Writing as Healing Practice

There is power in what is most strange, beautiful and vulnerable

In 2019, I announced my writing coach service: Writing as Healing Practice. Many expressed interest and wanted to know more. Writing as a Healing Practice is a writing coach service rooted in sensory and emotional awareness. It provides support in understanding and re-imagining personal conflicts through language. Each week, I will share one feature of my approach. Here’s 1. Discover how personal struggles can fuel creativity.

Teachers have the ability to awake or deaden the poetic instinct. Ironically, my first experiences with poetry were tortured and negative. In an authoritarian post-Soviet school system, I am the poet who first hated poetry. I didn’t know that we all had the instinct to let the imagination roam with words. But in high school, I kept coming back to poetry. It didn’t start with poetry books, but it did begin with words, with text: song lyrics.

It was the words of singer-songwriters that showed me that there is power in what is most strange, beautiful and vulnerable in me. Poetry requires nothing, no money or prestige, yet it allows the poet to create something of unquantifiable value. In fact, poking for the roots of the word poetry, we find the Greek word poesis: which means simply: to make.

Whatever poetry requires lies deep in the imagination and the inner experience of the maker. In college, when I realized that poetry is what I am called to do, I turned to writing from personal struggles: chronic pain, anxiety, interfaith relationship, the loss of spiritual certainty. Just last week, one of my favorite poets Phillip B Williams @pbw_poet shared how meaningful poetry was in getting through his depression.

I post this book by Anne Becker because it revealed an unquatifiable value to me. As many of my friends and I approach thirty, we are making healthy lifestyle choices. This has led to a guilt, health anxiety, and a distrust of the body. I am so thankful for books like these as well as the doctors, counselors, family and friends who help me trust my body again. This is one example, of many, of the kinds of poems we will use to understand our struggles.