South Kaibob Trail, Grand Canyon, Arizona
I have been reading about the varied processes that creative geniuses use to create the new. I am no creative genius, but as I read Fire in the Crucible: Understanding the Process of Creative Genius by John Briggs, I discovered that healing is highly creative, for it requires us to feel and think things we have previously been loath to feel and think. It is new for us. That makes it creative.
I thought to myself “what is my process for healing?” and realized it existed fleetingly and un-articulated; scattered sporadically throughout my mind. My thoughts hurried to prove this was acceptable by noting that the healing process needed to be fluid and changeable – that it shouldn’t be shoved into the mold that writing it down would require. But after a pause, I realized I was blocking myself from going deeply and deliberately into my own healing. After a brief internal debate, I concluded that my healing could benefit from writing down the process as it currently operates, more or less. Well, more of the more than of the less. [sigh] So here it is. . .
At first, it involves feeling discomfort. Sometimes the discomfort comes directly out of a treatment session; sometimes it comes after a period of feeling really good; sometimes it gets triggered from an event or a person; sometimes it comes from a dream; sometimes it simply sneaks up on me when I’m unguarded. The discomfort then leads to seeking relief. There are the usual ways that involve moving away from rather than into healing – [insert list of vices and addictions here]. Then, when exhaustion from avoidance descends, I begin to move into healing through the launch pad of my mind.
I start by reading parts from a bunch of different books. There is a large variety and scope to the information. The larger the gap in relatedness, the better. My nightstand stack gets taller and my Kindle app bulges. At some point, I feel the growing discomfort of repeated dead ends in logic circling the mind shock of too much information. I am mercilessly funneled into the core of the healing process – feeling. I have lost control. The perfect state for healing.
I do not enjoy leaving my head. So healing for me requires that the pain of non-resolution be greater than the pain of not thinking. Once that threshold is reached, I am always surprised that I really don’t mind entering my body for the answers. It seems the painful part was letting go of my mind.
Now feeling the inside of my body, I begin writing out the discomfort in minute detail, confessing to myself at the feeling level, as it unfolds. The writing gives me a safety net for my intellect, so I can ease into the intense sensations without overwhelming myself and shutting down the process completely. It is much like a therapist that says “you can leave your body anytime you need to and then when you’re ready, you can come back in. Remember you’re in charge.” In my own time, I enter the feeling sense of it. The act of deliberate and detailed writing also creates drag in the thoughts coming up. This slowing – much like the physical drag a therapist creates in the body of an unwinding client – allows more depth to the feelings and sensations and prevents me from skipping over certain subtle or previously avoided feelings. I give myself the time to feel each sensation fully.
Self dialogue also becomes easier, as I read back what I have written and mirror my own words back to myself in my head. This process of recycling my thoughts back to myself magnifies the feeling behind the thoughts. It also allows my current self to speak directly to the younger me that is stuck in an earlier, often overwhelming, moment in time. Much as a therapist dialogues with a client, I can sometimes be my own therapist.
The end product of my writing is simply a detailed account of my healing process on all levels, as best as words and my ability to translate the untranslatable can make of it. There is not a lot of intellectualizing or describing my point of view from the level of thinking. The material leaves no space for debate as it is strictly personal. What it accomplishes instead, if the reader is open to it, is a stirring within themselves of their own five senses and the coinciding memories associated with any unresolved moments in time. I like to picture my writing as that of a catalyst – initiating or accelerating the reader’s own healing process.
I posit that most overwhelming feelings and memories we have are set aside, until, too painful to ignore, we let ourselves be nudged into opening our rightly scared eyes and experiencing – fully – the shocks in our lives. Reading and feeling another’s process can provide such a nudge. I know this to be true because when I feel stalled, I wander back and read the posts of other healing journeys. It inadvertently triggers my own process. Especially the more vulnerable postings. The ones that are obviously direct distillations and not the thoughts of another.
So . . . I write only when I feel ready to commit, completely and deeply, to feeling what comes up from the writing. It requires me to pause before I type. It requires adherence to uniqueness (I’m continually examining my words to make sure they are coming from me directly and that I have not become lazy and inserted well used (and mindless) words and phrases instead – this is really hard to do and involves a lot of backspacing!) Even so, the composition is essentially finished in the first writing. It is written and experienced at the same time, so it is unfolding physically, emotionally and thoughtfully as I write. This means some physical and emotional releases come up while writing and require a pause to fully process them. Sometimes I write down the feel of the release as a reinforcement that it has just happened. Then, once the wave of the release is past, there is a feeling of a soft, still space and I pause there too. The words flow then, out of that space and continue where they may.
I write very infrequently. But when I do write, it is deeply accurate to me. I need the firmness of detailed writing and cannot tolerate the lightness and incompleteness of the quick and superfluous. Some can write deeply and quickly. I cannot.
At first this lead me to believe I was a huge procrastinator and I berated myself regularly for not healing and not writing (I see the writing as a responsibility to give back what I have received through my myofascial treatments and through books I have read that have helped me). As I became more comfortable with my writing, I realized there were a long line of activities going on that fed the finished product on the page.
Sometimes I would go for a run or be in the shower, or doing yard work, or working in the kitchen, or some other physically active thing – and I would have an insight. I would think – that was an amazing thought! I want to write it down! Then the thought would float away and I would be disappointed with myself that I had not captured it. Over time, I became less self effacing about these escaped thoughts and told myself that if they really were fully formed in me, I would be able to call them up at will. I had to trust that they were part of a bigger process going on inside and around me that was building up to an even more evolved idea. Even now, I feel at the cusp of a big breakthrough in the resolution of the beliefs I have around my kidnapping. I feel that there are unknown thoughts about such a thing that have not been put into words by anyone yet and that these un-articulated thoughts will reveal themselves at the moment they become resolved in my own body.
It may take some time, but the excitement of being at the cusp of new thoughts endures beyond my many lulls.
Now that you have made it successfully to the end of my tome, I ask you, what is your healing process?