Healing Within

I started writing when I was very young. I never knew quite why I wrote, only that I enjoyed it. In my thirties, I picked my pen back up and started writing with a purpose, though I didn’t realize there was a reason at the time. I turned to poetry. It was a form of self-expression that was cathartic for me. I was able to explore feelings, memories, and situations that made others, myself included, uncomfortable talking about. I was able to reach within myself and verbalize on paper things I couldn’t bring myself to say out loud. I also was afraid of what others would think of me if they knew my deepest, darkest thoughts. For a long time, I wrote for my eyes only. It was during this process that I encountered a book about poetry therapy. It was this book Finding What You Didn’t Lose by John Fox that opened a new world to me. It allowed me to explore and release things I held hostage inside me. He later came out with a second book Poetic Medicine that I found equally informative. That might not be the order in which they were written, but it was the order in which I read them. I even thought for a while that I’d like to go into poetic/art therapy. I still think it would be rewarding to help others break down the barriers and find catharsis.

Each of us at one time or another holds on to pain or negative emotions that we aren’t willing to acknowledge or work through. We must first own or accept it in order to let it go and free ourselves. We must not only learn to forgive others but to forgive ourselves as well. I think one of the biggest struggles is not to blame others for our circumstances. Sure, it might have been something someone else did that hurt us, but we must own our feelings. There is no room for finger pointing in healing. Our feelings are our responsibility. We have the power to release them. One has a choice of living in the past (no matter how painful it might have been) or forging ahead and creating new memories of positive light. It seems that most every good thing in life stems from love, so I use that as a starting point for myself.

Through poetry, writing in general, and many other art mediums, we are able to reflect on our pain, guilt, and any other emotion that is affecting our lives. We are given the opportunity to express these emotions, to let it them rise to the surface. We are able to take something nameless and give it a title, to make something beautiful out of it. We are able to cleanse our souls and move on with life. Of course, many artists create many beautiful works purely from those emotions that aren’t so desperate.

I realize people are different and work through their own reactions to their life circumstances however they see fit. I tried doing it myself in many ways that were not beneficial. Writing was the most rewarding to me. I wrote tons of gloomy poetry back in my day (and still do on occasion!). For years, I wouldn’t even look at it, and even once threw it all away, just to find out years later that I’d made copies of much of it. I find it interesting to see how much I’ve grown. I also see where I blamed anyone and everyone for my circumstances. I failed to accept responsibility for years. I can’t tell you for certain that writing enabled me to finally let go of the negativity or if it was trust in something greater than me. Maybe, it worked hand in hand. What I do know is that it took acceptance of my emotions, responsibility on my part, to let myself heal from the inside out. And though I long ago forgave those I blamed, it took forgiving myself, acceptance of my flaws to move on. And only after that was I able to find that inner peace I so desperately desired. I have found that nothing good comes from harboring ill feelings. I have no problem admitting that I still stumble and fall, and I just pick myself back up, dust myself off, and take another step. Life is a process, so I take one moment at a time and love along my way.

46 thoughts on “Healing Within

  1. I have a crate of journals I kept over the years. When I re-read them, I sometimes don’t recognize the person who wrote them. In many cases, that’s a very good thing. ;-)

    Writing has always been my therapy. I am so wired to spill my guts on paper that I am baffled by people who don’t need to do this or don’t see it as a release. To each his own. Whatever works!

    • Thank you so much, Linda. You are very kind. If it happens, it happens. If not that’s ok, too. Mostly, I enjoy writing, and as long as I have that opportunity, I’m happy.

  2. It took me years and years to let go of deep-seated resentment and bitterness toward my brother. Trust me when I say that it was well-deserved, but on the day my dad died three years ago, I let it go. Just like that. I will NEVER forget what he did, but it is not eating me alive anymore. I am able to move on now that I’ve released the anger.

    • You can forgive without forgetting. I wrote a post on this a while back. I think by remembering, we’ve learned a lesson and it keeps us from allowing oursleves to be used, hurt, or manipulated in the same way.

  3. This writing stuff your getting wonderful at. Even on here people will comment on something I wrote months ago and then I have to go back and look at it again. Sometimes I think that’s pretty good. Other times I can’t believe I wrote that garbage!

  4. I’ve used writing as a release, a way of dealing with my feelings, since I was a child. Expressing one’s feelings in writing is almost like discussing the issues with yourself and finding answers that weren’t apparent before the writing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on writing. Blessings to you, Suzi…

  5. “Our feelings are our responsibility. We have the power to release them.”

    You are so correct, Suzi! And I think writing my feelings out (for me, anyway) has been the best therapy for doing that. It enables me to say what I have to say, then let it go. It also enables me to see both sides to a story much clearer. It’s like standing back, and seeing the whole picture.

    And isn’t it amazing how when we first forgive ourselves, we just naturally forgive others.

    Fab post, Suzi!

    X

  6. Many years ago I figured out that if I didn’t express myself through writing that I would end up being very depressed. I used to write poetry for awhile but I haven’t even thought of writing a poem in years. Writing is the best way I know of releasing pent up emotions. Bet you’re not surprised to find that out!

  7. Poetry is my therapy too. I can say with it and song what I
    never could in prose.

    I am so totally going to check out his two books!! How could I not have heard of them?

    Love, love, love, yes it’s all about the love in letting things go.

    xxoo

  8. What is it about writing that releases us? Does journaling do as much for us as writing in a forum where others may see it in the light of day? Is the knowledge that others will read our thoughts, confessions, weaknesses and celebrations empowering, or just the act of recording them? I’ve thought about this more with social media so prevalent.

    • To me, the release is in the writing itself. It has nothing to do with it being read. In fact, the idea of the possibility of it being read is what prohibited me for many years. I didn’t need the validation of being read; the validation came from owning it by writing it and admitting these thoughts to myself. I think the social media is more of an acceptance on a different level.

  9. poetry was for my angsty years- I’m more of a journal writer or blogger now. It’s my way of dealing with things by thinking them through in word. If the issue is particularly moody, I journal it- so no one has to deal with my whinyness. I’d feel guilty burdening people with my self inflicted depression.
    Yes- writing is very healthy

  10. Writing really IS a form of therapy. It’s helped me so much. I don’t write poetry (much…hardly at all) like you do, (which is beautiful, btw), but I write out my feelings in my private journal and (depending) on my blog.

  11. What a great reason to write. I love that so many people have so many great ways to work through issues. I think that I greatly benefit from people who create to release. :-)

    I think there was a time when I was young and upset and wrote a few things, but only a few and a very long time ago.

    I do find that sometimes when I am upset if I type it out it is somewhat of a release and even if I am still angry and/or upset when I am done I am not AS angry and/or upset and I am able to actually handle/deal with the situation better. But it is not writting that can be read or it is not even necessarily coherent.

    I think I prefer movement to work stuff out.

  12. I believe that life is not entirely about what happens to you. Instead, it is about how you DEAL with what happens to you. You’re so right about people needing to own their feelings rather than blaming those around them. I know I’ve said this before, but if only more people thought like you!!

  13. I believe it is important to have a conversation with yourself. Whatever medium you choose, the process of putting head to hand to paper is integral for self reflection and discovery. It fosters independence and the ability to visualize whatever inner conflicts one may have. And yes, it is vital to learn why we react to people and situations in a certain manner. Nice post Suzicate.

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