Can I be honest with you?
I made something new and it's my favorite thing I created all year. But it started with mostly pain and frustration.
When I started working on this project, I was not OK. I was in a hopeless place. I don't know why it's so hard to admit that. I knew it was temporary but it was heavy and I didn't feel like I could carry it. After months of change and self-confrontation, I was overcome with the need to pour out, to empty myself, without restraint. I'm not good at asking for help when I'm struggling. Writing is my refuge when I have a lot on my mind and I don't want to talk to anyone. So, I filled a composition book with pieces of my soul over a period of a couple months.
The problem was that I'd been so occupied with writing for work, that I'd forgotten the importance of writing to heal.
Healing can be a daunting process and it's especially difficult when you don't accept what it requires. When you think you're too much and you are wondering why you have to be this way. When you sense that there is more going on inside of you than you have the time or energy to deal with. Life keeps moving on and you feel like you can't enjoy today or decide about tomorrow because you're still contemplating yesterday.
Overwhelmed with all those things, I turned to writing like I always do, but I discovered that I was attempting to pour out pretty poems and passages that I could share to inspire others. Even in these private, written conversations with my soul, I was trying to write for an audience. Out of habit, I guess. Maybe I even thought that praise and validation from others would make me feel better. But this was supposed to be about me -- my questions, my secrets, my lessons, my language. I was going about this the wrong way.
The same way we hide parts of ourselves that we think other people won't like, we also hide from ourselves. I was afraid to lay down words for the dark feelings. Afraid to see my pain and my desires and what might manifest. I was drowning out my truth with my own noise. I had to stop writing for this ideal woman out there and start writing for, to and about my own yearning soul, right here.
That composition book I mentioned became the birthplace of my newest writing course, Words That Heal. I learned how to write for myself again in that book. I prayed into it. I confessed into it. I screamed into it. I cried, rejoiced, pursued. I started right where I was and I had a long, intimate conversation with my soul. And slowly but surely, the hope that I'd lost sight of, resurfaced.
Whether you participate in Words That Heal or not, I want to share these five ideas from the course that will enhance your writing and self-discovery practice this winter and beyond.
1. Create a sensual, safe space or writing. This winter, challenge yourself to write everyday, in the same place, with a set up that stimulates your five senses. Sight // Do you want to be facing a window or a favorite wall, maybe an inspiration board while you write? Smell // A favorite candle or incense? The smell of brewing coffee? Hearing // I prefer perfect silence or soft music with no words when I am doing deep soul writing. Maybe you like to hear the hustle and bustle of a coffee shop or some sort of white noise. Touch // Do you prefer the way your favorite pen feels on a fresh new page or the flow of your fingers on the keyboard? What chair do you like to sit in? I like to wrap a blanket or a scarf around my neck and bury my face in it to think as I write. Taste // Will you drink a cup of tea while you write? Or will it be wine for you or something else? Will you be munching on something? Think about how you want to feel as you are writing and let this guide the creation of your environment. Be practical so you can consistently create this environment for your healing work everyday.
Words That Heal will go step by step through the process of developing your own guiding principles for writing. You will learn how to create a unique writing process that is specifically catered to you and a core part of your self-care practice.
2. What's happening right now? Someone who's reading this is thinking about writer's block right now. They're thinking about how good it feels to buy nice journals and plan to write, but how hard it is to actually get the words out. But what's on your mind right now? Is it completely blank or is there a constant stream of thought flowing through? Transcribe those raw thoughts and don't edit them. By doing this, you are opening a door that leads directly to relief and healing. Remember that what you write is not necessarily true, it's not set in stone and it doesn't define who you are holistically -- but it deserves to come out. Go ahead and write what you think doesn't matter or what you already know but have never admitted or articulated. Simply release.
We think we need to be brave to write the raw truth but it is the writing that makes us brave. Words That Heal will reveal the creative gift that many of us think we are missing and why.
3. Ignore the rules. Soul writing is certainly not the place for punctuation and grammar, but when I say to ignore the rules, I'm talking about more than that. Remember I said that I caught myself trying to write pretty? Trying to say what I thought other people would want to hear? You must ignore the rules that you are so used to following when communicating with others. It's okay to be blunt, rude, petty, and utterly self-absorbed when you are writing out your soul. This is not the time to be scripted. There is no judgment here. There is no social acceptability to adhere to. You have an unbiased listener inside of you, waiting to interact. Speak to it.
Words That Heal is about writing meaning into the gaps that we are used to ignoring. Beyond the story we've always told ourselves about who we are and beyond the words we are comfortable saying, there is another version waiting to be written.
4. Listen for a response. When you write to heal, come to the page as you are. Hurt, bitter, angry, pleading, sloppy, whatever. Let it all out. By writing this way, you are inviting the truth to feel safe and seen. Let it breathe. Step away and go about your life. When you return, read what you wrote and respond to yourself. Let your soul speak back to you. Turn your problems over to the page then show back up to be answered. If your intention is to heal and minister to yourself, you must accept the roles of speaker and listener, teacher and student. Think of this work as a connection to Spirit. Patiently and faithfully, pay attention to the exchange.
Words That Heal will help you identify the voice of your intuition and teach you how to co-create by writing your prayers, dreams, purpose and passions into guidance.
5. Look for confirmation. You are going to be moved. You are going to feel your perspective shift over time. You are going to heal. And as your consciousness shifts, your behavior is going to change. Will you trust the insights that come up for you? There are many ways to confirm if you are on the right path. Maybe you've heard the quote before: "What you focus on will grow." It will also show up all over the place. Insight speaking directly to your questions will show up in the sermon at church, on TV shows and movies, in random conversations with people, in your dreams. And when it's not clear, be patient. Ask for understanding. Next time you sit down to write, explore your uncertainty and confusion. Keep the conversation going until you know what you need to do.
All this healing is waiting for you. :-)
You can take what resonates from these five notes, dive into yourself and go from there. But there is much more to learn. I invite you to go a step further and be a part of Words That Heal, starting January 16. All the particulars are here, and early bird registration lasts until January 2.
Which reminds me, have you seen my new home? I'm still getting settled in, so please excuse the dust. Stop by, browse around and don't forget to register for Words That Heal.
Thank you for being here.
P.S. I'm still learning the ropes with my new site, so please let me know if you have any trouble with registration or anything else! You can simply hit reply on this email and tell me. In case you skimmed through this email, it's all about writing to heal.