In Lessons of the Inca Shamans Deborah Bryon describes receiving information from the powerful spirits (Apus) of the scared mountains in Peru. The information she received was sent to three of the soul centers that the Inca medicine people think are most important, the Mind, the Heart, and the Belly.
When Deborah came back to her home in Colorado, she still hadn’t processed all of the information. Much of her first book looks at the process of integrating information sent to the Belly and the Heart. Some came out through her writing, but more came out through Deborah’s painting. The Belly found a way to speak through the symbols in the art. You can find out more at her website Lessons of the Inca Shamans and in her two books.
In our Western culture we don’t get much information sent directly to the Belly. We are much more in tune with information that comes through our Voice and is processed in the Mind.
But there are times when the Belly — probably a combination of Will and Wish in my way of looking at the soul — is profoundly affected by something that happens to us. Abuse is one of those events. If the Will can’t process how the abuse affected it, it will not be able to heal.
The problem is that the Will does not have the ability to process events and look at alternative ways of dealing with what happened to it. The soul relies on the Mind and inspiration that comes through the Info region to find new possibilities. That means that the Will region needs to get information to the Mind.
Art, as Deborah found, is one way. In this newsletter, I want to talk about another one that may be more accessible to you, Expressive Writing. The basic process is simple.
Pick an event or topic that is bothering you. James Pennebaker, the creator of the technique, suggests writing about something that is keeping you awake at night.
Write about it continuously for 20 minutes. Keep the pen moving even is you are only adding something like “still writing, still writing, still writing…” to the paper. You can do this on a computer, too.
Write on the same topic for four days, 20 minutes each day. Don’t show your writing to anyone.
Years of research by Pennebaker has shown that most people will be healthier after they have done the writing. You can read more about Expressive Writing in his book.
If the process doesn’t help you, try one or two more days writing from another point of view. For example, people often write in the form, “I did this, then I did that.” Change the point of view to look at yourself using eyes outside the situation, perhaps in the form, “He did this, then he did that.” This would be telling the story in the third person instead of the first person.
Pennebaker has observed that a change in the way you look at the situation is the key to resolving it. Changing to third person may be enough of a shift.
What I find interesting is that the process gets information from the Will to the Mind. When I do this, 20 minutes can seem like an eternity. I do find myself doing a bit of “still writing, still writing…” but eventually I feel something different come through. It’s less intellectual, probably less detailed. I think what is happening is that the Heart, first, and then the Will find a way to come through after the Mind has said all it has to say.
We write and write until the babble in the Mind is finished and then the less verbal parts can have their say. The Mind is still there listening. When it hears from the Belly or the Heart, it can do its job of looking at what happened in new ways. And it can make a plan from bringing about a positive change. That may show up in the writing or it may just be something that you know will help you.
I invite you to give Expressive Writing a try. Without saying what you wrote about, let us know if it worked. If you have problems, send me an e-mail. I’ll be glad to help with the process.
Are there other ways to connect the Mind with the Will? Of course. Meditation is one well known technique. Emotional Freedom Techniques seem to be another, but with the process happening a slightly different way. If you have other methods, let me know and we’ll add them to the list.