I attended a workshop last weekend based on writing and healing. I’ve done this one before. A few years ago when first the pull of the pen had raised its expectations from me, I began seeking out several workshops. I met Sherry when she was first piecing this workshop together.
I now consider her a friend.
This past year has pulled me in directions I’d never intended and I’ve been feeling the desire to reconnect to this craft that I love. Not that I haven’t been writing. Quite the contraire.
I wanted to take it to another level and share this.
Explore it further. Let it grow, develop and nurture my skill within this realm.
There were nine of us in attendance on Saturday. Sherry went through the information with a congeniality and passion that always shines through. We came to the point in the workshop where we are required to write without pause for 20-25 minutes.
A previous exercise had planted a thought for me to explore and I did. Upon completion were asked a series of questions to which we wrote down our response using our less dominant hand.
Then came the time to share. I understand the hesitance of sharing the written word for many. Even more so in an exercise such as this because it is so raw, so organic and so revealing. In a sense we are baring our souls to one another.
I offered to go first simply because I am familiar with this process and it doesn’t intimidate as it once did.
And as the others shared their pieces, I found myself humbled and grateful to be a part of this group.
Each telling gave a peek inside their very being. The gaiety of smiles previously worn now held that fragility I rarely get to experience with fellow writers. Let me tell you, when this occurs it is truly a magical moment.
I had arrived at the same time as Eileen and Mitzy. I would later discover they’ve shared a friendship that extends 30 years.
As to their age I would hazard to guess that they are perhaps in their mid to late 60’s.
Both women were dressed in demure fashions for an aging gal. They dress for comfort now. It is I think sometimes a rite of passage. Both ladies colour their hair to cover the grey. I guess this too becomes a personal preference as I know many women who’ve opted to just let nature take its course.
And either way that’s cool.
I loved that they’d come to this workshop. I loved that they were still curious and wanting. Still exploring what’s in their hearts and in their minds.
Eileen began to read her piece. Shy and hesitant as she read, I was taken into the soul of woman who had a deep love of music, in particular the Blues. This passion of hers had taken her to many points on this globe.
She spoke of being one of two white people at a James Brown concert. Of how the tears had rolled down her cheek as he etched the rhythms of his life into her very being.
I felt her love, her passion, her drive which is still very much alive in her.
Then Eileen spoke of books. Of how the years fell away when she happened upon a favorite from her youth.
Eileen looks like someone’s beloved grandmother. You would never have guessed that she once traveled to and rocked it out at several Blues’ festivals, James Brown being just one.
Perhaps that’s the disconnect these days.
More often than not aging is now treated as disease, an affliction. And there is a ‘cure’ for this or so we are told.
Now that we are no longer in our prime we no longer matter. Yet we do. Our energy, our love, our passions are what we pay forward. The wrinkles and creases that will inevitably come I for one will embrace.
Then Mitzy’s turn came to read and she was so reluctant to share her piece. With gentle nudging and encouragement from Sherry she did.
By the end of the piece I had been reduced to tears.
Mitzy had, in short order, poured her soul onto the page. All of her vulnerability was laid bare, raw and so profound.
The pain of being judged, the extreme hurt at simply wanting to be seen, heard and acknowledged. To be given that dignity that should never have been in question to begin with.
I could identify with the emotions she’d spilled upon the paper.
There was an eloquence in her words as with the others.
Maureen took us to a union with her love. She walked us down a path lined with lilacs and sweet fragrances that seemed out-of-place for the prison that she was approaching. Her love just happened to be in prison.
The sights and smells that her piece elicited, the surreal quality that it lent, the pain and the hope was all there in exquisite detail.
And Laurie had written about a consuming depression she’d experienced during the pregnancy and the birth of her daughter. All the stresses in her life at that time and the guilt felt at not wanting this child at that moment in time. Of feeling so torn and shackled.
Ronald too spoke of the birth of his daughter from a vantage point we don’t often hear about.
And as I left the workshop, I felt a connection to each person there. I was again reminded of my roots, my humanity and my deep appreciation for this life. I left with a renewed conviction to live this life fully, with passion and with love every day!
I stepped back out into a cloudless day knowing the lives that had touched mine will forever have an impact.
That is the reward. Right there. I was able to look a little further into the human experience through the eyes of another and make it mine to honour.
Enjoy your day.