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What is Transformative Writing?

Thanks so much to Jackie Moloney for joining us as a guest blogger today! Jackie is a writer, editor and creative writing instructor. She is a Reiki III master and volunteer rape crisis counselor and holds certifications in Yoga RYT 200 and from the Veterans Yoga Project. Her poems, essays, and stories have appeared in numerous publications under the name Jacqueline Henry. Enjoy her powerful words! 

One of the biggest misconceptions about the creative writing process is that you have to be good at writing to do it. In Transformative Writing, we’re not judging our work — or ourselves. We’re tapping into a powerful energy and healing modality — language and metaphor — to explore what lies deep within us in an active and physical way. Writing is physical. It engages the body’s systems and senses in ways that would not be accessed by just thinking or observing, or in the oral telling of a story. It allows shapes to be made. Patterns and associations. It has the power to turn something remembered or even just noticed in passing into beauty, into art.

Holistic writing involves the activation of the “felt sense” of the body, an intuitive knowing that promotes self-healing, strengthens the immune system, and helps us to actively change our thoughts to change our lives. Here, writing isn’t so much about the product — what is created — as it is about the process—the act of creating.

Breathing techniques, meditation and mindfulness, and guided writing prompts help attune us to the creative process at work within and establish rituals for composing that can be used for daily practice. In these workshops, we don’t worry about grammar or structure… or even content. We let flow what needs to flow, shifting from the past to present to future both in thought and grammatical tense, not stopping to think or to read, or to reason. We just write — as fast and as feverishly as we can. And as we write, what blocks us is freed! Anxiety, fear, and all those heavy negative emotions we carry are turned into a positive charge, a kinetic energy that can fuel our days and help us to manifest our dreams. We don’t worry about punctuation or whether our ideas or sentences make structural sense. The page itself is the foundation. It’s what holds us up. The pen and the ink that flows through it are merely conduits for free association, ideas, and the symbols and metaphors we have absorbed over the course of a life. Our purpose in these classes is to aid in the transformation of that life.

“Transformative” is defined as “causing a marked change in something or someone.” Broken down, the prefix trans means: across, beyond; on or to the other side of; through; and in another state or place. It is an adjective used in biochemistry, a prefix used in biology, geology, physics, chemistry, electronics, communications (i.e.: transmitter, transceiver), linguistics, spirituality (transcendental, transfiguration) — it’s a word that describes all that we are. It implies movement and change. The root word formative means: “to form something.” In linguistics it “denotes or relates to any of the smallest meaningful units that are used to form words in a language, typically combining forms and inflections.” The smallest meaningful units. That’s what we’re going for. Yes, the big ideas. But also the smallest. The most meaningful. Words are just words, just indifferent symbols, if we don’t apply meaning to them.

Taken together, Transformative Writing allows us to cross deep divides within ourselves and enter states of discovery. We can question and re-question. Answer and answer anew. Practice gratitude and affirmations. Fully activate our senses to examine what lies before us and report on what we see, hear, taste and smell. We can actually stop time — just by writing down what we notice. We can build bridges over emotional rivers and journey to the other side of an unexplored shore. And as we give form to the stories that live and breathe inside of us, we become stronger, more intuitive, fully alive and aware.

Write With Us at Jyoti!

Join us at Jyoti for one of our monthly writing sessions. Classes can be taken individually or as a series. They are open to anyone interested in using writing as a tool for self-discovery and expression. No prior writing experience is necessary! Please bring a notebook and writing instrument. All we ask is that you be gentle with yourselves and others.

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Featured image: Green Chameleon/Unsplash