Therapeutic Writing Exercise For Times of Crisis (some might call it witchcraft)

We all know that writing is therapeutic. It allows us to get our emotions out and on a page, separates them from us and lets us look them straight in the eye and say ‘not today!’

I want to release you from the burdensome notion that all writing has to sound great, look great and read great. Writing is just letters strung in order, and can be used as a tool, as well as an art.

(That said, there is also something immensely satisfying about creating something beautiful out of something ugly, so if that is what you’re about- please do that too!)

I have been doing rituals like this for years, and they are immensely helpful for my own mental wellbeing, and while they may not solve every single one of your problems, they feel damn good, I promise you. Members of your family may look at you strangely when you start burning bits of paper, but now my partner is so used to me foraging in the garden for rocks and depleting the herb cupboard, that it is barely worth his time to comment.

So, get cosy, light a candle and grab your notebook, this is going to be fun.

Step 1- Write down all of your emotions

…and I mean all of them. Don’t hold back, you want to dig into the deepest recesses of your mind for this one. Of course as I am writing this we are in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, so there is plenty for me to write at the moment!

Here’s mine:

fear of depression getting really bad

physical pain increasing

loved ones may get ill

lack of money

career going nowhere

website failing

not able to get where I want

foster dog not getting a home

wedding may be cancelled

Step 2- Synthesise them

Choose a key word or two for each point you have listed.

Here’s mine:

Depression

pain

anxiety

Death

Poverty

Failure

Burden

Cancelled Plans

Step 3- Think of solutions and create a little poem

Take your time with this, look at each point objectively and consider if there’s anything that you can do about it, if not, let that be part of your poem. For example, with my wedding- if it gets cancelled we will still get married, just on a different day. There is nothing to do about it other than try to remain calm while we see what happens, while knowing that no matter what happens, we will be okay. Don’t worry about this being a masterpiece, it just needs to convey the message. Make it easy to read, calming, reassuring and concise.

Here’s mine:

Our community is strong,

my family is strong

Time to heal, time to grow

it will come together

Just take it slow

Step 4- Remove the vowels and condense

Get your list of worries and remove the vowels. This is similar to sigil making- it does a similar job by capturing the essence of your worries and at a glance, you can probably pick them all out. (What was I saying about words being tools, just letters strung together. This is what I meant)

Here’s mine:

DPRSNXTYHVFLBC

Step 5- Burn it! While repeating your poem

Repeat it as many times as you need to, watch the little piece of paper burn away and imagine your worries buggering off with it. It might sound silly, but doesn’t it feel great?! When you’re done, if you want a bit more closure and witchy flair, throw the ashes into the wind! You can come back to the exercise as many times as you like, I like to think of it as mental spring cleaning, pulling all those grim, slimy thoughts from the back of your head and chucking them away.

I really hope that this helped some of you and inspired you to give it a go!

Stay safe

R G Wood

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