“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
Instead of sharing my words, I kept searching for inspiration found in others' creative expression, thinking that surely if I could just fill up my cup with enough stimulus, it would eventually overflow with ideas. I’ve brought so much beauty into my life through this process, but when the words still weren’t coming, I realised that this alone wasn’t enough.
Then one day, I had a life-changing conversation with a dear friend, and she shared with me a chapter in Women who run with the wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. This tale, La Llorona, tells us that sometimes when the rivers of our creative self-expression aren’t flowing, it’s because the waters are stagnant or polluted. This rang loud bells of truth throughout my body, and led me to see that my words were all dammed up because I wasn’t acknowledging the emotional walls that were holding me back.
“I am broken the way most writers are, stories leaking through the cracks.”
As the words began to flow out of me so too did the tears. I discovered that writing is not just a way to share myself and my views with the world, it’s also an incredible tool for healing. Turns out I'm not the only person who has experienced this (shock, horror). In an article by the American Psychological Association, Writing to heal, research by psychologists James Pennebaker and Joshua Smith asserts that expressive writing's potential to ease stress also improves immune function.
However, they emphasise that simply venting our frustrations or emotions through writing or talking is not enough to alleviate stress. Rather, "...to tap writing's healing power, people must use it to better understand and learn from their emotions". It's only when we utilise writing to find meaning and new perspectives in our lives that the positive effects begin to surface.
“Your job as a storyteller is not simply to entertain... Your job is to let people know that everyone shares their feelings- and that these feelings bind us. Your job is a healing art, and like all healers, you have a responsibility. Let people know they are not alone…”
And so by mining the stories of my heart, soul and life experiences, I found that I actually have a lot to contribute- whether that be my personal answer to a universal problem or simply a question to allow others to see their reflection. I believe that we all have something unique to share, and that our stories are in fact invaluable.