Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Purposeful Writing
 a Tool for Coping and Thriving

“The story of our life is the substance of it. And our story is also the cross we bear. It can simultaneously, be both our joy and our suffering, our enlightenment and our ignorance.” 

Deena Metzger
 Author of Writing for Your Life

Beginning the new year is traditionally a time for introspection, a time when many of us look back on the previous year and assess what went well and what was difficult, what we have to be thankful for and what we are happy to let fade into the past. Many of us feel a keen desire to make changes and go deeper into our authentic selves. Deciding what to let go of and what to keep can be a healthy exercise that helps us set our intentions for the year. Purposeful writing is the perfect tool for such a job. You’d be surprised by how simply writing for five minutes a day can unearth your inmost desires, your hidden agendas and your secret dreams and help you to make sense of your life.

Writing about your experience helps you to understand yourself, other people, and gives you more insight into the human condition. And sharing your story connects you to others whose stories offer you comfort in return. You can rejoice in knowing that someone else has been through what you are going through and has survived. You can cry with those who have suffered losses and learned to live with grief. You can laugh with those who see the world with irreverence and humor. The story of your life can be your children’s legacy, pay tribute to someone you admire, organize your memories, illuminate new ideas, and teach others what you know. 

Writing can capture a happy time, soothe an angry heart, or offer clarity in a sticky, overwhelming moment. It becomes a trusted friend who accepts what you’re saying without interrupting you or trying to fix what’s wrong. 

When you write, there can be a release from struggle or uncertainty. Just the act of writing, without over-thinking or judging yourself, allows your brain to empty into your hand and onto the page, where you can see it and experience it as separate from yourself. It can give you clarity and be a record of where you’ve been or a goal for where you need to go. Writing helps to find your way through the morass of everyday existence. It is accessible, inexpensive, and immediate. Paper and pen or an available computer is all you need to get started! 

I teach writing to people from all walks of life, but I especially love my classes for pregnant and new mamas. As a Mom myself, writing has been my lifeline and my children LOVE reading about what they were like inside my belly, how they were born and how they have grown and developed. (And I’d hardly remember a lick of it if I hadn’t written it down.)

Pregnancy, birth and mothering are filled with transformational mythic journeys where you are called out of your ordinary life and into a big, new adventure unlike anything you‘ve ever experienced. The richness, strength, profundity, and perspective that come from writing about this process are awe-inspiring for both the writer and the reader.

So why not start 2011 by writing about your day-to-day experiences? It’ll help you to make sense of what you're going through, navigate toward your goals and keep you sane, centered, and creative. Whether you are a mother or not, purposeful writing is a simple way to stay solidly in touch with yourself while you ride the rollercoaster of life.

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