I have learned so much about communication and presence by writing with other women in a structured way. I joined a women’s writing circle many years ago, and I’ve been forever changed. I took some breaks, but I keep returning to the page, and I can’t help but be reminded over and over again as to how this type of showing up has made me a better version of myself because I’ve gotten the chance to process my life on the page. Here are some of the benefits I continue to experience as I circle with women and write:
- I’ve learned to communicate with myself: I can synthesize what I am feeling, thinking, experiencing, whether it be in my physical, emotional, or mental self. If I can’t write in a moment when I really need to express myself, I turn to the page in my head, and I automatically relax because words come to me in this state.
One handy writing prompt I like to use is: What I want to say is….
- I am a better verbal communicator. I do not have so much stuff piled up, waiting patiently, or not-so-patiently, for me to open the door. I say what I need to say because I am a frequent writer, so I get things off of my chest regularly. When I get stuck in a conversation, I return to a familiar writing prompt and it unlocks my lips.
My husband and my children get the benefit of me often saying, “What I really want to say is…” and it’s coherent.
- I can recognize my inner editor, and she doesn’t just hover over the page–she’s in my head, too. I am very familiar with her as I work around her on the page all the time. I can feel her shadow as she moves through me, and I can see her, invite her to share her side, and then move on about the business of buying a swimming suit….
- I am able to notice my physical body when I write and that translates into non-writing awareness. When my hand gets tired because I am gripping the pen, I have to pause and check in with what is going on in my heart, and I dump it onto the page. I have begun noticing and checking in with my body away from writing. My physical body is such a barometer for what is going on internally, that I try to use her and listen to her instead of ignore her!
- I have developed a writing practice that sustains me. I always knew I was a writer, but now I recognize that the benefits of writing outweigh the weight of considering myself to be one–a published one. I like to write; therefore, I write. I write; therefore, I am a writer. See how easy that is? I don’t have to publish a book before I can call myself a writer.
- I have found freedom. I am who I am in any given moment on the page, and I have learned about the grace involved with the journey. I no longer feel the dichotomy between the journey and the destination. I don’t have to “arrive” anywhere to be free. I show up on the page, Grace meets me there, and we carry on with hands joined.
- I notice the details in my every day life–especially how tiny gentleness is, the beauty of a simple moment, the peace in a shaft of sunlight. I’ve learned to write about morning rituals, the color red, the memory of a sound–in perfect detail. Instead of locking me in, these details release me because I see how gorgeous a heaping spoonful of coffee grounds is, and I long to savor each moment as I do when I am remembering on the page.
If you are interested in joining me in Circle, reach out. I’d love to have you. I’d love to write with you. I’d love to get to know you. A new Circle is forming in March and another in April, 2015. Feel free to get in touch with me if you want to find out more.
Photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography / Foter.com / CC BY