Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Writing is Good for Us

How do we meditate, reflect, look inward when there are so many distractions? How do we hear the sound of our own inner voice among the noise?

I have been wanting to write for a very long time. Writing is good for us. I didn't altogether get it whenever I heard writers say that they write because they must. Now I get it.

In Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, Natalie Goldberg writes:

"I went home with the resolve to write what I knew and to trust my own thoughts and feeling and to not look outside myself...Trust in what you love, continue to do it, and it will take you where you need to go."

"Why do you come to sit meditation? Why don't you make writing your practice? If you go deep enough in writing, it will take you everyplace."

"This book is about writing. It is also about using writing as your practice, as a way to help you penetrate your life and become sane...really say deep down what you need to say."

In Writing as a Way of Healing: How telling our stories transforms our lives, Louise A. DeSalvo writes:

"Writing has helped me heal. Writing has changed my life. Writing has saved my life...And how often have others - acquaintances, friends, students, published writers - told me that writing has helped them heal from loss, grief, or personal tragedy, that writing gave them unimaginably plentiful spiritual and emotional advantages? That writing has changed them, has helped them come to terms with something difficult, that writing has saved their lives. Often."

DeSalvo describes James W. Pennebaker's Opening Up: The Healing Power of Confiding in Others as summarizing "ten years of scientific research into the connection between opening up about deeply troubling, emotionally difficult, or extremely traumatic events and positive changes in brain and immune funtion...Pennebaker's work on the relationship between suppressing our stories and illness, on the one hand, and telling our stories and increased health, on the other is well respected and pathbreaking in the field of psychology..."

At the Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference in Anaheim recently, Bessel van der Kolk quoted the results from Pennebaker's research. He said how important it was to keep track of our internal life and put it into words.

Write it down. Now how does that feel?

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