On Monday evenings there is an informal gathering of writers in the art studio building on the campus of SWC. Facilitated by Ann Filemyr, this group in dedicated to self exploration and expression through writing. The rules are simple: keep your hand moving, suspend judgment, and it is OK to write bad stuff. The exercises use prompts to help us find a starting point, and each experience lasts from 5-15 minutes. We are invited to share our words with one another (or not) and the only response is for the others to mirror words and phrases that resonated with the listeners back to the writer. It is a very simple approach, but the results are often profound and moving.
One evening, I was asked to provide a writing prompt, and without putting any real thought into it, I asked everyone to use their own name as the starting point. Little did I know how powerful this could be, especially for me.
The first semester at SWC asks students to look deeply within and as a result, many buried feelings and unresolved issues come to the surface for many of us. I know I have had my fair share of old issues bubble up and I have come face-to-face with myself as a child, and she is very frightened and grieving. As I was thinking about my name, I found myself writing a love letter to this frightened little girl who still lives within me, and I wanted to share it with you.
I want to write a love letter to you, my dearest Beth. As a child, you were not Beth, but Beth stands on those brave bones. My pen stops short, afraid to write you back to life, yet instinctively knowing you are right here with me. Beth is strong because you did not know how to be. Beth is compassionate because you were never taught was compassion could really be. You, this Beth-in-waiting, are the best parts of who I am today. Your time of grief has come to an end and it is time to lead you back into the light. Your eyes see in shades of purple fire and I just realized I have been writing and drawing for you our entire lifetime. It is time to embrace the rainbows and find what is on the other side. You are not alone, and neither am I.
I found this exercise to be extremely profound, and I encourage any of you who might be so moved to write a love letter to yourself, at any age. You might just be surprised by what comes up and how powerful this simple activity can be. Tending our own inner children is a wonderful path toward self acceptance and true love.