As an author and pastoral counselor, I often encourage clients to write as a way to express feelings. I know firsthand from penning my memoir, Gift of the Dreamtime – Awakening to the Divinity of Trauma, that often the synaptic processes fired in the creative act of writing stir emotions, memories, philosophies. Journaling can be a very catabolic undertaking, though the results can be intensely cathartic. From a spiritual standpoint, blending the chronology of events of your life with art is deeply empowering.
Often in response to my suggestion to journal as a means of coping with stress I’m met with conflict around why it won’t work. “I don’t like to write.” “I can’t write well.” “I stare at the paper and nothing comes.” “I don’t have anything to say.” I get some stern looks when I encourage folks carrying these ideologies to write even more than those who greet the opportunity openly. Why? Not because I, personally, love to write, but because if you can put something into words, you’ve already made progress in eliminating the stress. The ability to associate thoughts with feelings goes a long way in taking the charge out of those feelings. Once free of emotional involvement, you can make clearer choices about how to proceed in the dynamic.
Even if you don’t write, give journaling a try. Sit down and write whatever comes. There are no rules or boundaries. Your journal doesn’t have to be your deepest, darkest secrets. You don’t have to approach journaling with any specific intention other than to offer yourself the outlet.
And if nothing comes, write your grocery list. Write you To Do list for the day. Write about how you have nothing to write about. All it takes is getting started. Before you know it you tap into a stream of consciousness and start forming opinions about what you are writing.
Maybe you start writing your grocery list and the thought occurs that for your evening meal you’d rather have mashed potatoes than cabbage, but you have to make cabbage to satisfy your visiting uncle. In making that menu item concession, you have an emotional reaction. You don’t really want to concede the mashed potatoes because since he’s been visiting he’s already taken over control of the television remote, and you’re mad that you missed your favorite show…
This free association is your avenue into cathartic journaling. The synaptic process of writing taps into something primal, personal, pivotal. It appeals to our most basic emotional urges in the limbic system—where we blend metaphor with reality, symbolism with structure. How you react to what comes out gives meaning to your overall need for journaling. Follow where your awareness leads you. Just write it out and let the words come as they will. The more you practice journaling, the easier it becomes. Before long, you will anticipate the luxury of that release.
About S. Kelley Harrell
Kelley is a neoshaman and author in North Carolina. She has been on a shamanic path since 1988, and since 2000 has served her local community and an international client base. Her book Gift of the Dreamtime: Awakening to the Divinity of Trauma chronicles her pivotal step into the role of modern shaman. To support her shamanic work, she draws on energy work, hypnotherapy, and flower essences. A modern Druid, Kelley is an ordained interfaith minister. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, and is currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity.
Kelley writes for several publications, including the Global Goddess Oracle and The Huffington Post, and has been published in many journals and anthologies. Her shamanic practice is Soul Intent Arts, and a major focus of her work is helping modern intuitives assimilate spiritual emergency through private sessions and mentorship in The Tribe of the Modern Mystic Mystery School.
Find a Reader’s Companion to Gift of the Dreamtime at KelleyHarrell.com. Traipse with Kelley around the Internet:
- On Amazon
- SKH on Facebook
- SIA on Facebook
- On Google+
- On Twitter @SKelleyH
- On Twitter @SoulIntentArts
- On GoodReads
- Soul Intent Arts. LLC
- Intentional Insights – Q&A From Within
- The Huffington Post
Intentional Insights Blog, Q&A From Within
About Gift of the Dreamtime – Awakening to the Divinity of Trauma
With a foreward by modern shaman and founder of The Last Mask Center, Christina Pratt, this fantastical memoir chronicles a modern shamanic journey from pain, to healing and accepting a calling to work as a soul healer of others.
Groundbreaking at the time of its first publication in 2004, still no other modern shamanic work shares an experience of soul healing told from within the shamanic narrative, bringing relatable and credible insight to contemporary soul healing.
Through that rare glimpse into her experiences traversing the spirit world, Harrell’s story becomes the reader’s adventure.
Not always easy to read, there are unflinching passages examining hurtful childhood memories, confrontations with overzealous spirit guides, and challenging personal obstacles she must overcome in order to heal.
The book combines Harrell’s personal journey with instructions for creating similar soul journeys to help the injured child in all of us look at the hurt, understand it in a spiritual context, and forgive both ourselves and others.
Praise for Gift of the Dreamtime
Let S. Kelley Harrell guide you on a very special spiritual journey — destination your healed soul! ~ Donna Henes, author of The Queen of My Self
Harrell draws you into the dreamtime as an expert novelist draws you into a great novel and shares with you her experiences and knowledge of the world beyond the veil from the time she was very young. ~ Innerchange Magazine
Harrell’s gift of sharing offers readers insight into how we can learn to understand those things that are beyond our control while gaining control of our own destiny. ~ SageWoman Magazine
In this book that hunger and fear that nibbled and clawed at you and me for years is explained in poetic, experiential detail. Kelley guides us into our own souls, turning the “whys” into wise. ~ Bridgett Walther, author of Conquer the Cosmos
Gift of the Dreamtime is a unique book, an artefact of Harrell’s explorations, valuable to other potential explorers and the curious. ~ Spiral Nature
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