I’m not sure how I got on this track, but I’ve been thinking about how much I’ve changed in the past 5 years. This May marks the completion of my 55th cycle around the sun in this lifetime.
Five years ago, I was writing a letter each week to one of 50 people who’d been a great impact on my life. Those 50 letters to 50 people for my 50th birthday year changed me forever. They blew open the cracks in my armour, bringing in the light. They gave me the ability to forgive (especially myself), let go of the old stories that held me back, and begin writing a new life.
Several years ago, I was challenged to teach what I do intuitively — write from my heart. The process began with cobbling together the Writing From the Heart method from a lifelong love of taking courses, books I’ve read and distilled, solo travel to the Southwestern US, and some preferences for the way I learn. It has culminated in realizing that I’m far more passionate about helping people to find their writing voice, to unlock their stories, and to heal from their pasts than I have ever been about copy and content writing for others.
I didn’t know when I started on this journey that I’d heal parts of my past I didn’t understand we're hurting, and I certainly didn’t know that I’d have the power to create positive change in the world by helping others to do the same.
A FORM OF MEDITATION
Before I started Writing From the Heart, I yearned to still my mind and hear the voice of knowing. When I discovered that there was more to Yo Yo Ma’s unaccompanied cello suites than just music I could write to, I knew I was onto something.
It was music that soothed my savage breast, calmed and stilled my mind, and allowed me to sink into a form of meditation that keeps me writing for hours.
THE WILLINGNESS TO BE VULNERABLE
Once I began teaching Writing From the Heart in small group settings, asking the people with whom I’d shared the practice to read out loud what they’d written, I witnessed the inspiring acts of bravery required to bare their heart to a group of strangers. It’s challenged me to more bravely share my stories, thoughts, and opinions.
Our fear of judgement is strong. But never so strong as the judgement that our own inner critic passes down. And yet, there’s nothing more liberating than to finally speak the truth that’s in our heart.
A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
I’ve felt such grief while writing from my heart; all I could do was cry until the pain leaked out of me. I’ve felt such joy in my heart; all I could do was cry with thankfulness. And I’ve felt such love filling me up; all I could do was cry at the indescribable beauty of it.
Writing in my journal is always the desire to connect with the Divine in me. It’s opening myself up to bask in the energy of pure love, allowing its beauty to fill me with innocence, and releasing that same purifying love out into the energy of the world beyond me.
THE ABILITY TO SEE FROM DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES
There have been many times in my Writing From the Heart practice when I’ve walked nose-first into a doorway I didn’t previously know existed. Once, when I was bemoaning the challenges of having a freelance business, I followed a gentle path of enquiry all the way to my father, who was a baker, and who like me, owned his own business. He overcame great resistance from his own father, when after being discharged from the army at the end of World War II, he was rewarded with free schooling, as Canada sought to rebuild the country from the loss of so many men.
My father had a tumultuous relationship with his father. He was a sensitive boy and sought refuge from his anger by spending as much time in the kitchen with his mother as he could. When he was rewarded for his service with his choice of trades, he chose to follow his heart, despite his father’s disapproval. He became a baker, which rewarded him with a sense of capability and accomplishment he rarely found anywhere but in the kitchen. I feel the same about writing. It’s worthy of all the resistance I wade through.
We’re the sum of all our experiences. When we adjust the prism of our experience to a new angle, we can see our past with a different perspective and with a changed colour palette. We may find the very source of our pain is also the greatest source of our strength.
A SAFE HAVEN FOR MY RUMBLING THOUGHTS
I find that my journal is the best place for me to work through my troubles. I can start out stirred up with white hot anger, and come out the other end of a practice in calm acceptance, or at least with a small understanding of the role I played in the events that stirred me up so.
Women who lived with grace during a time when there were few options open to them — except the roles of wife, governess, nun, or certain disgrace — often turned to writing to voice their anger and yearning for a life that today we are blessed to take for granted. I’m thankful for both my journal and the age I live in.
ACCESS TO THE VOICE OF KNOWING
I remember one day doing a writing practice and suddenly understanding that I’ve heard what I call The Voice of Knowing, my entire life. I somehow expected this voice to be different, more like the booming echoing voice, I envisioned biblical characters heard.
In that moment I discovered this voice had always been with me — urging me to follow my heart, speak up, don’t settle, love more. It was just my regular voice, and yet it was a softer voice of Love that sometimes still gets lost under the melée of my more strident voices of Contempt and Fear. They speak louder, faster, and far more imperiously than the voice of Love.
