By June Swadron
June Swadron is the author of Re-Write Your Life, A Transformational Guide to Writing and Healing the Stories of Our Lives. http://juneswadron.com/re-write-your-life She is a psychotherapist, playwright, speaker and writing coach www.juneswadron.com
“If you did not write every day, the poisons would accumulate and you would begin to die, or act crazy or both - you must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
- Ray Bradbury
For my 11th birthday my sister’s friend gave me a diary, an autograph book and a book to put pictures in. It was a beautiful set with leather binding and it became the best present I could have ever received.
I loved it when my friends filled the pages of my autograph book with endearing messages or silly poems and I found great pleasure cutting out beautiful and interesting pictures from magazines and pasting them into the picture book. But my most favourite prized possession was that little red diary with its lock and key.
It brought me into a private world where no-one else was allowed to enter. It was here, on these pages, where I found my voice. This was the place my words were looking for. Words, feelings and thoughts that I didn’t have the courage to speak out loud would come gushing out of me when I opened that little red book. They came as though starved for a place to finally lay their head.
It was on these pages where I learned about God. Not so much in the entries that were written but in an indisputable knowing that I wasn’t alone. I felt a benevolent presence watching over me as I ran my pen across the page.
It was for this reason that my diary became my best friend. I learned I could trust it to tell me what I needed to know…that clarity would emerge if I stayed with my truth. And I knew that if I did, I would be held and often I would be healed.
Somewhere beyond my tears and self-judgments there was a kindness allowing me to write what needed to be spoken, needed to be heard. Heard by me…perhaps the bigger me, my Higher Self was reading it back in a way that I could hear the sounds of my heartbeat and I would watch as my shouts of anger, confusion, betrayal and grief were transformed into love songs, poetry, letters of forgiveness and letting go.
For the past 20 years I have been facilitating writing workshops and coaching people to find their voice on the page. As I believe it is our voice on the page that over time becomes our voice in the world.
One of my workshops is called, Re-Write Your Life. It empowers participants to let go of old resentments, hurts and regrets and make peace with their past. In a recent class, a 55 year old man wrote a letter that he never believed would be written in his lifetime. It was a letter of forgiveness to the man who caused the car accident that killed his daughter. Since that time they have been exchanging letters and hope to meet one day.
The other workshop is called Write Where You Are.
Writing where we are is a spiritual practice as it keeps us focused in the here now. Every word vibrates in our body whether we are writing about the cat that’s practically sitting on the keyboard as we type or about a memory that happened 20 years ago.
Through writing of our stories an alchemy takes place…a new awareness, often a tenderness, an ‘ah ha’ that brings with it the breath that has finally been liberated.
Over these many, many years, simply putting pen to paper has the ability, more than anything else I know, to return me to sanity. It is a life line. A love line. A way out of the wilderness.
By June Swadron