This past week I was in North Carolina in the mountains for a writing retreat. I’m part of a group of women writers. We try to meet each year to write, brainstorm, and refill our creative wells. I returned home extremely inspired and feeling blessed to be part of such a talented and fabulous group. One of the goals that we set for the time was to have at least 2 good laughs each day. How does that relate to writing? Maybe not directly, but indirectly this laughter nourishes our work, our friendships and our lives.
Recovery is a lot like writing and life. Sometimes it is not clear how certain tasks contribute to an overall goal. Yet each small, simple experience can enhance our lives. When our lives are enhanced then any creative pursuit is improved. When our lives are enhanced then recovery is improved. Consider—if life was providing more enjoyment, would the pull to deaden emotions through eating disorder behavior be as strong?
Can you find some humor in your day? Within our family, we often make up silly songs—some quickly forgotten, but others can provide chuckles for days to come. Can you put new lyrics to old songs? Can you find a poetry book with silly rhymes or make up your own? Read a children’s picture book that has humor? When I read stories to my kids, often I would find them funnier than the kids—sometimes the humor takes us to a different level. Frog and Toad, George and Martha, Fox were some of my favorite books and characters. They had a quirky view on life. Find you own favorites. Go to a library and browse through the picture book section. Grab a title that intrigues you or something with fun art. Or sketch your own!
Can you find simple experiences in your day that help you feel connected to nature, to the world, to your life? At the end of each day, I used to write five descriptions of time spent with my children. It helped me reflect on pleasant moments of the day, instead of being stuck in the tired, cranky, “don’t want to go to bed” moment. I would remember rainbows sparking in the water drops as they played in a sprinkler. Or the dancing of their shadows as we went for a walk. Bubbles in their hair and silly hair-dos. Can you think back at the end of the day and find a simple moment that you can hold onto? A butterfly floating across your path? A sunset? A crescent moon?
When my kids were younger and even now sometimes, we’d play "I spy" when we went on walks or drove in the car. Can you notice things around that you might have missed? Small details that might have been lost. Can you write a poem about them or journal? Yesterday, as we drove out of a parking lot, I saw a huge crescent moon. It seemed as if the sky was smiling. It was a Cheshire Cat grin like in Alice in Wonderland as she tumbles down the rabbit hole. And if I was writing more—I’d write about what I might find in that rabbit hole. Would it be different than what Alice found? Or I might write what the moon was grinning about. Or a myth about the creation of that moon. My daughter wrote a myth for class this summer that told the story of how the sky got painted blue. In her story an empowered girl battled a creature, the Inkpara. She was brave and strong and triumphant. Can you create your own myth? Maybe as you battle ED. What kind of creature would he be? What tools would you have? What would the adventure towards recovery and the defeat of ED look like? Write it. Now live it.