Writing to heal the emotions
"You can't attempt to solve your emotional issues with logic," the only man at the week-long writing course advised me.
"What do you do then?"
"Feel it," he touched his chest. "Stay with it. Don't keep trying to go over what happened or guess what could have happened. Let go of your hope."
I thought I could help him with my journal entries on rejection and fear. Instead he took on the role of the counsellor --- advising me instead.
What he said was enlightening --- using my head to solve problems of the heart. The Thai monk had told me in April that many educated people think they can figure everything out using cerebral tools. But you can't apply that to spiritual issues. And now, it looks like, emotional issues either.
Tonight, as I listened to my classmates read their selected work-in-progress, I couldn't help but notice how their readings touched me. Could it be that some things should not be discussed or analysed but simply shared?
Through the magic of words and craft of prose, you can convey an emotion so powerful that you feel as though you were there when it happened. Writing itself is therapeutic. The process of writing forces you to re-examine the details and prioritise what you want to write. This process clarifies your memory.
I read the book "The Invitation" until I became too tired and too choked up. The chapter "The Longing" reminded me of that intense longing I had felt and still feel from time to time. "The Fear" hinted at how the person I longed for must have felt --- a feeling I could only guess at.
With tears still drying on my cheeks, I drifted into a deep sleep and awoke before daybreak with a warm sensation. Treading over prickly grass and branches, I am pulled into a warm embrace. Someone held me safe and tight in his arms. But the way he held me with my back against his chest was not the familiar way I was used to being held.
I went to the bathroom and slid the door gently shut, not to disturb my still sleeping roommate. In the still of the early hours, I pondered. What was my dream about? I felt only love and the security of belonging. Who was the one who held me at the end of my journey?
I returned to my bed. There were no more dreams until sunrise. Not long after, I heard the pipes in the bathroom next door choke and splutter like an engine trying to start. I got up to check the time.
It was only 6:36 am, too early for anything. I peeked outside and saw a field full of woolly sheep. Yesterday, I saw cows. Today it was sheep. Tomorrow - horses perhaps?
14 July 2004 Wednesday
The Arvon Foundation - residential writing courses
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!
from The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Healer
The joys and pains of writing and editing, Le Bon Journal newsletter, Volume 2, Issue 1 (2 page PDF)