One of My Favorite Healing Techniques-Processes

Have you ever heard of the Write and Burn process? You may have heard of Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages” ritual, that invites you to journal stream of consciousness thoughts for ten minutes each morning. It’s a great way to get the funk and the junk out of your subconscious so you are more capable of being creative, intentional and free. Write and Burn, is similar, but different. It invites you to get honest with the feelings that don’t feel good … so honest that you are willing to move them out of your head and heart and onto paper. It is an extremely powerful process that I have been doing for years. I find it so helpful that I suggest it to about 90% of my clients at one time or another.

Writing to heal is scientifically proven. I knew I always felt better after I had written in my journal, especially the painful yucky stuff, but I didn’t know there was “real” science that backed up what I felt. Not until I read an article about James W. Pennebaker, a psychology professor. He became deeply interested in the physical and mental benefits of what he called self-disclosure and created an experiment to test out his theory. He gathered a group of students who were asked to write about their own traumatic experiences for 20 minutes, on three consecutive days. Serving as a control group were an equal number of students asked to write about unimportant matters.

The results showed that there was a marked difference between the two groups in terms of the impact of the writing exercise. In those who had written of trivial matters, there was no change either in their physical or mental health. In contrast, those who had written about traumatic experiences and painful memories showed a marked strengthening of their immune system, decreased visits to the doctor and significant increases in psychological well-being. These findings were measured using physiological markers, behavioral markers and self-reporting. In another study in the 1990s of people with AIDS, those who wrote about their diagnosis and how it had affected their lives experienced a beneficial increase in white blood counts and a drop in their viral loads.

I found that fascinating … and it made sense as to why I always feel better after a writing and burning session. Writing and burning is not meant to take the place of regular daily journaling, gratitude lists or dreams and desires. It really is just for the YUCK stuff. I often refer to it as hate mail … that never gets sent … which is a VERY good thing. Writing and burning is for the pain and anger and resentment and jealousy. It’s for all those feelings of insecurity that hold you back in ways that you may just be discovering. It’s a safe time and place to write all your pain, your problems, your challenges and yes, even your hates. Once a day or once a week … whenever you have emotions that you want to release from your mind and body in a healthy way. It is so much better to write it out than yelling and screaming, stuffing the body with food and alcohol, letting the critical voice take over or simply ignoring and denying the feelings. Writing and Burning allow you a place to get honest with yourself and your pain. A place for you to allow yourself complete freedom to write whatever you want. No one else but you will ever see it, so you can swear and curse if you feel the need and write down everything that you feel about the person or the situation that is affecting you.

Wanna try it yourself? Take some time right now. Give it a shot … What do you have to lose?


Write & Burn Journal


Steps to Writing & Burning

1. Get yourself a journal (check out my latest creation) or just a plain notebook you feel comfortable tearing the pages out of. Find a quiet spot where you are free from distractions. Turn your cell phone off. Get away from your computer. This is your time to RELEASE AND HEAL.

2. You may want to begin with a statement,
 intention or prayer asking to help you in clearing any negative emotions you have within your mind, body or spirit. Is there someone in your life (alive or deceased) that you have negative feelings toward? It could be an ex-lover, parent, spouse or colleague – anybody that conjures up negative feelings. Perhaps it is an experience that you need to let go of to move forward in your life. Whatever it is, bring it to mind as you make this statement of release.

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When the News Makes Us Miserable: Remembering a Fuller Presence and Larger Truth

People ask me regularly about how spiritual practice can guide us in responding to the state of our society. They tell me that while the teachings of compassion are alive and helpful in other parts of their lives, they seem out of reach when they read the headlines each day. In a recent e-mail from one of our DC community Spiritual Friends groups, members asked:

  • How do we stay compassionate when it feels like so much harm is being caused to vulnerable people?
  • Isn’t acceptance a kind of complacency? Isn’t “letting go” like condoning?
  • How do we call on meditation practice when we’ve become fearful, angry and disheartened at the hatefulness and viciousness that is so evident in our society?

I’ve had many waves of anger, fear and aversion in reaction to the harm being perpetrated in our society. In my own practice, it helps to keep starting right where I am, not judging my own reactions, thinking “I shouldn’t feel this.” Rather than trying to let go of these feelings, I often reflect that “this belongs,” it’s the inner weather of the moment. Then I can feel the fear or aversion with acceptance and kindness.

