Last week I had a fabulous opportunity. I spoke with a number of highly motivated, talented and creative teachers. I was asked to talk about “Well-being Through Writing.” The teachers brainstormed ways to excite kids about reading and writing. These energetic teachers are designing summer writing camps, working to address bullying issues, and developing ways to provide emotional support--to name just a few of the spheres of their talents and enthusiasm.
How does this relate to this blog and the topic of writing and recovery? One direct way is that writing can lead to well-being and health. That’s the premise behind this blog and what my talk was about.
But really this blog is because there are fabulous people out there and creative energy and talent and inspiration and invigoration and…..so much more. Sometimes you have to look for it or be open to it or be the one behind it.
I often hear within my groups, the fear of displeasing others. Many times symptoms get tied up with the fear of disappointing others or failing their expectations. When I ask people to describe something that they love about themselves, they describe that they care for others. I always challenge them, but do you care for yourself?
Those two issues are so intertwined. You cannot care for others, in a healthy way, if you are not caring for yourself. You cannot help others experience the joy of creative energy, if you are not open to it yourself. You cannot help heal the world, if you are not willing to heal yourself. Does that mean you have to be completely healed? No, but you have to recognize the importance of yourself and what you can bring to others. We have a joke in our family that if you think someone is “normal” you don’t really know them. What this means is that we all have our issues and challenges and foibles and idiosyncrasies and faults and whatever you want to call them. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t inspire others. That doesn’t mean we can’t bring energy to what we love and help others love it too.
Have I gotten off on a tangent? Maybe. But here’s the thought. I don’t know the complete history of each person I met at that conference, but I can tell you I was in the room with energetic and inspiring people. Yet they were people like you and me and everyone else around us. No one in the room had walked off the runway, stepped out of a magazine ad or been photo-shopped into plasticity. We were all real people with real passions and that energy was palpable. Don’t believe that you can’t have any faults in order to be fabulous. Know that you just need to find your passion, find a community to share your passion and work to help that passion grow.
I can tell you that if these teachers believe they have helped one kid find a new excitement in reading, they will feel inspired. That energy and inspiration will help them go on to help another kid and another. And the child who was inspired? Suddenly they will know the difference one person can make in another person’s life. They will go off to help inspire others and that energy will grow from one person to another to another.
- Journal about a time that you felt inspired and invigorated. Were you with a group of people? Were you following your passion? Write about it and try to re-experience some of that energy. Think about how to capture that in your life. (Make sure that it wasn’t a time that your eating disorder was calling the shots—the goal here is to find true inspiration, not the pseudo inspiration that ED promises.)
- Make a list of 100 of all the things you love. Kathleen Adams developed this prompt. Write what you love and makes you excited even if you have to repeat things. Get to 100. Now look back and see what is important to you. Make sure that is finding its way into your life.
- Need some inspiration? Can you volunteer and see the difference one person makes. Journal some ideas of ways that you can get involved. Use the energy that you put into your eating disorder to fill your life with more energy and wonder.
- Journal ways to pamper and care for yourself. These need to be healthy ways! Bubble baths, a night of reading, petting your dog…I don’t know. For another blog, I’ll tell you about my birthday present—a baby goat. For now, I’ll tell you that it is incredibly relaxing to sit, holding her in my lap and having her fall asleep. Even that small event tells me that I can make a difference. I can be a calming force. I’m comforting her and she’s comforting me. Can you find some healthy comfort in your life? Make a list of things to try. Or send a suggestion through the comment section of this blog. If everyone offers an idea, maybe we can start our own community of inspiring others!
Go, Write On!
Martha Peaslee Levine, MD