This past week there were a few incidents in my life, including a trip into the country to a farm to bring home my kitten, Sulis, (named for the goddess of Bath, England) that caused me to take a trip down Memory Lane. One thing leads to another and soon I found myself thinking about all the enjoyment that I have had facilitating Life-Writing classes – and I thought my blog this week could be an introduction to Life-Writing, should you be unfamiliar with it.
Life-Writing is personal reminiscence non-fiction writing. It is spirit-centered writing . It emanates from our hearts and souls onto the paper. In fact, this form of writing resembles journaling as it explores so deeply the roots of personal experiences.
Writing about our life is an amazing journey of self-discovery and for many people a very helpful healing tool. For some of us it may be the first opportunity we have had to really examine ourselves, our relationships and the events and circumstances of our lives. Not only is it immensely therapeutic for most people, but it also serves as a written legacy for family, friends and sometimes a wider audience.
What begins for many people as a desire to write a few short stories for their children and grandchildren often ends with either a completed memoir or else a very substantial account that is rich with personal wisdom and also social history.
What better gift can we give to others than the gift of our true self? In telling our story we give ourselves permission to tell who we REALLY are. Honestly. This also inspires others to do the same.
Life-Writers often begin with a feeling that they won’t remember many details of events in their lives and then are surprised to discover that they have seemingly endless stories once the process is underway. A veritable Pandora’s box is opened up and the journey contains numerous surprises.
Like any amazing adventure there are some unsettling times along the way as some long-repressed memories can surface to be examined and then released. For the most part though, the majority of participants find great delight and pleasure in the long-forgotten and sometimes seemingly trivial episodes of their life story.
While there are many good reasons to join a group and have a Life-Writing facilitator, it is not essential. Everyone can write about their life if they have the desire and the will to do so. It involves making the commitment and setting aside some time regularly to write.
Often people are concerned about how to begin the process. It is usually best to find a period of your life that has special significance for you and start with that. For example, this might be an episode in your life that you realized later on was a turning point. Following this suggestion generally gets you going and one story leads to another and so it continues.
Remembering to write about your feelings as well as your thoughts and actions creates a richer experience for yourself and for those who read your stories, memoir or autobiography. Including details such as colours, sizes, shapes and textures makes the stories more visual and evocative.
There are a myriad of ways to get your memory going. One of them is to make lists of your favourite movies, books, foods, clothes, and songs for various periods of your life. Another is to interview people from your past. Also, looking at photo albums and observing the body language is another. These are but a few examples; there are too many to list.
There is no right or wrong way to be a Life-Writer. There is only YOUR way. The purpose of Life-Writing is not to write like anyone else. Nor is it to produce a dreamy picture of a perfect life. It is to produce an honest, lively account of many years of changes and growth that is a pleasure and a joy for you and for those who love you.
Love and Light, Monica