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Anger: Responding, Not Reacting

Anger is natural, intelligent and necessary for surviving and flourishing. Yet when we are hooked by anger, it causes great personal and collective suffering. This talk explores how to transform patterns of reactivity by bringing a mindful and compassionate attention to the unmet needs that underlie angry reactivity. When we learn how to pause and connect honestly with our inner experience, we are then able to respond to others from our full intelligence and heart.

“Getting angry with another person is like throwing hot coals with bare hands: both people get burned.”  Buddha

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“R.D. says we are not our bodies. Amen.”

For some years in California, a young man came to my lectures in a bed, brought in a bed. He was a quadriplegic. He could not speak. He was about twenty-eight years old. He was like this (laying back on a slant). His attendant could hold his hand over an alphabet board and there was just enough capacity to point at letters. That was the way he spoke. Each time he came, I went over to him and hugged him, and then I would wait while he spelled out some words. I felt in myself how reactive I was to the immensity of his deprivation state.

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Have You Ever Seen A Robin Become A Blue Jay?

My teacher used to ask me, “Have you ever seen a Robin trying to be a Blue Jay?” I replied, “of course not.”

My teacher continued, “That is because the Robin is happy being a Robin. Humans are the only thing God ever created that are dissatisfied with His Handiwork.”

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How To Dissolve Anger In Your Relationships

Does your partner trigger you like no one else?

Do you find yourself agitated around them more often than you’d like to admit?

You’re not alone, I’m often asked WHY this is and the answer might shock you.

In relationships, you experience heightened emotion because you are intimately greeting that which is unresolved in yourself.

You’ve been conditioned to believe that your emotions are a result of the people you’re with, and to blame others for what you’re feeling.

In this video, learn how to...

  • Move away from blaming your partner and take responsibility for your own emotions...

  • Stop setting your partner up for failure and find more freedom in your relationship...

  • See anger and frustration as an opportunity to address what’s unresolved within you...

Relationships are so much more expansive when you’re not dependent on the other to complete you. Creating spaciousness, peace and growth in your relationship is as simple as taking personal responsibility for your emotions.

Let go of the need for control and start creating a relationship rooted in authenticity.

Watch the video below to learn how:

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Dear Old Dad - How to Survive a Turbulent Childhood

My father passed away when I was ten years old, and to say he wasn’t a perfect parent would be an understatement.  He was both drug and sex addicted, and was rarely at home.  When he was around though, he could be really fun and spontaneous; washing everybody in the neighborhoods hair in the kitchen sink, letting us soap our own windows on Devil’s Night, and putting my sister on top of the refrigerator when she stepped on a nail and then proceeding to soak her foot in cottage cheese.

And then there was the other side…

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Letting Anger Power my Prayer

Effective prayer needs fuel to propel it, just as a vehicle needs fuel to get it where you want it to go. Passion is the fuel that drives prayer and for me, my greatest passion comes with the emotion of anger. That, of course, begs the question, “But how can I be angry at God?” Easy. If you are angry, do you think no one else knows? If you are angry, your energy – your passion, is already going out into the universal energy. The Power of all that goes by many names – I call It God – already knows you are angry. Why not use that energy to create a more powerful prayer?

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What Anger Does For You

What if your anger were actually a gift?

What if the emotion that you repress the most also has the most to teach you about yourself?

What if by repressing your anger you’re creating even more of it?

Everyone gets angry, but when you shine the light of awareness on your anger, it can transform from a burden to a blessing.

In this video, explore how you can feel your anger without unleashing it onto others and discover...

  • How ANGER is really just powerful energy in motion...

  • How you can more effectively process anger when you’re triggered...

  • Acceptance around your anger and let go of the judgements that angers brings up in you...

You can let go of the idea that anger is wrong, that feeling angry makes you a bad or volatile person. You can release all the preconceived ideas you hold about anger and transmute that energy into a catalyst for greater self-awareness and discovery.

Watch the video below to learn how:

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Know It, But Still Blow It

Oh my gosh, if only I had a nickel for overtime I knew I no longer needed to respond to a certain person, place or thing in an angry way - but did anyway. I cannot count how many times I practiced and practiced and practiced not reacting when s/he said that “same old thing” but still did. What does it take?

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Diagnosis Debacle – How I let anger take control

Seven years ago this month my life was turned upside down. What had become my normal would be no longer. And I have learned a lot about my emotions.

