Writing as Healing (for Your Heart, Body, Spirit, Soul) : Page 2 of 2
Writing as Healing (for Your Heart, Body, Spirit, Soul)
That experience strongly suggested to me that what we hold in the body from our accumulated emotional and interpretive experiences are energies. The stories we hold are energies, patterned in certain ways, especially with repetition (how often do we tell ourselves the self-same stories about our lives, again and again?); and that if we change the patterning, those energies held in those stories can release. Certainly, this is part of what happens in healing bodywork, where massage and other kinds of touch can often bring the recipient's suppressed or forgotten memories to the surface. This is because the body holds those memories; and when its typical patterns are interrupted ~ through healing touch, for example ~ those memories are shaken loose and rise up to be released.
It can work the other way, too: you can write into those places that are waiting to be opened up, released ~ you can write into those places because there is something to be healed, in so doing ~ and in the process, you may well experience a physiological healing as well. This tells us what holistic health has been saying all along: the body is not separate from the rest of us. It is, among other things, a touchingly receptive repository for everything we have experienced and not moved on from, as well as everything we have experienced that is so deep and beautiful (in whatever way) that we want to keep it, that it makes us who we are and want to be.
And this brings us to intentional healing through writing.
Intentional Healing through Writing
Once you have had a healing experience through writing, something in you understands that healing through writing is really possible. You can heal your body; you can heal your broken (or too-fortified) heart; you can heal your spirit; you can even heal your soul. Writers of novels, for example, often infuse their own unresolved conflicts (family relations, intra-psychic conflicts, and so on) into their characters in order to play out, in a more removed yet strangely intimate way, how else those conflicts might resolve. Some writers even write book after book to resolve the same conflict. The writer John Irving said of his last book something like, "I think I'm finally getting close to being done with this subject."
But you don't have to be famous to do it, and you don't have to write a novel unless you want to. You can simply write about your own experience ~ whether as a memoir, proper, or as part of a book on something else entirely ~ and you can do this with the conscious intention for the writing to bring forth healing.
When I first began writing Living in MotherWealth (my sequel to MotherWealth: The Feminine Path to Money), it was from the perspective of still feeling wounded about my mothering. I wrote many pages before the feeling-tone of lack and loss began to feel obstructive ~ and maybe even a little bit untrue in light of all that lay inside me, even if not yet brought out and fully lived. So after 100 or more pages of draft writing in that direction, something else wanted to be said, to be discovered. And the book ~ and I ~ changed direction. The next version of Living in MotherWealth was far more of an opening than a recitation of old hurts; far more a discovery into what real presence, real mothering, might be.
And as I made room for writing about what I had been certain I knew nothing of, I found that the very qualities I was longing for began to show themselves in me through the writing. A sense of caring, protectiveness, deep listening, and more began to well up in the writing, and in me doing the writing. Instead of staying close to the limiting patternings that ran themselves automatically from within the grooves I was used to, I began to do research into "What is really good mothering?" and to notice the (many) instances of mothers and their children in the markets, on the street: how they were together, how the mothers held them, looked into their faces, supported and enjoyed who they were. As this quest opened up for me, my intention shifted from an unconscious following of the old trail to a new, deliberate desire to find what was true and beautiful in real mothering, and to open myself to internally receiving that and to being that.
I do have to say, it's made me a better mother: to my grown son, and to myself.
So although the journey of self-discovery and self-healing through writing is sometimes a challenging one, I believe that we have an enormous amount of help to heal, once we set our course for that. There are healing forces in us as well as around us; and that healing ~ that wholeness, that oneness ~ is the nature of our being. We are seeking, from our distorted, broken places, the nature of our own being. To have this intention at all is already to set certain healing forces in motion.
So if this is a path you would like to take, simply to have the intention to write about your life (whether directly as a memoir, or as part of another work ~ even nonfiction ~ that you want to write) in order to find wholeness will start the magic of healing going. You can help it along by doing a few things beforehand and afterwards, such as:
1. Set aside a time for writing, when you can give it complete concentration. Even if it's just an hour, let this be your time.
2. Before you start writing, do something symbolic to bring you into more of a healing state. You could light a candle, or sing a special song, or light incense, or say a prayer, or write down your intention (such as "My intention is that the writing I do today will heal me and my readers"), etc.
3. Keep your intention somewhere in mind as you are writing. Let it be a kind of guiding mantra, to magnetize certain memories or impressions or awarenesses that relate to your intention.
4. Refrain from judging or criticizing what you are writing, as you write it. Truth is a shy process; it shrinks from harshness of view. Trust that later, in the revision process, if necessary, you can rework and refine your writing so it's as beautiful as you are.
5. When you are done, give thanks for this fulfillment of your intention. Honor that you gave yourself to this, and that something came out of it. That your intentions and prayers are heard. Blow out the candle or re-sing the song (whatever symbol you used) to close this sacred space, and allow yourself to receive the healing of simply doing the writing.
6. Over the next day or week, notice the effects in your psyche, soul, body, and life of doing this intentional healing writing.
You can't go wrong. •
* And of course, as I've maintained since Writing from the Deeper Self first came into being, the place where you write from is almost always communicated to your readers. It's not just the words or even just the message: it's the energy of your own engagement with yourself as you write, what state you were in at the time. So your own healing process is not only communicable, but also a gift to others sharing this planet, this human experience, and this one (when it really comes down to it) great heart.
** Ruth Folit, "Dr. Andrew Weil's article, 'Journaling: Self-Healing through Writing'" (August, 2005) (www.lifejournal.com)
Copyright © 2011 by Naomi Rose. All rights reserved.
Naomi Rose, Book Developer and Writing Coach, has successfully used her "Writing from the Deeper Self" approach to help people with an inner-directed focus write the books of their hearts. More »