Monday, June 9, 2014

Writing As A Spiritual Way Of Letting Go

This past weekend I attended Women Connecting, a ministry of the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania.

Thirty-five women gathered in a circle. These same women weeks ago contemplated what they wanted to let go, move on from, change in their lives. They wrote their most fervent wishes and prayers on slips of paper.

The group leader, Harriet, lit the candle and asked for a few minutes of silent meditation.  Then we passed around a decorative box containing those slips of paper. Each of us pulled out a slip, read the words aloud, and passed the box to the person next to her.

Letting go of anxiety, anger, perfectionism, grief, denial, grudges. Those words filled the empty spaces among us.

We shared a short excerpt from Sue Monk Kidd's When the Heart Waits. The piece centered on the beauty of transformation, a butterfly emerging from her cocoon, and God watching over her.

Later, we went outside, gathered in silent prayer. Then, our slips of paper were placed in a small fire pit. Harriet struck a match. The paper ignited, smoke rose toward the treetops . . . finally, ashes.

Harriet was presented a bouquet of cream-colored roses as farewell gift for organizing and holding the circle of women these last three years. We move on, let go, transform and grow.

Letting go is a way of freeing and unburdening ourselves spiritually.  "It's a loving community," my friend said of the women connecting gathering. "It's a reminder of a time when people cared for and helped their neighbors and offered emotional support," she said.

So much of writing is like that, and in writing groups, especially, we come together and let go . . . we work to put aside despair over that tragically ended love; anger at an estranged sister; guilt of finally saying 'no' to everyone's needs, but our own; fear of impending poor health and old age; bitterness that lack of  money jeopardizes our safety and security.

I often remind myself that writing promotes mental and physical well being. It offers an outlet for anguish and deep personal pain. It did - and does, for me.  

If you desire to write as a way of letting go, these ideas might work.
  • Enjoy the moment when you begin putting your thoughts on paper.
  • Concentrate on what your body is saying as you write.
  • Read the diaries, journals, life stories of writers who fascinate you.
  • Take advantage of writing prompts.
  • Write a letter to the person; read it to them.
  • If they are deceased, visit their gravesite and read it aloud.
  • Keep a journal.
  • Write your earliest childhood memory and explore the takeaway.
  • Start writing without stopping to censor or edit.

What about you?  Do you have writing tips to share as a way of letting go?

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