Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 175: Healing in Writing

I found this blog that sums up why blogging/journaling is a great thing to do.

This is by J D Murray (don't know him/her but like this blog).

Writing Brings Healing

Writing helps with many kinds of pain. It has been used in therapeutic situations through journaling and to some degree bibliotherapy. It has also been used by laymen for years as a way to understand and work through their pain and losses. Where I have seen this second method used most extensively is with hymn writers.

How Writing Heals

The process of journaling helps in that it brings feelings, thoughts and matters to the attention of your conscious mind. Since our mind is designed to be an effective problem solver, once the mind grasps or comprehends what matters have been painful to the heart, it can begin to formulate solutions to the issue. Writing, like dreamwork or art therapy can also be used as a tool in understanding the unconscious mind and its workings. Much like writers often deal with common themes in their work, we often find ourselves working through common themes in the pains that come our way.

There are several potential ways to use journaling. Each has their own strengths and drawbacks. Some people prefer directed journaling where you write on assigned topics, whereas other prefer free association types of journaling. If you are struggling with pain, you may want to try your hand at each type and see which one you prefer.

Healing begins when you begin when you find words that express what you are struggling with and begin putting it on paper. Further healing can come from letting other people read your writing and sharing their take on it. This step has the potential for hurting or helping depending on who you allow to read it and how they give you feedback on your journaling.

Another type of journaling consists of using workbooks. Julia Cameron uses this type of approach in her “Artist Way” series of books. Some other writers have used this approach as well. I mention her since she is one of the more popular ones that people may recognize her name.

When it comes to laypersons using writing, the story of Horatio Spafford is an example of how writing helps.His story is one where the pain he suffered and overcome became a source of inspiration to others. For years he was a hymn writer. After a series of tragedies, his wife and remaining children took a voyage to Europe. Some last minute business kept him from going with them. On the voyage, tragedy struck when another ship collided with the one carrying his wife and four daughters. In the collision, his four daughters died. His wife sent him a telegram with the message, “Saved Alone”. Horatio immediately set off to be with his wife. When the ship carrying him passed over the area where his daughter went down, in his grief, he wrote the hymn, “It is well with my soul” . He felt that he was able to come to grief with the loss he experienced there. The hymn has since been a source of comfort to many. He reached his wife. Together they began a new ministry in Jerusalem that is still in operation today caring for the sick and destitute of that city.

There are many other stories like Horatio Spafford’s in which a painful moment was transformed into something that helped others. Knowing the stories behind songs like those often give added meaning and comfort to them when we are going through difficult times.

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