All the forms of personal life writing listed in an earlier post have one thing in common. They help you get in touch with things that you need to be honest about and confront things you’re using up your psychic energy to avoid. This is equally true, whether those things are in your past, in your present or in your future. Writing works to sort life out, clear up misunderstandings, and foster peace long after something has happened, while it’s happening, and even before it has happened.
For example, write out the question, “What do I need to get honest about in my past?”
Is it FEAR? — What people, events or experiences in my past still cause me fear?
Is it ANGER? — How about what made me mad and I’ve kept it a secret while trying to appear okay with what happened?
Is it SADNESS? — Or what deep sadness have I tried to pretend didn’t hurt like it did?
Is it GUILT? — What about things that I feel responsible (i.e.—guilty, ashamed) for?
As you seek and surrender to any of these pent up (or as the scriptures put it, “harbored”) feelings, you might find yourself pouring out your long ignored feelings in a journal entry about an event or set of circumstances you’ve tried to brush off as unimportant. Or you may find yourself writing a letter to someone (to mail or not), telling them the 100% truth you’ve never expressed to them, but desperately need to.
Or you can focus the same questions on your present. What in your present makes you afraid, worried, upset, mad, sad, guilty, ashamed?
You can even do the same thing about the future! What do you picture in your future that tempts you to feel any of those feelings?
Pretending there’s nothing saddening, maddening, frightening, guilt-tripping enough in this life to honestly admit to myself and to God is what keeps me unsettled, upset. And when I feel those kind of feelings and don’t admit them honestly to myself I “stuff” them and numb them with unhealthy eating. This is why doing personal life writing (just for me to see what I think, feel, hope, fear, . . . by seeing what emerges on the page) is one of the most important tools in keeping me sane around food.