When I was a little girl, I possessed secret diaries - the magical pink ones with lots of stickers - that came with a tiny lock and key (which anyone could have picked with their fingernail. I was blissfully unaware back then). It held my secrets. It was where I talked to myself. It was where I recorded the trials and tribulations, mischief, miracles and important events of my childish life. My diary held the stirrings of my little heart, in one place, helping me make sense of the world. The funny part is, when I read my old entries, I would see that it was poetry. Even back then, these stories of my life held truth, and they held art. They would always amaze me later. Where did those beautiful words come from? Where did those deep insights come from? I didn’t have those thoughts before my pen started to move. I didn’t have those answers and that poetry till the very moment the ink spilt out on paper. And I always slept better after I wrote.
To this day, when I need emotional medicine, I turn to writing. It has never once failed. Writing possesses the alchemistic power to transmute confusion into coherence, questions into answers, pain into peace and mindless excitement into orderly happiness.
Soul-writing or free-writing has today scientifically been proven to catalyse emotional healing. Writing helps you walk to the very edge of the dark abyss which you have always been afraid to cross. It takes you to the root of your pain or fear, process it and find freedom. It is one of the most powerful ways to release emotional charge that you are carrying in mind and body. Writing helps us to finally tell ourselves the truth about our thoughts, motivations, choices and actions. It can also open up new perspectives. Bottled trauma and emotions find a vent, healing old and new wounds. Upheavals in head and heart are tranquilized. Enlightenment arrives.
Writing is a gateway to your intuition. Try it for yourself. Sit with a clean sheet of paper and a well-made pen (I’ve found that this boosts the joy of writing. It sparks creative flow by sending a mental signal that something special and sacred is about to emerge). Close your eyes, place your hand on your heart, and ask your soul what it wishes to express. Be willing to accept the answer you receive, no matter how uncomfortable. After a couple of deep breaths, begin writing. Try not to filter it. Let every thought find its outlet, no judgement.
Usually, you start out by simply telling your tale and sharing what you feel. Give each emotion a name. Weave words around it. Some people may find release and relief in a single, long writing session. Others may need a few sittings. Initially, churning up unpleasant memories and trauma can feel worse. Tears may fall. But it is essential to face these very emotions and fully feel them in order to release them. You no longer grapple with your inner monsters in the dark, but you bring them to light and burn them. Here’s your promise – STICK WITH IT, AND YOUR PAIN WILL PASS, YOUR FRUSTRATION WILL FIZZLE OUT.
You will wake up one morning and discover that it doesn’t hurt anymore, and past experiences will not subconsciously sabotage you anymore. You will wake up with the guidance and answers you’ve been searching for. You will wake up renewed with strength, solace and confidence.
Latest research reveals that verbal expression of emotions can also accentuate physical healing. A research by University of Auckland established that journaling about personal trauma for 20 minutes on three days, being as open, detailed and candid as possible – led to faster healing of physical wounds and a serious boost in immunity. It also improved insomnia, and significantly reduced depression and anger.
I remember reading Paulo Cohelo’s ‘By the River Piedra, I sat Down and Wept.’ This will always remain a special book to me. The heroine’s buried demons of blame and resentment resurface after years, and she has to relinquish her grip on them to reclaim her love, for her man as well as for herself. She has to learn to let go. When all seems lost, she spills her heart on paper. She writes pages and pages, tasting the brine of her story in her tears. She finally sends afloat these pages in the current of the river waters, her labour of days washed away. They carry away the heaviness in her soul. As she completely let's go, love returns, light returns. And miracles unfold. Dreams come true.
I’ve experienced similar magic. I’ve experienced the dissolution of darkness shrouding the soul when I have written endlessly during trying times. I have witnessed the dawn of a new sunrise in the story of my life, every time I chose to hold space for my emotional storms and let my writing transmute them. Writing heals.
Your stories are aching to be told. Your life lessons are waiting to be recognized. Writing takes you to the borderlands of self-evolution. It leads you to commune with your soul, cast new maps, discover new trails that will carry you to a better destination.