Sharing Your Writing can Heal others, and Replenish this World

When I began Life Written in August 2014, I had no idea that this blog would one day become the source of inspiration for others. Like the girl in Tanzania who sent me email saying that I’d been like a mentor through my writing; or the friend in Poland who said he reached the end of my article with tears in his eyes; or the young Vietnamese student who thanked me for guiding her through her depression. Every time this happens, I feel awe that there are people, real people whose heart I’ve touched, and whose wound I’ve healed.

While writing has the power to transform our lives, sharing it with others can transform the world. And if it’s done with truth, goodness, and love, it will heal the world. However, many of us are reluctant to do so.

Not long ago, I talked to a soulful person who wrote and wrote brilliantly. I asked if he published his writing any where. He shook his head and said he feared readers’ criticisms and judgments. His writing was too daring, he was afraid of his own voice. This is the fear we all have. This is the same fear that Don Miguel Ruiz wrote about:

Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive – the risk to be alive and express what we really are. Just being ourselves is the biggest fear of humans.

It takes courage to take off social masks and let ourselves be seen. The source of my courage has come from several changes in mindset.

Firstly, being wrong is alright.

Too often, we were all raised and taught to live up to other people’s expectations. We are terrified by rejections and loneliness. We are starved of belonging so we try to be good enough for someone else in order to be loved by that someone. Nobody teaches us to love ourselves, including our fears and mistakes. Nobody teaches us that getting something wrong does NOT mean there is something wrong with us.

But you know what? As Kathryn Schulz beautifully put it:

If you really want to rediscover wonder, you need to step outside of that tiny, terrified space of rightness and look around at each other and look out at the vastness and complexity and mystery of the universe and be able to say, “Wow, I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong.”

So write with your current truth, but be very open to new truths. Allow yourself to change your opinions and expand, that’s how you rediscover wonder in this world.

Those of the best messages I received was the one that said “Honestly, I don’t completely agree with what you wrote. But I want to thank you…” This makes me happy. Independent thinking is what I pursue and wish for my readers to have. Besides, if everyone agrees with whatever you are saying or doing, you will always stay the same. Disagreement open a door to better awareness.

Writing Apparatus

Secondly, you won’t get hurt if you don’t take anything personally.

There is all sort of stupid people on the internet, someone may says something solely to attack you. Don’t cling to the mean messages or the hate mails. They are not because of you; they are not your problems; they have nothing to do with you. They are objects, like the stars, or cats, or pencil sharpeners.

As there’s no need to explain yourself with the stars, your cat, or your pencil sharpener; you can pass right through the attackers nonchalantly, with a smile on your face and peace in your heart. The more involved you are with negative energy, the more imprisoned you become. Once you see and treat them as simple objects as wild flowers or grains of rice, you will be free.

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Thirdly, your voice and your human experiences matter.

It’s astonishing to see how people can have very strong opinions about their neighbors, other people’s outfit, the latest TV series, or office gossips; and yet when you ask their opinions on topics such as love, authenticity, fear, dreams they fall into a coma. Our point of view – or lack of it – on these topics shows who we are and who we are not. Perhaps it’s unnecessary to have an opinion about everything, but it’s important to feel strongly about something at the core of your being. 

I think more than ever before young people need to find their voice and raise their voice. Great leaders not only walk their talk, but also talk their walk. That’s the only way to create movements that can heal this world. If young people do not dare to speak up their truth, what’s the hope for the future?

For me, I only have one truth: love. It’s easy to judge, it’s hard to empathize. It’s easy to write with hatred and rage and be consumed by the boiling negative energy of our world, it’s hard to write with goodness and love and emanate healing energy.  I feel strongly that the world do not need another army, not another technological breakthrough, not another billion of dollars. We simply need to learn how to be human and find our way back to each other again. We can find our way back to each other through stories. “Storytelling is the oldest healing-teaching practice found in all culture,” said the cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien.

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And why do our stories matter? Not because of their rightness or their plot. Our stories matter for the richness of the human experiences they carry.

Author Honor Moore once answered in an interview: “I believe that we don’t choose our stories. Our stories choose us. And if we don’t tell them, then we are somehow diminished.” I’ve learned to own my stories, and tell them with my whole heart. Bring them forth to heal myself and others. This is who we are. We will not be diminished.

Share your stories in a book - fiction or non-fiction, a poem, an article – on your own blog or any other medium, or print-out handed to strangers on the street if you like. But find the courage to be like Walt Whitman and “sound your barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world”.

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The writer of Toy Story and Wall-E, Andrew Stanton, shared his first lesson in story telling:

Use what you know. Draw from it. It doesn't always mean plot or fact. It means capturing a truth from your experiencing it, expressing values you personally feel deep down in your core.

I often imagine that thing, “deep down in our core”, to be a water table. It can cleanse, and heal, and revitalize. So tap that water table with your writing, tell your stories. Let the water flow in you and through you. Replenish yourself. Replenish this world.