A Writer’s Dreams

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tablet-266Today what’s on my mind is achieving dreams, despite all the mud and muck of politics right now. And sometimes to position myself mentally I envision a dream come true from my past, and thankfully for me there are so many. This picture is of me sitting in a cafe in the Piazza di San Giovanni, the plaza located directly in front of the Duomo in Florence Italy, writing. I had dreamed of this place where famous artists and scribes of the ages gathered, walked, philosophized and created, since I was 16 years old. It took a while (I’m a bit past 16), but I got there. It was such a happy day. So while my hubby climbed the gazillion stairs of the Domo I had that independant day of which I dreamed so long ago: I walked into a posh cafe, and with my bumbling attempt at speaking Italian I ordered an espresso and sat outside and was mesmerized by the world. Just being there, finally, was pure magic. I started to write about when I originally had the dream of being their. The piece I wrote that day was a memoir piece and is being saved for when I do finally write that memoir. What memory from your own past inspires you? Sit down and revisit that, then start writing.

Writing Helps You Heal

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There are so many reasons why we write: to tell our true life stories, to create fiction, to enlighten, to educate, to entertain. But to me one of the main reasons I write is to heal from things I struggle to mentally or emotionally comprehend, or to embrace my bodies complex journey with dis-ease.

As a writer and cancer survivor I believe writing helps us understand our life experiences. When we translate life’s events from the  unspoken  into written language we alter our perceptions and fundamentally make the experience graspable. As an author and  instructor I strive to engage and inspire others to do exactly that, translate the unspoken into the written word.

Share this healing message on Twitter or other Social Media avenues.

If you liked this TWEET IT OUT! Thanks, Mindy
If you liked this TWEET IT OUT! Thanks, Mindy

sadnessmermaidPOETRY HEALS

How Writing Shines a Light Into the Black Abyss

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It’s Saturday, that means I’m doing some social media and then headed out for a walk with my dog (who is staring at me right now, SO ready to go.) But first I wanted to share an article that I wrote for Writing And Wellness Magazine.

How Writing Your Truth Can Help You Heal

As an author and cancer survivor I believe writing aids us in understanding life’s challenges, and that through understanding we become better writers.

When we translate painful or confusing events from the unspoken into written language we alter our perceptions and fundamentally make the experience graspable. You can heal the body by connecting to the mind using writing as a restorative tool.

Natalie Goldberg wrote: “Write about what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”

It took three of what I call “tours in cancer-land” for me to finally “split open” and comprehend what life, at least my life, was about. It was about writing, and ultimately healing through the act of writing.

Writing Shines a Light Into the Black Abyss

The subconscious mind can be a dark source of paralyzing nightmares that latch on and don’t let go.

This stockpiled stress allows illness to infiltrate cells and psyche, keeping you in dis-ease and even making it worse.

Think of writing your truth—whether it be grief, rape, incest, bullying, or disease—as though you are shining a light into that black abyss. Once this light is shone, those nightmares tend to wither, and sooner or later their influence over you wanes.

Whenever I write about difficult topics, I visualize my cancer like a tiny black bat in a cave wincing and shrinking against the light. I love that image!

Through Writing, I Created My Own Shaman

Most writers create characters from deep in the subconscious mind, from unresolved issues or from traumatic events. And most of the time it’s unconscious until they re-read their work later and experience an epiphany about what they were really trying to write.

That’s what happened to me.

Though I have a strong belief in God, I needed more. During my decade of surgeries where my neck was cut open three different times from jugular vein to jugular vein, and my “giblets” were removed—thyroid, lymph nodes and a tumor—I intuitively created a shaman in my novel, Return To Sender.

When I was in the hospital or home unable to speak, not sure if I ever would speak again, I dreamed of a healer, felt him praying over me, meditating on my illness and telling me to not be afraid.

When I finally wrote (spoiler alert) his death, I mourned for several days—obviously (in retrospect) I was working at a deep level on my own fear of dying.

A Final Ceremony for a Character That Assisted Me on a Hard Journey

At first I was afraid I’d made a horrible mistake in writing his death. In writing his death, had I in turn written my own?

But then I realized it was time for him to go because I was strong enough to move forward.

Because I believe healthy rituals are good for the soul, I took a copy of the page where he dies to the lake, tore the paper into pieces, put the pieces on a large maple leaf, settled it on the water and lit the paper on fire.

The tiny fire that floated away from the shore was a final ceremony for a character who had assisted me on a hard, hard journey. In that ritual I asked him to take my cancer with him. If you read Return To Sender you’ll see how my transformational desire was written into his death scene.

That ceremony freed us both from our cancer bond. In saying good-bye to him I said good-bye to my paralyzing fear of cancer.

Keeping the Little Black Bat in His Cave

Of course, the fear will always be there, but it’s no longer that paralyzing fear. Why? Because as I seek to understand through writing about past traumas and stressors in my life that lead to dis-ease in a body, I am empowered.

An empowered body is enabled and thus begins a deep healing process.

“It is important to release the original trauma and see connections in order toheal from the trauma.”James W. Pennebaker, PH.D, author of Writing To Heal.

I now embrace that there is dis-ease within my body, and I work to understand it through writing, managing stress, and seeking out and engaging in alternative healing, such as acupuncture, nutrition, massage, resonance therapy, and long, long beach walks. All have been guides in my passage out of cancer-land.

I continue to thrive despite a bit of the tumor in my throat. I am closely watched by my team of doctors who constantly tell me that my attitude and approach to wellness has made me a triumphant patient.

I’m confident that I can keep that little black bat in his cave, and that I am triumphant because of the powerful tool of restorative writing.

