I began writing as a young storyteller before the age of seven, experiencing the benefits of cathartic writing only later at the age of eleven. Writing out my pain was a relief. It took off the top layer of the ouch. I could write till tears streamed down my cheeks to then gain clarity as to the real emotion behind my upset. ‘Oh yeah, I’m not angry. I’m hurt and sad.’ I then could address that with compassion and love, and later take clear action if action was called for.
Journaling is a well-known practice to unwind grief and trauma. The blank page is a safe space to write your heart out. It can offer perspective to alleviate suffering. Studies attest to the fact that when you write, healing is speeded. When I ask people why they’ve come to a journaling workshop or class, I invariably hear a few people say that they use journaling to write out there woes. But then they report that they don’t know how to get past that or they don’t know what else to write. Some have shared that they feel stuck in a rut only writing out the “negative.” I put negative in quotes because it’s not my word, and in my world there is nothing negative. There is hurt and pain and suffering but that’s not negative. What I hear them saying is that they want to write about something different from that which ails them. For however beneficial cathartic writing can be, it can also reactivate past hurts. So I never tell people they have to write out their woes because it’s an individual affair of the heart. And while I always return to writing, both cathartically and creatively, the two often intertwine. Art and creativity can be born from pain as much as from celebration and joy. But knowing when you have reached your limits of therapeutic or cathartic writing may be a sign that you are ready for something more.
There are several journaling and storytelling practices to help you explore your creativity, rediscover your vision and voice, and re-center into your own sense of peace and well-being. These rooms, if you will, wait for you to enter into through your words on the page. For while difficult experiences may influence your life, they may even, in part, give shape to your life, they do not have to define your life. Or maybe a difficult experience will become the defining moment of your life, providing direction or clarity on the cobblestoned road ahead. Either way, if you would like to explore a new way of writing that can both ease suffering, encourage and support you, while also enhancing your creativity, helping you to remember what you value and love, The Voice of Compassion can be your helper.
The Voice of Compassion
The Voice of Compassion is the voice of absolute love. It is the voice that says, ‘When you are hurt, let me hold you my child.’ When you can’t get out of bed, it is the voice that says, ‘You are whole just the way you are. I am here, put your hand upon your heart and know I am with you.’ It is the voice that says, ‘You are loved and ever-loving.’
After you’ve done some challenging writing, write a letter to yourself from The Voice of Compassion. The only caveat is that this letter must be one of love. The tone of Compassion’s voice must be gentle, kind, encouraging, supportive, and loving. You can even ask your Voice of Compassion a question and seek its wisdom and counsel.
One short example of this voice reads like this: “Rest, rest and be still. We see that you feel worried, anxious, frazzled and tired. Rest your hands on your heart and know I am with you, rest and be in peace. You are not alone.”
Here is a longer example.
Answers are quiet and subtle. They do not respond to loud knocking and so sometimes when you ask, you hear back the response, “Peace Be Still.” Pressing for answers with so many questions closes the answers that are right before you. For the loudness of sound makes elusive the answers. Answers are never answers in themselves. Answers are but guides, doors opening to show you one way, and answers in themselves will bring more questions, for there is no definite or definitive way about the roads upward. Silence in the Great Silence produces power to act, to see, to do truly for Me, and that means truly for you. For within the real you the answer stems and always in silence does it stem from. One petal of your rose, one petal is Silence, precious unadulterated silence growing you at times like these, in deep meditation. And whenever you can be sole with Me or doing for Me alone and with single-minded focus and attention, be it a dance or a speech or when you teach, when done with Me, the Divine in mind, there you will find the precious silence. One petal of your rose and from which it grows is silence, and in that silence you’ll find your rest. Change is slow, deep, penetrating, effective; such is our way together my blessed child. Rest now. I am always with you. I will come again through the pen.”
If you would like to give this practice a try, here are the steps to take.
The Voice of Compassion Preliminary Practice
Jot down a time or a list of occasions when you felt greatly received, unconditionally loved, or totally seen and accepted. It can be something very simple. Maybe you were being seen or heard by another person. Or maybe it was your dog that saw you, or a great tree or rock in nature, a Divine Presence or spiritual being. Write it down and recall the attendant feelings that accompanied this communion. Writing down memory of this kind primes the pump of feeling for this next part.
The Voice of Compassion Practice
Get a pen and paper and write:
“Dear (your name)”
Then begin a letter to yourself from your Voice of Compassion.
Remember that this voice speaks to you with unconditional love and kindness, very gently.
Let it tell you how loved you are.
Let it share with you the love that lifts you above the problems you face in your life at this time.
Let it share with you the remembrance of your Soul and Spirit’s dreams.
Let it lift you up and reveal to you a greater perspective.
Let it remind you of the larger playing field you live on.
Let The Voice of Compassion tell you all you need to hear and know right now.
This voice will rescue you after you have had a challenging day. After you have done hard writing or written the things out that bother you, this kind voice will answer. And it is always there for you! This is an intuitive wisdom practice and this voice is one of your consultants. It may share with you new insights or wisdom long forgotten. It may share with you wonders from other parts of the planet or other worlds. It may share with you next steps for your creativity and well-being. Just listen to what it has to say and write, to you.
Joan*, a highly creative woman, had lost all impetus to create until her therapists encouraged her to get out and explore classes again. She kept a journal of the day’s events, but told me she wanted more from her journal. She wanted to see some sort of a progression. I asked her how she wrote – from a place of just recording the day’s events or from her deep impressions and feelings intertwined with the experiences of her life? “Both,” she said, “but something’s missing.”
I asked Joan to write a letter to herself from The Voice of Compassion. Joan began to write and by the end of the session she said, “I don’t know if I’ll continue this, but I think what has occurred in my writing is that I’ve allowed this voice in a little bit, and I think this has the capacity to change my life.”
I encouraged her to write and journal about her art work, how her painting and work with clay and quilts made her feel. Before she left, she said, “I want to write a book about the creative person I was, and how I became separated from that, and the journey back to health and wholeness. This idea of compassion,” she continued, “I never thought of it.”
Joan wanted to love and be loved and to feel compassion in her life. I told her she is loved and does love and that compassion already exists in her life. I generally did not give assignments but I told her to take this word ‘compassion’ as her assignment and to investigate it in her life. Joan didn’t know if this would continue after the session, but seeds were planted, and she did continue writing. We ended up working together in several more sessions, and the seeds did grow.
Journaling with The Voice of Compassion provides you a way to directly reconnect to your soul, organize your thoughts, and regain balance. By writing to yourself from The Voice of Compassion you reweave peace from chaos, and discover your voice of authority. Not an authoritarian voice but the voice of authorship. You as author and seer of your life, captain of your ship, that you get to write and embrace.
Brenda Euland wrote, “Think of yourself as an incandescent power, illumined, perhaps, and forever talked to by God and his messengers.”
The Voice of Compassion is one of God’s messenger.
The next Voice of Compassion Writing Workshop is November 6, 2020
For more information:
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The next article in this series will offer suggestions for writing into your creativity and rediscovering your vision and voice.
This article contains excerpts from the book, “Journaling for Well-Being & Peace.”
To read more about The Voice of Compassion, pick up your copy of Journaling for Well-Being & Peace at your local bookstore, on Amazon or for your kindle and nook.
*Joan’s name was changed to protect her privacy.