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Reflect, Write, Restore

By Susan Ksiezopolski

Cooler days darker nights and year end around the corner often puts us into a reflective mood to think back on our accomplishments of the past year or our plans for the new year. With all the turmoil that is happening in our world these days, taking time out for reflection can be important and restorative. 

What better way to reflect than to take some down time to capture those reflection on paper. The added bonus is that writing is good for us! There are well-researched physical and psychological benefits to cultivating a writing practise. 

There are many purposes to writing. We write to express and reflect on our circumstances, or we write solely for our own consumption or to share and communicate with others. We write for enjoyment, to provide others with information, or to document our experiences. The output can take many forms, journaling, story writing, prose, poetry for example.  No matter the output – what matters is that writing promotes well-being and is an important toolkit in our wellness journey. There are therapeutic benefits to writing. 

For me writing is a way to metabolize the experiences in my life and helps me to create a sense of order from the disorder around me. It is my unwind time that helps me to de-stress. 

“Writing is not just for the sake of writing to convey ideas, capture or document processes or events. It is a means of telling stories, inspiring others and even to escape. Writing is a powerful tool. It allows us to communicate the stories of our life journey” – The Writers Workbook, Susan Ksiezopolski

Through writing (poems, short stories or blog entries) we can creatively capture the emotions of love and joy, diminish and release the pain that comes with loss and process the changes that come upon us all at various stages of life. Writing can be a powerful tool to help reconcile our emotions and our thoughts. There is a force moving behind the mechanics of writing about our ideas and stories that has the transformative power to heal. 

Writing promotes the discovery process. It can help us reconcile, restore, build, rectify, and regenerate. We can set ourselves up to overhaul our reality and move forward. Capturing our story on paper relieves us of the burden of carrying them inside us. It lightens our load, diminishing the negative power the story has on us. This frees us to move forward with our life. Discovering who we are through writing is a path to healing. 

As Dr. Desmund Tutu states in his book “The Book of Forgiving” – “When we know our stories and make sense of what has happened, we get connected to the larger story of our lives and its meaning and we become more resilient. We are able to handle stress, we heal”.

Writing supports the healing process. Writing allows us to physically release emotions from inside and transpose them on to another forum – paper, giving us some distance. That distance creates the space to be reflective and more objective about the emotions being released. It expels what is inside us, defusing the negativity and turning it into something positive. Exposing our emotions empowers our true self to open up and be visible. This is where we hold the most power and reveal our greatest gift. When we share our stories from an authentic place, a true genuine exchange allows the light to enter and heal. We can free ourselves through writing; writing allows us to become the witness to the voices that are shouting to be heard. From the observer stance as we take on the role of a writer, this diminishes the negative power the voices have. Through the medium of the written word the voices are silenced as the words communicate their message.

Our true self is waiting for us. Writing will call forward the power within us to heal. We need to stay open to finding our creativity. Inside our creativity is where our TRUE self and TRUE voice await.

We might find our creativity through words, music, art or meditation – don’t stop looking and keep writing. When we write it helps us become more aware and fine-tunes us to be able to hear the stories in our life. 

Writing about the events that take place in our lives helps us to process them. By capturing the experiences through storytelling, poetry or prose, we are better able to understand our life experiences. Creative writing can help us metabolize the past or present in a way that brings greater liberation and joy – and who doesn’t want MORE of that? 

Studies have shown that creative writing has the power to heal. Psychologist James Pennebaker, PhD, of the University of Texas at Austin is at the forefront of these studies. His work suggests that writing about emotions and stress has the potential to boost the immune functioning. Healing takes place as emotions are released through reflection and self-expression in writing.

Writing builds up the ability to tap into our inner feelings and our creative voice. It helps us to make meaning out of our everyday life experiences as we progress through our journey. It promotes an increased awareness about our life experience and the world around us. Writing connects us to ourselves and others. This can have a profound effect on our well-being. When we write our stories it helps us to unravel and make sense of our experiences and to come to grips with our negative and positive emotions. In sharing our stories with others, it helps us to realize that our collective life experiences although unique are not that much different to one another. This provides a sense of comfort and relief. 

The process of healing ourselves facilitates the healing of others around us. When we are in alignment, balance and harmony this positive energy radiates within us and creates a ripple that in turn makes those around us feel more positive. People around us feel our energy and vibes. We can use writing as a tool to support our own personal healing. This in turn helps heal our world. In the simple act of writing and capturing our thoughts and emotions we unleash the power to tap into what makes us whole. This is demonstrated in the following quote by Bonnie Abon, “You are a piece of the puzzle of someone else’s life. You may never know where you fit, but others will fill the holes in their lives with pieces of you”.  Someone out there needs our puzzle piece. Writing can help us to find that puzzle piece and put it on the board. 

Making time to write and tap into the creative process every day generates more creative energy and creativity overall. 

Excerpt for “The Writer’s Workbook – ….” – available at Joshua Creek Heritage Arts Centre. 

Writing is breathing out – reading is breathing in. Check out this workbook and other books in our gallery for sale by local authors, including our very own Sybil Rampens prolific collection illustrated by Tso Choy.

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