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writing as a TOOL for HEALING

At the early age of 28, my sister Mary died. I was 14 and devastated to lose my big sister, dearest friend, surrogate mother. After she died, she appeared in a corner of my bedroom, levitating in a pristine white gown, bare foot and smiling. She communicated her love and happiness without words and then disappeared in a golden haze. I wrote her visit in a secret copybook and found solace in the process of putting pen to paper. Since then, journalizing and poetry writing have provided insight and centering in challenging times.

In my work as a psychotherapist, the same process can be helpful to clients who write in journals or write letters to significant others or their dear departed. When appropriate, they bring their writing to sessions during which we create a temporary altar with photos, candlelight and incense.

Reading aloud helps to alleviate grief and pain. It is an exercise in the present moment that can heal negative feelings of the past and avoid fear and anxiety of an uncertain future.

“for alex in paradise” is part of the eulogy I gave at the funeral of my nephew, a Viet Nam vet who was a soul mate in this lifetime. Writing the poem honored Alex, his memory and my relationship with him. “ode to my teeth” was written during a year of dental hell which included bone grafts, several implants and a huge financial challenge.

I continue to encourage my clients (and myself) to commit pain to paper and see what happens to the well of feeling.

"If my thoughts were a movie, I'd get up and walk out!"
-- Jack Kornfield --