Ways to Renew Your Writing Spirit

IMG-4881I am spiritual, although my journey has been interrupted for a few years while I fretted and fumed about the state of the material world, politics, how unloved I felt and what ranking my new novel had on Amazon. These were some of the dark concerns that drew me away from my spiritual practices.

Enter my dear friend and fellow writer, Weam Namou. Weam is many things: a writer, a filmmaker, a journalist, a cable news host, a wife and mother. She is also a teacher and a healer. To that end she organized a spiritual retreat this past weekend. Her program, The Path of Consciousness, brought together many workshop leaders in a beautiful setting for three days of practicing both writing and matters of the spirit. These teachers showed participants how to blend the two. I never knew how to marry spirit and writing, or if I did, I forgot. This retreat was just what I needed.

My day of spiritual renewal started with a vision board workshop with Sonya Julie. I have done vision boards for my novels and vision portfolios for my home and work life. When you are attracted to something, envision it as part of your life. There’s a good chance it will manifest. To keep the vision front and center, have a visual reference. Sonya brought magazines, glue sticks, scissors and colored pens—as well as index cards—for each of us to create a vision card. The card I made in her class became my motif for the day.


Next class went for a walk in the woods with Patty Shaw. She used the root chakra to help us drop what was holding us back so we could move forward into the new. We stood still before a set of steps that led down into the woods and felt the negative energies we held so tightly inside gather in the root of our body. Then we went down the path into the woods where we dropped the negative energy into the earth where it dissipated. Next we filled ourselves with the good in nature and emerged from the dark path into the light. The was more on this walk but that moment, when I let go of so much negativity, was life-changing.

I didn’t really get how writing and spirit worked together until a sacred experience in meditation class. We did a guided mediation with the third eye chakra (indigo blue) and the sacral chakra (orange). Heather Rae, owner of Little Lotus Wellness Studio in Ferndale, instructed us to envision the third eye and color as the higher creative spirit inside and the lower sacral chakra and color as the birth of creativity. She had us envision passing from one to the next, pouring into and feeding each other.

I did not expect what happened next.

As I envisioned this chakra energy as colors, it began to wind through me and I could see in my mind’s eye that, as the colors met, they blended. It was like I had a circle of energy passing through me and even out into the air. It was amazing. I felt totally refreshed after that. I saw how writing and spirit co-exist.

Weam herself taught the last workshop. I have been journaling for many years. It’s my firmest ritual, and I’ve come to depend on it to ground me at the beginning of every day. Still, my routine had become a bit, well, routine. I was going through the motions but nothing was happening on an energetic, spiritual or even creative writing level. Yes, I was clearing a path, but perhaps Weam could show me how to do more with this beloved practice.

The best advice for me, and I feel it will energize and recharge my morning pages, is that when I notice my writing (this is free writing, so nothing that you’d publish or even share) gets bogged down with negatives, to turn it around with a question. “Why am I feeling so hopeless?” for example. Next, quickly write down ten reasons why you may be feeling less than positive. I have a list. It starts with politics and ends with gender bias with a slab of sexual violence toward women in between. Where do I get all this from? Another list…television, social media, print media, books, conversation. How to heal this negativity? Pretty easy. Limit television news. Choose friends wisely and keep books and media positive.

It has not been lost on me that my biggest obstacle in this life is fear. Fear is also the name of a book currently on my Kindle. I’m not going to put my head in the sand, but I am going to work on balancing my life by being more focused on the spiritual. Spirit is what has been lacking. It’s always been there, but I’ve ignored it in favor of worldly chaos.

One thing Weam said makes so much sense. “Look deeper into your negative patterns of thought. What is in your home? What is on your phone? Your television? What kind of pictures are on your walls?”


Weam pointed out that there are metaphors for what we need to heal everywhere. For me that’s especially true in my home. I’ve worked really hard to make my home reflect my spirit. But I could do more. So I brought out my crystals and singing bowl from where they were tucked away on a shelf and put them front and center in my writing room. I turned off the television and turned inward. And as I hoped it would, this retreat into spirit has unburdened my soul and renewed me for the journey ahead.



Coming Out of the Cold Dark Cave

I woke up this morning and nothing hurt. Not my heart, not my knee, not my spine, not my belly with its girdle of barbed wire. True, I’d only had six hours of sleep, but I’ll take it. Nothing hurts. All is well. Like a miracle I am me again. And all it took was one year and two gallons of ardent coral paint.


