under my duvet, onesie-d and warm

i’m safe.

at parties with mates, patter from mouth and glass in hand

i’m safe.

in meetings that count, with lipstick and heels

i’m safe.

to show my feelings, expose an emotion

i’m unsafe.

to express on paper the novel within

i’m unsafe.

to say to the world what’s really in my heart

that’s unsafe.

Expose. Hide.

Safe. Unsafe.

Aren’t they both

two sides that chafe?

the joy of helping

it used to be all about me

now it’s kind of all about them

because when I help all of them out there

I learn things about me in here

and in seeing things about me

I grow and understand more

which helps me understand them

and isn’t that life’s adventure…?

Can writing mindfully be more healing than writing expressively?

I’ve always believed that writing down feelings is a route to healing them. For me, as a writer, the mere action of putting fingers to keyboard and letting my soul spill out onto the screen is healing in itself.

Write mindfully about everyday happenings can help divorced people face their feelings. (pic:istockphoto.com/nameinframe)

But that’s not the case for everyone – especially people going through recent separation or divorce. Or so says this fascinating report from Huffington Post on a scientific study into the different kinds of writing therapy that can have different kinds of emotional effects.

Researchers asked one group to write about their anger, guilt and all the other feelings that come up post-divorce. A second group wrote their story with a beginning, middle and an end, like a novel. And a third group merely wrote down what they did during the day (went shopping, sent emails etc). The groups were also categorised into people who brood over things and people who seek meaning from their trauma.

The outcome of the experiment wasn’t at all what scientists were expecting, however. The feeling writers and story writers fared worse emotionally than the people cataloguing their daily deeds – suggesting that brooding on your feelings when they’re raw really doesn’t help separated people feel any better.

I’m surprised and fascinated by the article’s conclusion. Author Wray Herbert says: “Writing about boring and ordinary stuff helps divorcing men and women to re-engage in their daily lives without focusing on emotional pain and loss. Thinking about lunch and laundry may distract brooders from their brooding.”

So there we have it. Being mindful of the boring stuff in the moment is what can really help.

guilt about not writing

Not writing is like a shadow on my shoulder, always projecting itself in front of or behind me; always making me aware of its dark, pressured presence.

Not writing feels like I’m cheating myself of something.

Not writing and pretending that life is OK without writing is being in denial about my true life force, and what sustains me.

Not writing means missing out on Continue reading

persisting in adversity

I’ve persisted today, even when I felt like giving up.

Sitting with a client suffering from depression two years after a bereavement – who just ‘gets rid of’ her days – makes me appreciate the joy I have in my life. I wanted to escape the chill of her room and the critical sharpness of her gaze. But I stayed.

Just as I have stayed with WordPress (now on my Blackberry) in spite of its technical problems, so I can commit to my postaday.

I feel that if I let it slip just one day, it would give me an excuse to slip others.

And if I abandoned that woman, what other pain would I attempt to escape from?

The listening way to tie up loose ends

Can we ever tie up loose ends?

I had my first ending last night.

I’m no good at sewing. But I like my ends sewn up. Which is why I’ve been intrigued by my inability to tie up loose ends, and my simultaneous detestation of them. Yet those ends tend to dangle in my life.

I’ve lost my dad to cancer, my mother to dementia, and my sister to fraud. Hey, I could win hands-down the Derby of Suffering, and the Grand National of Loss.

But I have never properly or consciously managed an ending. Until today. Continue reading

Finding synchronicity in a singing stuffed toy

I found synchronicity in a singing teddy bear yesterday.

Bear with me (if you’ll pardon the pun!) One of my daughter’s teddies fell out of bed yesterday morning and set off his inner melody, singing some unrecognisable but cute ditty. Anyway, this teddy must have fallen awkwardly onto his foot (where the music mechanism is activated) and the singing just wouldn’t stop. He was still singing after breakfast… after we got dressed and brushed our teeth… after I’d come home after dropping her off at school. The singing turned into whining, but Continue reading