The act of writing

Last week, I lost a friend and colleague to a catastrophic cerebral hemorrhage. Once her family members accepted that her consciousness, speech and mobility would never return, they collectively agreed to withdraw life support. Within hours, she peacefully died, surrounded by those who love her most.

This event re-iterated my intended compulsion to live fully present in this minute and this day. Having had a glimpse of mortality with a post-of bleed, I know my life has an expiration date. I have core values which guide my living and I am clear about my priorities: being in right relationship with those I love and making meaning and fun from my life experiences, day in and day out. Even so, it is interesting how I, and others, consistently lose track of that which is most important and become entangled with trivial tasks, dread and worry more often than I choose. Some of this entangling is due to the hard wiring of our brainstem, the antidote to which is increasingly popular practices of mindfulness.

As a writer, I have learned the act of writing is the strongest enhancement, for me, to live the life I want to live and think the thoughts I prefer to entertain. And when I say the act of writing, I’m not talking about cathartic journaling but I’m referring to sculpting a poem or drafting an essay or narrative.

As writers, we enjoy an asset of harvesting meaning and perspective on matters from our lives. This asset contributes positively to our overall health and well being.

*****

Molly O’Dell

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