I began writing as a young storyteller before the age of seven. I learned the benefits of cathartic writing only later at about the age of eleven. Writing out my pain relieved the suffering. It took off the top layer so healing could occur. For example, writing till the tears streamed down my face 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 as a healing and therapeutic tool to unwind grief and trauma is in vogue. It
alleviates suffering and gives distance and perspective. Studies attest to the fact that when you write, healing is speeded. But it doesn’t stop at that. When I ask people why they’ve come to a journaling workshop or class, I invariably hear one or two people say that they use journaling to write out there woes, but then they don’t know how to get past that or what else to write. They feel stuck in a rut only writing out the “negative.” They want more. I understand. For however beneficial cathartic writing is, it can, at times, reactivate past hurts or keep you going round and round in circles.
Knowing when you’ve reached the limits of journaling in a therapeutic process is a sign
that you’re ready for something more.
There are several journaling techniques 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.
If you would like to explore a new way of writing that will ease suffering, encourage and support you, while helping you remember your purpose and values, The Voice of Compassion practice will help.
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 have it write back to you the answer as in wisdom or advice.
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 that you perceive and 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 the 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 life or for your creativity. 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 of your life, author of your ship, that you get to write, author 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 God’s messenger.
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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.