I was first introduced to the self-help technique called Expressive Writing the other day, but it was very, very familiar to me, and I’d done it in other moments, in other guises. In a way, it’s nothing new. And in a way, it doesn’t need to be. Just because we’ve given something relatively simple and time-honored a specific name so it’s easy to remember and easy to refer to, doesn’t mean anything, really. Because if it helps, it helps.
If you’ve not heard of it before, it’s a super simple technique quite like journaling, but here’s the key: after you finish writing, you need to destroy what you’ve written. Whether you erase the whiteboard, hit the delete key, burn the paper or just tear it into tiny, tiny bits, you do not keep it.
Now, this horrified me at first, and it was a block from me trying it out, because I tend to keep what I’ve written like a hoarder keeps cardboard boxes, and those times when what I’ve written has been lost in a computer crash, for instance, I have had to mourn appropriately and practice deep breathing and impermanence exercises. But there have been a few useful moments in the distant past when I wrote, for instance, letters to people, and then destroyed them (and that one time I fatally sent one – bad idea, Young Sarah, bad idea!), and in the very recent past when I was reminded of this practice by one of my current teachers and picked it up again. And you know, it’s been very helpful, all over again.
So, have you ever done something like Expressive Writing, or are you a fan of Expressive Writing in particular? If you have, or if you give it a try, leave me a comment down below. I’d love to hear what the process was like for you.