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Transformation through Writing – Celebrating Our Struggles – Part 1 of 6

As a professional musician, I would never dream of stepping on stage without tuning my guitar, but I had to learn that, just as I had to learn how to play in the first place. Had someone given me a guitar and said, “here, play it,” I would have failed! That realization helps me think about the healing journey – it’s not something you “just do.” It’s something you learn and practice and build for the rest of your life. 

Today I’m reminded of how important it is to wake up and tune my life. As I look back on a decade-long healing journey, I see how important each step was to the overall process. It took time, it took commitment, and it took cultivating a daily practice routine. The daily practice, which includes reflection and writing, is that first step. This blog series will outline each component in a six-step process, which forms the basis for the Celebrating Our Struggles class I facilitate in Cincinnati at Women Writing for (a) Change, and outside Cincinnati via Women Writing for (a) Change + Mobile.

Reflection & Writing Support the Healing Journey

It’s through our struggles that we discover our greatest gifts and our deepest desires, and we embrace our own unique voice. Celebrating Our Struggles is a six-part writing class and process, where we listen, we write, and whether in a writing circle or through one-on-one coaching, our voice is heard. In the on-site Celebrating Our Struggles class at Women Writing for (a) Change in Cincinnati, we use writing circles for sharing our reflections and affirmations. There are other ways to accomplish this, including one-to-one. The first part of the six-part series incorporates two key exercises/concepts. The first is reflection pairing a mirror with a daily affirmation. The second is writing your reflections and affirmations down on paper.

Mirrors – the Better to Hear Yourself

We step into the healing journey with an exercise. Sitting in an intimate writing circle or one-to-one, we use mirrors to we look ourselves in the straight in the eyes, and we give ourselves a very important message. It’s an affirmation that sits at the core of the healing journey. The message has evolved in a very important way. At first, we said, “I am perfectly me, and I love myself.” Simple, right? One day after a writing circle, I heard how difficult it was for some individuals to say this to themselves. Adding one powerful term made all the difference in the world. We now say, “I am perfectly me and I’m learning to love myself.” Still not always easy, this affirmation is accessible to anyone taking the first step. Today when I use the mirror exercise, I ask people not to look “at themselves,” but rather to look “for themselves,” and to do so not through eyes of shame or expectation, but through eyes of compassion and understanding. Once they are here, they are on the path, and the reflection has room to grow.

Paper – the Better to See Yourself

The other component of the first step is to write it down. I love introducing people to one of the best friends they will ever find— a piece of paper… because “A Piece of Paper Always Listens.” A piece of paper can support you on your path to finding yourself, your path to finding God, your inner voice of intuition, whatever path your life is calling you towards. In class or one-to-one, we use a second exercise that incorporates writing in support of learning to love ourselves along the healing journey. We take one negative thought at a time and replace it with a positive affirmation. In this way, we learn to make friends with our Inner Critic, control its volume, discover its wisdom, and no longer tolerate its abuse. We look at the wounds we’ve held on to, how we’ve allowed them to define our story, and work to begin the process of rewriting our stories. These shifts allow us to look at our dreams, and I encourage people to look at their dreams as part of their healing journey, not as a destination.

Let’s start YOUR healing journey.

If you’re already in the class or on the journey, let this blog serve as a reminder and support of your process. If you’re not, I’d love to help you get started. There may still be time to register for the next class. Here are some options for you:

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