Toxicity, Release, and Writing
Henry Miller said,
"The more I wrote, the more I became a human being...I was getting the poison out of my system."
I used to think 'poison' in this quote referred only to the dark, “unhelpful,” painful emotions themselves, such as worry, anger, fear, grief, confusion, resentment, envy, self-doubt, anxiety, boredom, criticism, depression, rage...
The discomfort of feeling raw, sharp emotions can certainly feel toxic. Especially when we think we’re supposed to be more “evolved,” over this, further along.
But what if the intense emotions themselves aren’t the poison?
It's our denial of fully feeling the intensity of our emotions that's the poison?
Or on the other side, what if it's getting stuck in and swallowed by the emotion, versus feeling it and releasing it that's toxic?
What if it's our judgements about having painful emotions in the first place that's venomous?
Miller's words now say this to me: We feel more human not by sanitizing ourselves and rejecting painful emotions as part of our human experience, but by allowing ALL we carry, ALL our humanness, ALL our painful emotions to speak to us through writing, which frees us and lightens our load.
Free-flow writing releases us from the toxic denial, stuffing, and numbing of our emotions on the one hand, and from being pummeled by their intensity, like a tsunami, on the other.
When we write, we "empty" or "vomit" onto the page. Our aim is to "let it rip," so we can meet ourselves as we really are in the moment, and befriend all parts of ourselves: our hurt, angry, fearful parts along with our serene, grateful, joyful parts.
All of it.
When a low-grade sadness sneaks up on me, free-flow writing helps pull my feelings to the surface where I can examine them, or, more often than not, watch them simply drop away.
When my inner critic floods me with self-doubt and has me compulsively reviewing what I could have said or written differently, free-flow writing neutralizes this second-guessing mania.
Free-flow writing offers equilibrium.
Want to write?
Take a pen & prompt journey:
Set a timer for 10 minutes. Or 5. Or 2!
Write whatever arises in your thoughts, feelings, and sensations.
Don’t stop to think or edit - keep your pen moving.
Accept ALL that you write - the pretty & ugly; absurd & boring.
Discover what wants to be felt, known, expressed, released...