2021 is well underway with so much that has already happened… this is certainly true if you live in America! On Jan. 6, I walked out of my office to my son asking me if I had looked at my phone and seen the news. Once I checked the news, I was shocked. Like many others, it is taking me time to assimilate the significance of what happened. Four years ago, I was a chaperone for a school trip to Washington DC. Despite the exhaustion, I very much enjoyed exploring another new part of America and learning a lot more about its history. Having visited the Capitol building on that trip, I stared in disbelief at the images I saw. I wonder what stories will be told of that day in 10 years.
I encourage many of the clients I work with to use journaling as a tool to keep opening up what they discovered about their pain patterns in their body. Writing with a stream of consciousness, or just letting the words come through, is a powerful way of deepening our understanding of our unconscious beliefs and stories. Once we see them written down in front of us, we can then more easily ask ourselves if it’s true or if it’s a helpful story to continue to hold onto. I have found journaling in this way to be invaluable in my own healing journey.
The written word can so elegantly help us take back our power and bring us back to a space of hope. My colleague and friend Dr. Joel Ying wrote a powerful prayer just before the American elections in November. At the time he had no idea who would emerge as the new leader of the country. I read his prayer often as a touchstone to stay in the present moment. It still applies now wherever you live. Through learning the art of telling a story with Joel, I now know why storytelling can be medicine. I will be taking Joel’s storytelling class for a second time in February; you can learn about his classes here.
Over the holidays I started looking into my family history and discovered a little more about who my Great Grandmother married. She had emigrated to America in the early 1900s and settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When I was imagining what their life was like back then, it occurred to me that they too had lived through a pandemic with added the stress of World War I and as a bar owner the restrictions of prohibition. This exploration inspired me to write a blog about the helpful change in perspective this gave me.
Writing and storytelling are important supports to me during this time when we’ve all been faced with varying levels of changes to our lifestyles due to the pandemic. I am in awe of how the Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, was able to craft her words to create such a powerful poem for the Presidential Inauguration. As I wrote this blog, I paused to read her poem aloud and let every word sink in. Try writing your own story about what it is like to live in this time and place on the planet. Tell me your story!