My husband volunteered to drive my daughter and the cheer squad to an away football game. When they arrived home several hours later, my daughter said he was acting weird all night, as if his mind was wandering and he wasn’t really paying attention. He was dawdling and kept getting lost, making the cheer squad late for the game. This is very unusual as he was adamant about being on time and he was fabulous with navigation. We both agreed that was unlike him and maybe something was going on that had his mind occupied. His work had been very stressful lately.

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Taking Fire to the Light

Stuff happens (or doesn’t happen) and sometimes we humans feel angry. Depending on our personality and situation, we might react with harsh words and actions or we might just stuff it. Most of us were not taught how to work constructively with anger; we were usually told just not to be angry. So we developed guilt about our anger, or fear of anger, or just felt angry at anger.  If you are past the age of a toddler, it can seem difficult to just sit with anger without adding the complexities of secondary emotions and all sorts of mental stories.

Driving home today, listening to a talk by Panache on the nature of Self as Love, a large SUV pulled out aggressively from a side street making me slam on the brakes and blurt out one of those oh-so-human utterances. I immediately felt foolish in the setting of words of Love and acceptance.  As the guilt floated away, I dug more deeply into the triggered feeling of injustice. Then I noticed that I had been speeding up a little to close the gap in front of me just before the SUV pulled out. No doubt that driver had been feeling the same injustice, having been waiting in the front of a long line of cars on the side street for some chance of getting moving again. My feeling of anger once accepted led to compassion for his apparently angry action; we were the same.

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Why Am I Always the One Who Has to Change?

If I needed to name one single reason for my life being the amazing life it is today, it would be that I changed my attitudes and my reactions to pretty much everything. Although that change was, and is, the key to a new freedom, it was also the hardest for me to understand and subsequently change. The concept of “change me, change the world,” was beyond my comprehension. It was one of those instructions I followed in blind faith even though it made no sense whatsoever. At some point I realized if it made sense, I would have already done it. I had no choice but to believe and follow those who said they had been where I was and if I wanted a better life, I needed to do what they did.

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Awakening Through Anger

One evening after my Wednesday night meditation class, Amy, a member of our D.C. meditation community, asked if we might talk for a few minutes about her mother, a woman she often referred to as “a manipulative, narcissistic human.” Amy’s mother had recently been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer, and as the only local offspring, Amy had become her mother’s primary caretaker. So, there she was, spending hours a day with a person she’d been avoiding for decades. “I can’t stand myself for having such a hard heart,” Amy confessed.

Amy and I agreed to meet privately to explore how she might use her practice to find more freedom in relating to her mother. At our first session, she told me difficult early childhood memories had recently been emerging. In the most potent of these, Amy was three years old. Her mom yelled upstairs that she’d prepared a bath for her and that she should get in the tub. But when Amy went into the bathroom, what she found was a couple of inches of lukewarm water. What had flashed through her three-year-old mind then was: “This is all I’m going to get. No one is taking care of me.”

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Transforming Anger: How We Meet It and Use That Energetic for Good.

"Without the heart the sword has no direction or power to change things." khb

The current playout of anger is pervasive and is creating an energetic wave across the planet. Perhaps you have experienced it in your daily life. How do we meet, transform and use it for good?
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Telemarketer pain…

How many of you cringed when you read the word “telemarketer”? Me too.

I am very guilty of being short and withdrawn when I get a call from a telemarketer. I get angry that they are calling, usually at an inappropriate time that we are most likely to be home.

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The Letter of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a hard thing. It's often regarded as the act of letting someone else off for the wrong they did to us. Usually when people think about this, they think about forgiveness as doing a favor for the person that has done the wrong. Forgiveness is actually more for us and about our journey.

Recently, I had a friend who shared with me how he wrote a letter to his mother who had died from cancer when he was younger. Now, obviously his mother hadn't done anything to him in regards to her getting cancer. She had suffered through an awful disease and ended up losing her life. Still, he had held onto the feeling of his mother abandoning him for years, consciously or unconsciously.

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Our Hearts Are All the Same . . .

I rarely publicly write about politics, world events, tragedy or conflict. This is actually a little strange considering my education in history, philosophy, and education. I’ve spent many hours reading, crafting scholarly papers and theses on many of these things. Much of that took place before the internet or it’s widespread adoption.

These days I focus on bring more light into the world. I like to offer tangible strategies to make improvements in people’s lives who are ready for change. I am not trying to convert anyone or force transformation. The saying, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear” speaks deeply to me.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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