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Self Discovery

The Healing Power of Self Expression

By Raphael

From the Journal of a Friend

"So I'm sitting on my bed in the midst of this tornado I've created wondering if anybody is as f***ed up as me. (Pause for a few minutes after the first 'as' to make sure I'm 100% comfortable being so true as to say exactly what I feel and risk offending anyone. I decide to be real.) I DON'T want to be f***ed up and I DON'T want to be unusual- as if it would be somehow alright if everybody was sitting on their beds in the midst of papers and glue and files and tootsie rolls.

I hate this part of me. 'So why don't you change?' I truly believe I do try. It's like a see-saw with me. I'm comfortable in the calm sea, in a nice neat house, and my eye can discern when things look nice and are in order, yet then I go off and create a swirling dervish of chaos. Momma said today that I take on too much and need to learn to say 'no.' True. So many things excite me and I want to do them all, then I become overwhelmed and want to stay in my bed for the rest of time.

I wind up turning down friends in order to either rest from the madness of my own creation or to try and catch up and reign in some of my projects which never get sufficiently caught up with- and I can't accept this piece of me. It makes me feel I can't do this and it makes me believe I'm not good at living and never will be.

I look at my parents sitting in my house and wonder what they're thinking. Perhaps 'I'm so disappointed' I seem to attribute to Dad. What would Momma say? She's never ever be disappointed in me. I think it overwhelms her. She sits in a corner overlooking my office with a wide eyed look ... is it worry? ... or fear? ... the desire to run out the door maybe? I wonder if my dad thinks I should not be working for myself. With one more hundred dollars I will have made enough to pay the rent but not the bills. Does he wonder what is wrong with me? Do I tell him the truth? That I have tons of work, enough to pay all the bills, but I'm scared sh**less?

I'm scared every day and every day I feel I desperately need help- help figuring it all out or holding my hand or telling me it'll all be alright- I need to feel ok, or secure, or happy, or peaceful, or balanced, or all of these. Do people actually feel these things? I have things to do which I love and yet when the time comes to do them I am scared out of my mind and I want to run and hide. I have wonderful opportunities and I want to cancel every one. Is this how people feel? If so, how do they make it through their lives? If not, how can I grab a rope and hold on?

I wish somebody would come down and tell me the answers. I wish an angel would drop from the sky and hold my hand each day and never ever leave my side and guide me and tell me what to do and how to live. I wish I could live with just a little less pain. I wish for comfort. i wish for relief. I wish to breathe deeply and not have to think. I wish I could close my eyes and feel a smile come across my face, one of those ones that come from deep inside and you're not even trying. I beg God to help me."

I can't emphasize enough the healing power of self expression, especially in dealing with overwhelming emotions like these.

  • Find a friend.
  • Get out your journal.
  • See a therapist.

    And express the things which are troubling to you. Be honest and unafraid of what others may think. This is important. You need a release valve that may be opened whenever your feelings begin piling up and impeding your progress.

    Choose whichever method works for you and let it flow. Sometimes you don't even realize what is at the core of your troubled mind until you begin talking (or writing).

    For years I got together with a group of friends once a week to share what's going on in our daily lives. It's a supportive place where it's ok to cry or tell stories or laugh or just listen. If you don't have a group of friends like this, most towns have support groups where you can go for a similar kind of sharing in a confidential environment

    In The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron recommends writing three pages in your journal each morning. Don't think about what you want to say or how to phrase it. This is just for you and it doesn't need to be written in nice penmanship or correct English. Whenever I do this, it feels like the cobwebs are cleared out and I'm ready for a fresh day.

    Other people write only when they're upset or need to vent their feelings of frustration. "Yell" as much as you want in your journal, rant and rave, get it all out. It's better than letting it build until you let something slip, taking your feelings out on someone else. Or yourself. Keeping it in is like hurting yourself.

    Sometimes we need to hear an unbiased opinion from someone who is not as close to our situation as our friends, someone who is trained to provide solutions to people in crisis. A therapist will not only listen but also advise. Therapy comes in many forms and you may need to experiment with different therapists until you find the one who's right for you.

    You may not realize how much self expression helps until you try it. I often forget and when I rediscover the healing power of communication it's like a miracle. If you're feeling weighted down, please find a way to express yourself, your very own decompression valve. Instead of carrying these burdens around on your back, release the worrisome emotions ... you'll be amazed as your load lightens and a sense of relief washes over you.

    Helpful Resources:

    What's the Point in Morning Pages? My dear friend Shari shares her own experiences with journaling along with helpful tips and techniques:

    Finding a Therapist A therapist can act as a supportive and caring professional to help you through whatever is going on in your life. Because we seek therapy for such deeply personal and often hurtful problems, it is important to find someone you like and respect. Here you will find information on how to find the right theapist for you.

    cover The Artist's Way : A Spiritual Path to... With the basic principle that creative expression is the natural direction of life, Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan lead you through a comprehensive twelve-week program to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity. This book links creativity to spirituality by showing how to connect with the creative energies of the universe, and has spawned a remarkable number of support groups for artists dedicated to practicing the exercises it contains.

    Artist's Way Audio Cassette (Unabridged) The audio companion to the best-selling guide presents a twelve-week program designed to help listeners recover their creativity, overcome blocks and inhibiting forces, and develop true artistic confidence and productivity. Cameron's soft, ethereal voice moves slowly from passage to passage. The recording was made in front of a small group at Cameron's mountain retreat. While an echo indicates the vastness of the space, there's only occasional participation from her companions.

    The Artist's Way Morning Pages Journal A tool for self expression. As well as providing ample space for journaling, this book also features weekly excerpts and quotations from The Artist's Way to guide you along your path.

    Artist's Way Circle This free course lasts for 12 weeks. Each week all 12 lessons are posted so you can choose your lesson for the week and work at your own speed. This group's aim is to help you to find your own path, establish your footing and begin the climb to unlimited creative vistas!

    I welcome you to share your own personal stories and comments. Get in touch: I'd love to hear from you!

    Artwork and Text © 2002 Raphael Blue