CONNECTIONS TO LOVED ONES WHO ARE NO LONGER LIVING
When I experienced my Soul Journey in December 2014, on the very first day of arriving in Arizona, I had an experience while driving to Sedona with EagleSpirit. One moment we were happily eating a newly discovered taste sensation of salty potato chips, dark chocolate, and candied ginger. In the next moment, I was choking on the water I’d inhaled, almost to the point of panicking for lack of air.
Things took a turn in the passenger seat (also known as the processing seat) as in the next few moments I found myself hearing the voice of my mother, who’d been dead for 22 years. She said to me, “Don’t be afraid. Say what you need to say, for I never could.”
Rarely since then have I ever heard her actual voice, but we can reach each other through the written page. In Sedona, she told me she was “wrapping me in a blanket of love,” and that’s how I would know she was there. The blanket of love feels cold on my back and arms.
Now, when I feel her presence, I take up the pen to hear her voice and she tells me of the things she’s learned since going home.
CONVERSATIONS WITH MY LITTLE
Only recently, I learned the healing power of writing with my non-dominant hand. I’d already experienced hearing The Voice of Knowing in my writing practice, but when I asked her to speak to me, she told me she wanted to play more, worry less, and not have to stick up for me — all the time!
For a very long time, I’ve felt that I was a “bad girl” who didn’t deserve to get what I wanted. It’s only in these recent conversations with my inner child that I finally see that I’ve been in a constant battle between my selves. One part of me is my li’l kath whom I love deeply for her moxie. She fully embraces her inner queen, expects to be revered and served, and is willing to act out to get what she believes she deserves. The other part of me is the little girl who was worn down by those that sought to form her in their own likeness by teaching her she was unworthy of receiving the richness of life. She, therefore, isn’t willing to risk expectation and rejection.
I think I'm ready to get to know this little girl instead of dismissing her, to gain her trust and help her to risk daring greatly.
MEMORIES OF PAST LIVES
In other journal writing practices, I’ve experienced powerful feelings that have no direct relation to my current life, except the feelings hold me back in this life as well. In one practice I had a vision of a young Polish boy, whose best friend was a Jew. Although he didn’t realize the implications, he told people in his village about where his friend and family were hiding, seeking to feel important. His best friend was brought to a death camp, where he was exterminated. The Polish boy was called a hero, and while he basked in the glory, he also felt deep shame for having betrayed his best friend. He died a bitter old man, always needing recognition for the good things he did.
We heal in layers. Just like the nesting dolls I’ve written about before, the issue gets smaller and smaller as we uncover its layers. The cords of energy that come from past relationships in this and in past lives, can become hooked into us, which holds us back. Sometimes, the same issue follows us from life to life, waiting for us to cut the cord, or unhook the energy. When we uncover a layer of hurt, it’s time to recognize it, cut its tie to us, and let it go.
RESOLUTION FOR MY RUMINATING
Have you ever found yourself awake at a certain time of night? I call my awake time The 5am Freakout because that's the time I wake up and obsess about something I’ve said or done, worry about money, or about the all of the things I must do. I don’t even look at the clock anymore. When I accept that I won’t be able to go back to sleep, I quietly slip into my office, wrap a blanket around me, turn on a reading light, and write…
I write about everything that comes to mind, spilling it all onto the page, emptying my overactive brain until I feel a sleepiness seeping in its place. Since I’ve already got my to-do list done, or I’ve followed with gentle enquiry to discover what lies underneath the fear, I can go back to sleep. If I don’t feel sleepy, but calm and peaceful, I’ll start in on the work I need to do and allow myself to end my day early, rewarding myself with a walk with my dog Lulu.
That’s quite a lot of change in 5 years, wouldn’t you agree? Do you feel the need to make lasting changes in your life? Writing From the Heart is a good place to start if you're drawn to writing your stories, deepening your understanding of who you are, and healing from your past. If you want to try it, sign up for the FREE Writing From the Heart foundational class.
kathy mercure is a promotional storyteller and storytelling workshop teacher. She helps businesses and people to tell their stories. Writing From the Heart is a journey to unlocking, unblocking and healing your stories so that you can let go of the old, write new stories, and live the life you were meant to live. For more information visit kathymercure.com.