Last week I went to a writing class. It was not your big name, large audience type of writing class. There were no big name authors, no fan girl types in the group. No large audience attended, we were not in a big conference center. But that didn’t stop the class from having a very powerful impact. Instead of the big name/big room, we had something smaller. Something a little more intimate. Something a little more special. We met at a small studio in downtown Greenville, SC.
When we signed up for the event on Facebook, we were told: “Using creative writing techniques, participants will explore moments of their past that have caused unresolved hurt or shame, will write what acknowledgement, apology or reparation they might want, and envision what their lives might be like if they could relinquish resentment, indignation and anger.” Sounds pretty straight forward, easy enough. I thought about a few things that I could work on (I wish I only had one thing, but that’s just not realistic. ) So I had something in mind to work on, and even though I debated a couple of times throughout the day about going, I headed out to meet a friend and we drove over to the studio.
Now, any of you that follow my blog or pop over from time to time will have noticed that I haven’t had much to say lately. I really can’t say why either, other than a couple of little points I made in my last post about missing Paris and feeling depressed off and on. It’s not like me in real life to be silent for so long either, so I went to this class hoping it would prime my pump so to speak, for writing and sharing again. The class was also part of a bigger event called “The Forgiveness Project – The ‘F’ Word” which was being hosted by Greenville Yoga and Raspberry Moon Skin Therapy. I hadn’t had time to view the exhibit before the class, so I spent a few minutes with my friend beforehand reading through part of the stories the exhibit shared. It was touching and inspiring and awesome and a little scary all at the same time. You can read lots of stories of forgiveness overcoming tragedy on their website too, so pop over there and dip your toes in too. We had been greeted as we entered the class by Heather, who was our facilitator that night and we started preparing our space for our class.
With a combination of a little of the stories from the exhibit still running through my mind, as well as the bits and pieces of stuff I had been thinking of working on, I sat down on a mat and leaned slightly against a wall for support and listened as Heather began to explain, to open the door to the wonderland she was preparing to take us into. She asked for us to settle on an intention for ourselves, what we wanted or hoped to get out of the class. She wanted us sitting comfortably, opening ourselves up to this experience and helping us relax and breathe, just breathe and let go. I was trying to follow her, but was still having a little trouble doing that. But I made myself sit still and start to take deep breaths and voila! I was able to relax and my focus and clarity on what I needed to work on came very quickly. Surprisingly enough it wasn’t any of the things I had thought of before hand. It’s amazing what taking just 3 deep, long breaths can do to calm your body and your thoughts down. There are all sorts of medical studies that prove it works if you want to Google them, but even with that evidence and the Heartmath work I used to do more regularly I forget this simple thing quite often. Yes, I’m sitting here laughing slightly at myself as I type this. A few deep breaths help ease our tension in almost every situation. Remember when you were told to count to ten before your let your anger go? I bet that’s so you can breathe a little to calm down, don’t you?
Anyhow, I breathe and I focus and I listen to Heather’s gentle instruction – Put yourself in your perfect place. The beach, near a river, in the mountains, wherever. Imagine yourself as part of this place and begin writing: “I am…” and include a color, a smell and a texture. She gave us a couple of examples and then gave us time to write. My place was the beach, and the position I saw myself in surprised me but was very illuminating for me. I’ll share my little piece with you tomorrow.
The class continued through 5 writing steps that led us through what the description promised: exploration, acknowledgement, what we hoped from the experience for ourselves, what we hoped for the other person/situation, and writing to let go and move forward. The class was very encouraging to me and I did feel like I can start to write again. I had to shake my head and laugh a little at the end of it though. I didn’t pay anything for this class, we were told we could make a donation as we entered the class if we wanted, but it wasn’t required. Several weeks ago I did pay for a writing class, writing through grief so a little similar in theme if not emotion. However, that class was not as fruitful for me. It goes to show you never know where your muse or inspiration will land sometimes.
I am really thankful and very happy that I joined the class that evening. I hope to share some of my writings here with you as I continue with my practice of writing through my forgiveness. Who knows? Maybe my muse will talk to your muse, and all of our muses will have our pumps flowing shortly. Talk to you later, Angela