WRITING FOR HEALING

Sunrise, Mission Beach FNQ

Do you have stories that demand to be told? Recurring memories that won’t let you go, no matter how hard you try to forget? A whole lengthy catalogue of repeating traumatic memories that won’t let you rest? Get those stories out of your head and onto the page and you’ll begin a miraculous journey of healing.

Believe me. I’ve been there. My first book Thrill Seekers is made up of the memories that wouldn’t let me be, transformed into fiction. The process of doing this taught me many things about how we can use writing to transform the stories we tell ourselves. The act of creating a work of beauty from the pain we endure is a great healing act.

I am passionate about the power of story to heal the emotional wounds and scars we carry. For many years now I’ve worked with people who have suffered unbearable trauma, helping them to express their truths and find their voices. So much healing comes from telling our stories and having these stories heard, acknowledged and believed. Watch the session HERE.

Kerstin and I in the Arts Nexus recording studio in Babinda.

While I was working in Far North Queensland recently, my dear friend and fellow writing teacher and retreat facilitator, Kerstin Pilz, and I recorded a session for the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival’s year round program on Writing for Healing . Join us for this fascinating discussion on how we have both used writing as a powerful tool for helping us to clear grief and traumatic loss and moved forward in our lives.

Kerstin and I at the Babinda Boulders – in the heart of Wanyurr Majay. Madanji country

Whether you are interested in beginning to tell your own stories or if you work with people who need to have their stories heard, this discussion will help you make a start and find new ways of using writing for healing.

Be brave! For many years I was too afraid to begin unearthing my stories, thinking I’d fall apart and never be able to put myself back together again. But the opposite happened. Yes, there were tears, many many tears, but this is how we wash our wounds clean – with tears and telling. But I didn’t fall apart, I started to come back together again.

Find your voice. Tell your stories. Healing is within your own power.

With lots of love,

Edwina xx

A new dawn is on its way.

Remember if you need a hand to hold and some words to comfort and uplift you when going through grief and loss my Guide Through Grief is available now in all good bookstores.

5 FUN UPLIFTING ACTIVITIES FOR LOCKDOWN!

Here in Queensland we’ve been pretty lucky lockdown wise. But now, here we are, as the rest of the world parties again, finding ourselves shut in. This whole Covid business has dragged on so long. We’re all sick and tired of the whole thing. But we’re stuck inside, some of us with no one to play with. What to do?

Here are a few fun creative activities to help fill those hours – there’s only so much screen time you can take before you start getting crazy eyes.

  1. A MOMENT OF JOY! We’ve all had moments of pure happiness. This picture represents one of mine – a wonderful trip out to Moreton Island with my extended family, including my young nieces and nephew. We climbed all the way to the top of enormous sand dunes and slid and bumped and jumped and rolled our way back down again. Such fun. Remember your moment of joy, big or small, the birth of a child, a win at work or in a sport you love, the first time you clapped eyes on a true love, that moment of connection with a small creature, the delight of rain on your face at the end of a stinking hot day. If you can’t think of anything, make something up! We’d all like to win a lottery, right? Now put a timer on for 5 minutes and write about that moment covering all the five senses – sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. Go deeper. What did that joy feel like in your body? You can do this as a poem, a list, a song, an essay, a story, a drawing even. Whatever you like. Whatever takes you back to that moment and helps you feel that joy again. When the timer goes off, you can stop if you like. But if you’re on a roll just keep going!

2. MOVE! Okay, okay we’re stuck at home and there’s not much room maybe, but if you’ve got room to stand you’ve got room to stretch right up and try to touch the ceiling! Then bend down as low as you can – bend your knees. Then see how far you can twist around. Put on music and do a jig. Roll around on the floor like a log. Have fun moving your body. Even just wriggling is lots of fun and good exercise too. I love to do a shimmy to wake myself up and shake my sillies out. If no one is watching, play some kids’ music and dance along. If you’ve got people at home you can all work out a dance routine – just for fun. It doesn’t have to end up on TikTok.

3. MAKE A CONSTRUCTION If you’re like me you may collect things, shells, feathers, odd toys or leaves or plastic toys. Gather a few of them together and see if you can make something from them, just a photo still life will do, or you could draw them or paint them or stick them all together with glue. Or write about one of them, where you found it, what it reminds you of, why you picked it up. Just handling those collected treasures will lift your spirits.

4. MAKE A COLLAGE! All you need is an old magazine or two, some scissors (or just rip pictures out) and glue and a piece piece of paper of cardboard – an old cereal box will do. Set a timer for 10 minutes and flick through the magazines or newspaper or old books that you don’t mind cutting up or whatever you have, looking for any images that appeal to you. Anything that makes you smile. Words too. Anything that draws you in, or “speaks” to you in some way. Don’t overthink it and don’t get stuck reading articles, just keep flicking and ripping out pictures of things that make your heart sing. When the timer goes off stick all the images onto your sheet of paper or cardboard, go outside the edges, do lift up flaps, do both sides, whatever you like! You could cover a shoebox to keep precious things in. Just have fun doing it. Use coloured pencils or felt pens or glittery stickers or stars to decorate it. When you’re done, pin it on your wall to remind you of all the things that make you smile.

5. WRITE A LIST! Not a shopping list. Not a list of pros and cons. This time write a list of all the small things that bring you joy. Roses or rain, or swimming in a waterfall, or walking along the beach, or hugging your kids, or playing with your dog, or red-backed wrens, or small stones gleaming under a stream, or a blue blue sky, or a friend’s laugh or grandma’s chocolate pudding or your favourite song. Try and get to fifty! Yes fifty! Fifty small things that bring you joy.

Last but not least, even if you can’t go outside, stick your head out the window and look up at the sky. Watch the clouds for a while, until your neck gets sore anyway.

The world is still a beautiful, magical place and it is good to be alive.

Try one of these activities or all of them. I hope they’ll lift your spirits.

With lots of love

Edwina xxx