee. 🙂 But, the real value of your words is that they are flexible. They can wrap themselves around any situation, and allow readers to see more clearly whatever it is that is needed to save themselves from whatever destructive force they have allowed to overcome them. (Oh, goodness. Stop the them’s and they’s, Shirley!)

    Anyway, I thought it was time I told you that I really love this book.

    I will have to wait on the rest of my catch-up here on your blog. I’m very tired, and my brain is yawning. I would rather wait and leave better comments than to risk skimming one of my favorite writers.

    You take care of yourself, Irsih,

    • belfastdavid Says:


      I am deeply touched by this comment and I do appreciate it. It tells me that the effort I am putting in to presenting the book in this fashion is worth while. I have favourite books which I often go back too because in a different time and place they very often say something new and different to me.
      I remember telling my mother, not long after I got sober about a wonderful book I was reading. She said “I bought and gave you that book three years ago!!” DUH!! – I wasn’t ready to read it at that time 🙂

      Your particular interpretation works for me – the whole purpose of the book was to allow readers to visit their own memories and find their own revelations as to how their life as been allected (too many “Theirs” do you think? 🙂 )

      Thank you for making time in what I know is a very busy period in your life to not only read but also to tell me your experience of the book – this kind of feedback is so much appreciated.

      You take care of yourself too – Some of Tikarma’s deep breaths probably wouldn’t go amiss 🙂


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