If you ever want to steal away into the woods to rest, reflect, and write, I know the perfect place. I am here now. This quaint cabin is a sacred space for me. Arriving 3 days ago with several potential projects, I did not know where inspiration would lead me. What I knew was that many books were birthed in this place, giving me the courage to join the ranks of those writers.
Where the creative spirit led me was unexpected. It led me into myself. Rather than writing a workbook for others, I wrote for me. I wrote out my life’s timeline of joys, tears, and traumas. I looked back at my password protected laptop journal spanning the last 9.5 years in over 181,000 words, remembering old experiences and observing old thought patterns. I time traveled to my childhood.
One thing I learned from this soul-honoring experience with myself in the woods was that writing is the tool that has carried me. It has helped me process, communicate, and connect with myself. Now, writing provides the lens through which I view my life. When I stop writing, I stop viewing my life. I stop seeing myself. My understanding wanes.
I leave you with one recommendation: WRITE. Get a journal and seek solitude; safe spaces to pour out your thoughts, emotions, and stories. A journal is a place to play and a place to pray. Writing is self-therapy. Then, write yourself through your suffering. Write yourself through recovery. Write yourself into the light of a new life. The more you write, the more you’ll connect with the most important person in your life: YOU. I know that’s what I’m doing.
I’ve sacrificed a lot to get to this cabin; to this moment. Instead of a therapist who writes, I am a writer who does therapy. I choose this identity. This identity has chosen me. This dream is 40 years in the making and I will neglect it no longer. I will continually move ever inward, writing stories that connect me more deeply with myself and teaching others to do the same.
I am writing for me but others will benefit. While how-to lists are helpful, stories stir up something deeper. May the stories we write be catalysts of change and growth in all of our lives.
-Forest Benedict, Writer