When you live with situational depression, in my case I had a falling-apart marriage and a too-stressful job, or chronic physical pain that almost comically morphs from torn ACL to fractured bone to shingles to strep throat with all the pills and their side effects in between, and one thing just happens after the next, there comes a point where you accept the pain and learn to live along side it. I don’t want to say I made friends with the pain, but I didn’t try to ditch it every second of every day anymore. I sat with it. I let myself feel it.


I’m a reader and a meditator, I have tools. First I got a therapist. There’s something about cognitive therapy that feels like unpicking a knotted gold chain. And another thing happens calls transference. Sometimes the patient (that’s me) transfers her anger, pain, distress, or even love onto her therapist. In my case, I transferred my friend-gene. I had lost the ability almost entirely to talk to my friends. Physical sickness does that to me. And I didn’t want to tell anyone about my crumbling marriage, either. So Dr. B became my confidant, she became my best friend and gold knot untangler. Stars did she do a heavenly job.

We were almost done with the mental aspects, and the marriage was looking pretty good, when the physical stuff hit. Dr. B, like any good best friend, stuck with me through that because I needed her to cope with the way the pain wore me down and also all the pills. My aim is to get out of this cold dark cave un-addicted to food, to pills, to wine, to whining. I want nothing less than shining health.


See that light on top of the room? Al brought that home for me from his travels. It had been his mothers and his father had given it to him. Now Harrison men are not vocal in their appreciation and love, but I knew that Al’s dad didn’t give Al the light for his man cave. And I knew Al didn’t show it to me so I could say it was pretty. I knew it  for the gift it was. Love of a mom no longer with us shining down on my new room where I can write in peace on the other side of a year of pain.

Burning Regrets

IMG_1145Been feeling some regret lately and wanted to let it go. October was a tough month for me and really, September was only a little better. In those weeks, I had more bad days than good. Wrote 500 pages trying to understand myself and the emotional journey I found myself on, at age 59, when I’m supposed to be wise and know stuff and not have regrets because I know better than to do the things that I will regret.

So not true. And regret was one thing that hid itself, sly fox. I was depressed, I was sad, I was confused, I was stressed. But regrets? Hadn’t thought about those. Until a chance remark made by another person made me think: wow, I have so many regrets. I’m hanging on to them and they are dragging me down. Once I finally copped to the situation, it was time to get to work on burning those regrets. Literally.

Last night I wrote out about ten pages of regrets I had about hurting people, making bad choices, getting lost, you name it, I wrote it down. Something funny happened while I was writing. I started to realize that some of the things I regretted, in fact most of them, I would not change. Given the chance, I wouldn’t change much at all about my life and the way I’ve lived it. I learned so much by the mistakes I’ve made, I’m almost grateful for the suffering it brought.

I do regret hurting others. I can take it; I’m tough. I just wish I didn’t mow innocent others down sometimes in my single-minded determination to do something, big or small, I will later come to regret. But the person hurt most by my actions, I discovered in writing, was myself. There was nobody else to blame, and really, I didn’t want to blame myself anymore, either.

I had to change pens three times writing my little manifesto. Finally I wrote the last page in barely discernible ink. I didn’t want to get another pen. I was tired and my regret was fading just like the ink. Fitting and proper, I thought. So I went to bed, had a nightmare, woke up, and started a fire. I was careful, because I’ve done this particular cleansing ritual before, so I knew that a pot on the stove is not a good idea. Neither is a match on the sidewalk.

But I wanted those pages good and burned and gone forever. And with them my regrets. So I balanced my pizza stone on the kitchen sink, water at the ready, and flicked my bic. I cannot tell you how satisfying it was to watch all that baggage go up in smoke. I won’t be looking back, I finally am unstuck, and I’m moving forward in a healthy way. Still, sorry to anyone singed along the way. Sincerely.

Need to let something go? This works for more than regrets. It works for relationships. Burn a picture or a poem or special card. It works for humiliating situations, maybe fired from a job, maybe held up to ridicule or judgement for one thing or another. The incident doesn’t matter, what matters is that it is over except in your head. Get it out and on paper and then burn that sucker down.

The charred remains will satisfy you in an inexplicable way. Just make sure to douse the fire and maybe even soak the ashes and bits of stray paper before tossing them in the trash where they belong. Be safe, be happy, be renewed. Balance your books and forgive yourself. Of course I’m saying all of this to myself as well. Namaste.IMG_1148