Writing for Wellbeing Workshop – Lyndhurst, September 2017

Something powerful happens when people come together and write. Despite the stormy weather and rain this week as autumn made its presence felt, the sun shone and provided a wonderful backdrop to this day workshop in writing for wellbeing. Ten participants came together with aims that ranged from wanting to explore creativity through writing, incorporating writing practice into therapy work and teaching, to finding a personal path forward in life amidst uncertainty, with a wish for ‘calmness and contemplation’.

As facilitator I am conscious of wanting any group to feel safe enough to be able to put anxieties aside, and the confusion/closeness of feelings of nerves/anxiety versus excitement were acknowledged. It was noted today that the process for each participant of carrying out the various exercises from my verbal instructions was just as revealing as the writing that was produced itself; how excitement, and perhaps the more child-like, creative and playful side of us can get crushed by that negative critical voice that seeks to rubbish our efforts, and our beliefs about how others will perceive our work.

‘Jiggling’ was a new word offered by someone as something they took pleasure in doing– perhaps this means being challenged or prodded in some way – and hoped to achieve for themselves through the workshop. And it did seem as if everyone was ‘jiggled’: through the process of examining what came up for them in the various exercises, and whether there were any linking themes for them that threaded through the day.

With a majority of therapists present today, it was observed that as a collective, ‘we love making connections’. Authentic connection was a phrase that seemed to link most people’s hopes for themselves, both in relations with others, and with the world. A Guided Visualisation that contained a possible message in the form of wise words  pertinent to each participant produced some powerful results; this resulting poem is reproduced with kind permission from Chris:

I am enough

I am enough!

Whatever the scene

I am enough!

Warm breeze
Blue sky
Lush grass
Flowers varied

They are enough and
I am enough!

The flowers waving in the breeze
What is their purpose?
No more or less than mine
To fulfil the role designed for them

To BE!
I am enough
I am enough
To BE!

An exercise in writing prompted by things collected from the sea-shore revealed a powerful common theme about values amongst the group. The paradox in something coming to the end of its life, yet also taking on a new, and different one was reflected in the writing that was produced, illuminating unconscious thoughts unique to each individual’s personal situation. Someone reflected:  ‘I was struck by how quickly writing about an object became writing about self’.

 

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As participants took stock at the end of their day, it was expressed how the act of reading their work aloud and having it heard by others helped to ’embed’ it a bit better, illuminating what another termed some of the many ‘catacombs of the unconscious mind’.

An inspiring day amidst much ‘jiggling’ for us all!

 

“I knew there were stories inside me for which I needed to find a voice. Jo’s writing workshop was a gentle, well structured and supportive introduction to finding a way into writing. It was a revelation to discover some of the unknown and unheard narratives inside me and the others with whom I shared the day. I recommend it highly…” – Sue

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