Remember, please tweet and use the hashtag #write2heal. Thank you!twitter-follow-achiever

cropped-pr-pic3.jpgMindy Halleck is an award-winning fiction writer, novelist, and social media and writing instructor.     In 2015 her debut novel, Return To Sender, a literary thriller set on the Oregon Coast in the 1950’s, received a “Reader’s Favorite” award. Her short stories have won the Writer’s Digest and the EPIC Arts Association fiction contests. Halleck also blogs at Literary Liaisons and is an active member of the Pacific Northwest writing community.  In addition to being a writer, Halleck is a happily married, globe-trotting beachcomber and three-time cancer survivor. Find more at her website.

Write 2 Heal – Did you know…

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picassoDid you know that writing is a way to exercise toxins from your body, heart and soul? Whether you are dealing with a broken heart, illness, death or grief, writing can help you heal.
But then I’ve always written my way through pain and heartache. I remember at 17 writing tragic poetry (tragic on every melodramatic level) about a broken heart, then again in my twenties and thirties – different men, same heart. I wrote through my sister’s death, my best friend’s death, and in the same year how I finally fell in love with someone who didn’t break my battered heart. Then in my forties finally writing about that found love, being married, being happy. Both kinds of writing, sad and happy, nurtured my soul and kept depression at bay. Now in my sixties writing is a crucial skillset on my healing journey, with chronic cancer as my travel companion.
Writing has been proven to •Strengthen the immune system •Enhance sleep •Reduce anxiety, melancholy, and loneliness •Aid in emotional or physical pain management •Instill a sense of clarity, purpose and meaning in life. And much more. And let’s face it even if you’re in tip-top health who couldn’t use a little of all of that.
James W. Pennebaker, PH.D, a research psychologist and author of Writing To Heal, said, “It is important to release the original trauma and see connections in order to heal from the trauma.”
Often, we can begin to release trauma by writing about it. Often, but not always, so if you are having difficulties or sense a deep state of depression please get help. If you can’t get a referral for a counselor from a friend, then start here at Counseling.org. I’ve dealt with depression and nothing is more helpful than a GOOD counselor. Having said that if you feel the counselor you have found is not suited to you and your needs, find another. Seek until you find the one who can help.
I will be sharing information on writing to heal in this blog. Please share on twitter and Facebook where I have the hashtag #write2heal and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to follow these posts.twitter-follow-achiever
And remember,
Like stars illuminating a path let your words be your guide to well-being.

If you liked this tweet it out. Thanks!

sadness

Writing, Decorating Scotch & Christmas Volunteering

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Okay, it’s busy around my house in the weeks approaching Christmas, so little time for writing. However, I have completed the first chapters of my next novel, Garden of Lies, and am very happy with it. I had written the first draft, then read it and realized it needed to be written in third person as opposed to the first person I had written in. SO, the big undertaking of rewriting in third is nearly complete. Then I can move on to the the rest of the story. It’s a lot of work so I’m thrilled I realized this when not yet 100 pages in. WHEW!

Aside from that there’s the decorating, the shopping, the baking, the cleaning, the shopping, the wrapping, the 20151212_161550_resized
shopping and the stuffing of stockings. Oh, and then more shopping. What! You don’t decorate your scotch?

And then I volunteer, as I have for nearly 20 years, as an artist for the Salvation Army Toy-n-Joy event. It’s a LONG day of drawing, painting and decorating the stadium before our ‘guests’ arrive to select toys for their children — children who otherwise would likely not have a gift for Christmas. Every year this work makes me feel part of something bigger than myself.  Many years ago before my life was so blessed, I was a mom who could barely afford Christmas for my child, it’s a painful, shame-filled and soul sucking experience. That’s why I so love being a little part of making a child smile at Christmas and helping out another mother who otherwise may feel helpless.

Lend a hand this year, lift a neighbor up, give to the food bank or toy event in your community, visit an elder care home and give the gift of your time, pack food gift baskets for your church or give a teacher some special school supplies to surprise her kids with – whatever kind of opportunity aligns with your beliefs, the point is that there are so many ways to give. Tis the season. Blessings, Mindy

Writing as a Restorative Tool–No Co-Pay Needed

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There are so many reasons why we write: to tell our true life stories, to create fiction, to enlighten, to educate, to entertain. But to me one of the main reasons I write is to heal from things I struggle to mentally or emotionally comprehend, or to embrace my bodies complex journey with dis-ease.

As a writer and cancer survivor I believe writing helps us understand our life experiences. When we translate life’s events from the  unspoken  into written language we alter our perceptions and fundamentally make the experience graspable. As an author and  instructor I strive to engage and inspire others to do exactly that, translate the unspoken into the written word.

Share this healing message on Twitter or other Social Media avenues.

If you liked this TWEET IT OUT! Thanks, Mindy
If you liked this TWEET IT OUT! Thanks, Mindy

sadnessmermaidPOETRY HEALS

Digital Autographs ~ Readers Connecting with Authors

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Are you an author who likes to autograph their books, or an avid reader who loves to collect autographs? Do you feel a disconnect when you purchase digital versions of your favorite author’s books, or as an author do you feel that same disconnect when you can’t offer autographs? Well, here’s the solution to your problem, AUTHORGRAPH.

I woke up this morning to another request for my autograph from a Kindle reader of my novel, Return To Sender. I love that! Thanks, Heather for reading and then taking time to connect with me.

Anyway, if you are a reader who wants to connect with your author via autographs, visit Authorgraph and sign up for this free service.  Authors, this FREE program allows you to offer your autograph to adoring fans.

What’s better than affordable marketing tools. Have fun.  Oh, and here’s what a digital autograph looks like … authorgraph