IS WRITING THE PATH TO OUR DREAMS?
To live one's own personal dream is one of the greatest achievements of all. Mine was to break away from the chains of a cruel past; to find my true self!!! There are many routes and paths we may decide to take, this is simply a personal choice. Those of us who possess the yearning to write may decide to use this as our leading path, which is what I did and this was the beginning of my journey........................
Writing can be a therapy; the actual word therapy is derived from the Greek form 'therapies', this means 'treatment. ‘those of us who turn to writing when we are experiencing hardships may subconsciously be finding a way of exploring issues that are painful and/or deeply buried. It is also a perusal of paths that lead to the greatest of human achievements: to feel truly whole!!!
Writing is a subject that has been very close to my heart.................I have always written from a very young age, and when small I always enjoyed writing stories and placing myself as one of the characters. I was always the tomboy! Today I think it was an escape route from a painful and unhappy childhood?? The inevitable psychological scars formed and inhibited me from living life as ME! Who was I? Looking back I had no idea; the 'ME' I had created was surrounded by barriers and I felt so safe inside them. It was almost as if they were a 'cocoon', with me snuggled safe and warm in their midst.
This 'cocoon' was to remain with me for the first four decades of my life but the longing to bravely emerge from their midst and venture out into the big wide world would always rear its head every so often to be quickly pushed back down out of sight again. It was like being two separate beings; there was the one I had created myself, made myself become and there was the other one; the one I knew I could be but at the same time there was too much heartache to face up to! I couldn't even think about breaking loose of those barriers!! However the day came when I no longer needed the safety of my 'cocoon'..............
Ten years ago I received the heart-breaking news that my only sister Val had passed away!!! She was very talented musically and in her younger years had won a scholarship to the 'London Royal College of Music'. Val was a beautiful person in all respects and had a kind and generous nature. Everyone who knew her loved her!!
Sadly life and all its cruelty became too much for her to bear and in very tragic circumstances Val took her own life!! About two weeks after her death I wrote my first poem, and slowly over the next two years more poems flooded out until I had written eighteen!
Most of these poems were about the countryside in the welsh sea-side town where we grew up. Two of them were about escapades involving my own children; I wanted to share these precious memories with her as she had missed out on having a family of her own.
I did not realise at the time but I was taking myself on a journey of 'self-healing'. I grew stronger every day and realised that I no longer wanted to stay in the comfort of my 'cocoon' and climbed out feeling a bit shaky and apprehensive but with a determination that I never knew I possessed!!
Next came the search for the real 'me'. I had to succeed and searched my heart and soul in order to achieve this. The path at times was very painful and rocky but with true grit and determination it is possible to remain walking along this path, growing stronger with each step!! I did at the very end emerge a happier, stronger person and the world seemed to be a happier and brighter place!! I also found that I could cope with life’s ups and downs in a more positive manner!! These poems had to be written in our mother language and the obvious place for them to be printed? Where else but back in our home town! They had to go back to our roots; I gave copies to certain people who had known us when we were growing up and to very close friends.
The minister who conducted Val's funeral services is now using these poems in her work with adults who suffer from mental health problems due to suffering abuse as children.
However my journey was not at an end, there were many more changes I had to make to my life, some were very painful and so difficult but I had to find my dream. I strongly followed my gut instinct and did not let go!!
Freud and many other psychiatrists have all learnt from the poet's insight into the unconscious and its inner workings. Certain words and rhythms arise naturally when we speak from the heart and this courage is often all that is needed to get the writing going.
There can be nothing more beneficial in our healing than nature itself.
Colour Therapy is a recognised healing treatment; sometimes nothing can be more therapeutic than imagining your favourite place, maybe a field full of daffodils or your favourite flowers, a walk by the calming blue of the sea and refreshing yellow sands. Imagine you are there, breathe in the smells. I incorporated these into my writing.........................
William Wordsworth was a great believer in nature and it's wonders. He used his poetry to look at the relationship between nature and human life, and to explore the belief that nature can have an impact on our emotional and spiritual lives. His famous poem ‘daffodils’ was composed in 1804, two years after he saw the flowers, walking by Ullswater on a stormy day with his sister Dorothy. Let's look at the last verse:
‘When oft, on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that outward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude?
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.’
That vision never left him and when he felt the need the joy of that moment would return. Wordsworth wrote very little poetry about his early childhood, the one really important occurrence in The Prelude which we can relate to this time is when he was s young he ';could scarcely hold a bridle,' he becomes separated from his guide and is frightened to discover a well-known scene of a murderer's execution. This moment is noted as a 'spot of time' in Book x11. Here are the final lines of that scene;
And think ye not with radiance more sublime
For these remembrances, and for the power
They had left behind? So feeling comes in aid
Of feeling, and diversity of strength
Attend us, if but once we have been string.
What came through to me in this part was what was paramount in his mind when looking back at this incident. Not the great fear and loneliness that he had obviously felt the strength that he possessed to overcome these feelings. I always try to look for the positives, and not dwell for too long on the negatives. We should all be aware of the inner strength we possess to overcome hurdles; a triumph I am well proud of.
Another aspect I often use in my writing is the therapy we gain from our pets; through animals we develop
Empathy: children who are bought up with animals in the home are sometimes considered to be more empathetic than those brought up without. Animal psychology is very simple, what you see is what you get. Humans are not so direct.
Nurturing: most of us learn this from our parents, those who do not very often learn from taking care of their pets.
Acceptance: animals don't care how a person looks; an animal’s acceptance is, forgiving, non-judgemental and uncomplicated by any psychological and dangerous mind games that people play.
Some well-known authors have described their relationship with animals and nature as part of their life energy and their relationship with God.
Most of the stories I wrote as a child and for my children as they were growing up involved animals and the country side.
Another aspect I have often included when writing is laughter/humour;
Laughter is one of the easiest ways to free our tangled thoughts and find inner peace. This is why some of the poems in the book I wrote in my sister's memory had to include these factors; after all these are qualities that I do still possess and I am very grateful for that.
I urge all writers/would be writers who need to find their dream to never give up, no matter how unobtainable these dreams may seem to be at times. Find the determination and courage to fight on, to walk the length of you r rocky and sometimes very painful road with your head held high. Some paths will be very rocky and frightening, some others may be so dark that you will not be sure if you are going in the right direction, but hang on to your gut instinct and do not let that grasping hand go, put trust and belief into your journey and the glorious light will shine down on you for all to see. It does not mean that the remainder of your life will be stress and heartache free; last year I lost my beautiful youngest daughter and the pain and grief is sometimes almost unbearable but again my writing has been my saviour and I am now writing a book in her memory as well as having set up a charity in her name connected with a children's hospice.
My journey has filled me with self-pride and strength; a strength that will stay with me for the remainder of my life!!! My closing message to you all is to never give up on your dreams no matter how unobtainable they may seem. Whichever route you decide to take, grit your teeth and never give in!!! You will win in the end and believe me as someone who has walked along the rough and smooth of this road it is definitely worth it!!! Eleven years have now elapsed since I began my journey and today I definitely hold my head up high because I know that I have made it; and I have emerged a winner!!
Take care and the best of luck to you all. I hope that those of you, who need to, will find your true selves whichever route you may decide to take. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.