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A Better You
by Jo Ann Fore

Write to Heal

"Mommy, I want to take these!” my seven-year-old daughter said, grabbing her favorite pajamas at the last minute. She stuffed them into her bag, making space between Barney, her Precious Moments Bible, and the journal with an oversized daisy on the front.

“I’ll call you every day Mommy,” she promised, “And I’ll write about what I do while I’m gone, so I can tell you everything when I get back.”

Tears trickle from my eyes as she climbs in the car with her father. She’s off for summer vacation with Dad – a time precious to her. Forcing a smile, I wave heartily until they make it out of the drive. I turn and head back into our townhouse with tears streaming down my face now; tears of loneliness, fear, and remorse.

 

It’s been six years since the divorce – shouldn’t I be over this?

Relationship between Writing and Healing
Do you ever feel undone about a certain relationship? Are there things you wish you’d said, or hadn’t said, to a loved one – or, for that matter, to an enemy?

The inescapable anguish of a painful episode can be devastating, if prolonged. Unresolved, it can symptom physically and mentally. Many sleepless nights, health problems, and bouts of depression can be attributed to a lack of closure from a traumatic experience.

Stop tormenting yourself. There’s good news: Writing about your experience can bring healing.

Even if the person who inflicted pain, or was the victim of your painful actions, is no longer around – there’s a way to bring healing to the relationship. And, you don’t have to worry about stumbling over the right words to say.

There is freedom in the use of writing as a tool for healing. Writing, with the intent of restoration, allows you to go deep – deep inside where no one else is allowed to go – and bring to the surface painful, traumatic, and haunting life experiences. The agony of damaged relationships, death of a loved one, and broken dreams lie inches beneath the surface for most people.

Putting words to paper bring validation to these events. This really happened. This really hurt. Writing heals – it’s that simple.

I’m in the midst of a Life Writing Class. A group of us meet each week, at a local arts center, for instruction on writing our life memoirs. I’m getting much more than I bargained for. How liberating the past few weeks have been, as I sit and write with abandon – without caution or expectations. One constant I’ve found, even in a life writing class: “Painful episodes serve to build the themes that develop in one’s life – namely, the story of survival." (http://members.aol.com/HoffmanMrs/memoir.html)

Adversity has a purpose. Writing is a safe place to process the strong emotions that stem from suffering.

There are classes available on writing to heal. Some online, some local. A Google search disclosed many online options. Here are a few:

http://www.writersweekly.com/wwu/courses/healing.html
http://www.writingsalons.com/classes/index.php?p=51
http://www.thehealingbridge.org/courses/writing.html

For local options, check with your community college, local universities, or neighborhood arts centers.

Let’s Get Started
But you can get started without a class. I’ll help you.

First, sit down to write – longhand – for a set period of time. Turn off the phone, get someplace quiet, and focus solely on your writing.

Now, choose a relationship that makes you feel undone. It’s usually right there, top-of-mind. You know the one that makes your heart pound, your eyes well up, and your throat begin to tighten.

Next, write just one sentence. Share what you wish you could say to this person, that you never had the nerve – or opportunity – to say. Elaborate. Describe the event, the person involved, the emotions, the reactions, and the painful episode that is harbored inside.

Write feely, this is for your eyes only.

Don’t critique your writing.

Don’t edit – ignore grammar, spelling, and handwriting.

You will quickly discover the release that comes from putting your thoughts on paper.

This is simply the beginning. I’ve only gotten you started. Check out these resources for additional tips on writing to heal:

http://www.writingtoheal.com/resources.html
http://www.utexas.edu/features/2005/writing/
http://www.nprinc.com/self_help/wthe.htm
http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780609808290

Through writing, I’ve learned to accept things which I have no control over – aging, an empty-nest, and certain relationships. But I’ve also found the courage to confront the things I can change – self-esteem, health, and yes, certain relationships.

My ex-husband and I recently stood arm-in-arm, beaming with pride, as we watched our now 18-year old daughter walk down the aisle with the other high-school graduates. Tears streaming down my face: tears of excitement, celebration, and joy.

Writing has walked with me through joy and sorrow – birth, death, divorce, remarriage, and more. It brought healing in my life, and will do the same in yours as you begin to write to heal.



Jo Ann Fore welcomes your comments about this article or suggestions for material you would like to see in future articles. Email her at: JoAnnFore@msn.com. A Better You is published every Saturday.

 


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