Since college I’ve almost always kept a journal. Writing down what was unfolding in my life, experimenting with poetry and other forms of narrative and expressing my successes and defeats on the page. Most of that writing was never intended for anyone else’s eyes.
When I look back at that writing I see everything from navel gazing to worrying to serious reflections on things that were issues for me. At other times, I see that the writing helped me work through problems I’d never tackled before—and at the most intimate level, the writing was a way to get concerns, worries, sorrows and fears literally out of my body.
Underneath all of those scratching was a long standing desire to “be” a writer. From my earliest days I was an avid reader. I could be swept away by fiction, entranced by the life stories of others in biographies and deeply moved by poetry. I was word smitten and encouraged to read by my grandmothers. Eventually, I was inspired to start keeping a journal—I began writing.
Because I’d always wanted to write, I gravitated towards opportunities to put words to paper. I wrote the signs visitors see in the zoo. I wrote grants. I wrote handouts, flyers and newsletters. Eventually I wrote for the local newspaper and for magazines. I became a writer in my work life through all of this writing. Writing was not only a form of self-expression; it was part of my everyday life.
So, when my parents died, I wrote about it. When we put our beloved corgi Molly to sleep, I wrote about that too. I wrote about Mom’s Boxer Ginny who came to live with us after Mom died. I wrote about keeping honeybees and selling the family farm. On the page all of my emotions were allowed; I didn’t filter my feelings—I wrote to rage about things I didn’t understand. I wrote to express my sense of loss. I wrote words of sorrow, pain, suffering, doubt, fear… it was a no-holds-barred kind of writing.
Writing was one way to release some of the feelings of pain and loss I carried after each death crossed my path. I didn’t need a permission slip to write about any of it. On the page, whether I ever share it or not, are the words of all my losses.
As I’ve traveled through my grief journey, I’ve met others who use many forms of self-expression to release their sense of loss. Dance, yoga, painting, music, quilting, coloring, drawing, photography… art forms abound that welcome anyone, wherever they are on their grief journey. Creativity opens up the possibility of discovering who you are now.
Join me for a few evenings of shared creativity—we can learn together the transformative potential of using artistic endeavors to learn more about our losses and their meaning for our lives.
Mourning, Meaning and Memoir
For me writing has been a part of healing. For you, healing may come from a form of writing or a combination of words and paint and pictures. Joining in the Mourning, Meaning and Memoir class beginning on September 24 will provide you a safe space to play with forms of self-expression, to share your story of loss with other women on the journey and to be inspired to try something new. No writing or artistic experience is necessary. From week to week we will write, use markers, pens, paints, paper and collage to play with meaningful expressions of what is lost and found in lives filled with transition.
To learn more about playing your way to wholehearted living or to register for this offering visit www.theplayfulsoul.com.