Dr. Maggie is back in The Writing Shed! When I learned about the research on how expressive writing helps us have an experience of letting go, I was gobsmacked. Letting go experiences are normally associated with trances or spiritual experiences. But the simple act of identifying and recognizing your emotional reactions to fearful times in your life can have powerful effects on your body. In one study done about the human fear of spiders, when the participants expressed their deathly fear of spiders in language, they were able to move closer to the spider (more than those who merely looked at the spider without expressing anything). Journal writing is powerful!
I’ve started The Writing Shed because I want to help you express what is on your heart. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to express myself, but didn’t know how or didn’t have the space to experiment. I felt awkward sharing my heart. I felt uncomfortable crying. I could feel the blue balloon in my throat and had to remind myself to breathe. I wanted to tell my grade school teachers I was lonely, but the word lonely was not spoken at home. Speaking from this experienced pain, I can now say that expressive writing about my life has helped me find liberation from this sore throat.
I have come to understand that expression, for me, is everything it means to be whole and healed. It means I have come home to myself, and I can talk to her. I can form a wave with my body, from one end of my fingertips to the other end; I can say a prayer for myself; I can ask a stranger if she’ll let me cut the rose blooms off her bushes; it means I can say “no” when I know it’s not part of my future self; it means I can be in the habit of writing a journal; it means I can draw squiggles with watercolor.
I can utter, move, forgive, speak, and share with authenticity. That’s what expression means to me. And yet, it’s not always easy.