Using Writing to Heal
"Through writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light together, one small step at a time." ~~C. J. Heck, poet and writer
Writing is a wonderful medium available to anyone interested in exploring the world within and without. And it is especially effective as a tool to uncover beliefs, fears and behaviors that may be preventing you from breaking through to the fullest expression of your gifts and talents. Writing can also help heal.
Writing can help heal not only you, the individual, but also the larger human family of which you are a part. There is something about the connection of brain to hand to heart that makes tangible what otherwise might stay hidden.
The human experience comes with doubts, fears, anxieties, past experiences, future dreams, complicated relationships and whatever internal dialogue you have - positive or negative.
I know friends who started writing poetry during the imposed quarantine of the pandemic. Others are writing now after the events following the murder of George Floyd. Whether you are writing for yourself or others, you are using a method that makes seen what might have previously been unseen, and that opportunity for self-expression shines light into the dark corners of your being.
Writing has the power to transport you to other worlds - within and without. Journaling or writing through meditative practice opens doors to the psyche and the connection to that which is the higher mind. Writing can change your perspective, help you make sense of the senseless, deal with fear of the unknown and re-discover who you truly are.
I'm inviting you this week to do some writing - write a letter to an old friend, write a list of things you want to do when you can freely move about in society again, write the changes you would like to see in our society that could bring peace and justice and explore how that could happen.
If you are struggling with a particular emotion, write about it. If you are upset with someone in your life, write a dialogue with them so you can briefly stand in the other person's shoes and gain perspective. If you are feeling lonely, write yourself a love letter - shower yourself with all the blessings you would bestow on the most cherished of friends.
Sometimes there is not a lot you can do to change a situation, but you can get in touch with your own heart and share your words. Writing, like all art forms, brings you into presence, and from that place of presence, healing happens.
Stay well. Stay safe.
Change is Coming
"Love is an expression of power. We can use it to transform our world."
~~~ Ericka Huggins, Activist and Educator
These last two weeks have been reminders about what it means to be human; what it means to witness the highest expression of love, connection and compassion, and the lowest of violence, hate and fear.
Together we witnessed unfathomable cruelty in the murder of George Floyd, resulting in an explosion of grief and rage that swept through our hearts, our communities, our cities, our country and the world. And, yet, today as I write, I have hope. I see change coming. And that is a good thing.
For too long we have lived with an illusion that we are all separate. Then, along came a pandemic, bringing us back into the reality that we are one human family and that what happens to one of us ripples around the globe. And now that same human family is poised to move together on a long-delayed path of social justice and change.
Such change can only happen when the people are ready to move; when the people, not any one government, have decided the time for change is now; when the people want the country to reflect who they truly are, and remember the power there is in shared ideals, the power there is in truly caring for one another with compassion and kindness.
We can't escape the ripples over time of wrongs of the past. At some point those ripples reach critical mass and a wave begins. At some point the waves reach unprecedented heights and a new path is carved upon the earth. This is where we are now - standing at the edge of a new path - one we may not walk down but our children will, and our children's children.
So, yes, I have hope. And I invite you to look into your heart and decide how you best want to use your energy during this time. If you are called to protest, then protest. If you are called to write or make art, then write and make art. Whatever you are called to do, I invite you to do so with compassion and love.
Stay well. Stay safe.
"It is exhausting, all this opening up."
~~~ Nitya Prakash, author and film maker.
I know just how he feels. There's a lot of talk today about opening up as communities, towns and cities begin to emerge from the quarantine of COVID-19.
And, of course that gets me thinking about what opening up means in the larger, personal sense. As I emerge into a world where I'm still six-feet apart from you behind a mask, will I be able to open my heart? Does the physical distance create an emotional one?
I don't have the answers but I know that in order to open up - to be vulnerable - you, and I, need to let go of past experiences of hurt, grief, loss and fear. And right now, those experiences are not in the distant past, but in the recent present. Right now, you might be worrying about an uncertain future, about how you will support yourself financially, about whether or not you will be safe and well.
This week, in this time of opening up, I invite you to step into your power - to love and accept all of you - your impatience, your anger, your sadness and your fears. This week work with what you have to make the best of the moments ahead.
You may feel space opening up inside that you hadn't even realized was tight and constrained. Your power (your empowerment) is in the choices you make each day: in the thoughts you give energy to, in the emotions you focus on, in the actions you take.
Opening up requires gentleness. Be gentle with yourself and others this week as you navigate your next steps. Find what is true for you and let that be your guide.
Stay well. Stay safe.
"Acceptance is the currency of love."
~~~ Teal Swan
Painful life experiences can get stuck in the mind and heart. You most likely never ask yourself 'why did I have such a good time at that party?' No, the 'whys' that get stuck in your mind and heart aren't those experiences. Those experiences are just taken as they come - no explanation needed.
Right now is a time that will at some point move into the past as a possibly fearful and painful experience. But it is up to you whether it gets stuck in your mind and heart in such a way that it colors your present and your ability to feel alive and joyful. You no more live in the past than you live in a day yet to be born. But if you keep your mind and heart turned towards the past trying to undo what you might see as painful experiences, then you lose your ability to move forward.
So, what is the way forward?
The only way forward is acceptance. Acceptance says what happened, happened. It cannot be undone. Feel it, grieve it, acknowledge it and then let it go. This is especially important when dealing prolonged, stressful situations like the one we are experiencing now. Acceptance doesn't change the situation but it does move you out of worry and anxiety and into a place of peace.
Acceptance means you wear a face mask if that is what is advised so you keep not only yourself but others well. Acceptance means you find moments of connection in new ways with family and friends. Acceptance means that you recognize where your true power resides - in your ability not to control what happens but to control how you respond to it.
I invite you this week to move into the present through acceptance of all that has come before. Bless it, feel it, grieve it if you still have not done that, and then let it go into the ether. Breathe in a new day - it is one of the great spiritual mysteries and truths that you are born again each day. Harness that energy for just one day - find the gifts that hide within the energy of acceptance - gifts of love and peace.
Stay well. Stay safe.
Cathleen O' Connor
Writer, speaker, teacher, coach and intuitive.