Poetry for Healing

I talked about how I stumbled into leading arts-based groups here. I still love poetry as an avenue into healing. Often survivors of trauma or loss are not quite sure how to make sense of what happened. Trauma memories are stored on the right side of the brain as fragments of image, sound or smell. Playing with imagery blurs the walls between our compartmentalization of senses and meaning, allowing us to experience a more holistic way of knowing. It allows us to access our imaginations through our senses and connect them to meaning or verbal expression, which is housed on the left side of the brain, in a non-threatening way.

Trauma and loss explode us into fragments, separate and divide us from ourselves and others. God invites us to bring our bits to Him and He will make something beautiful from them. Art is one of His gifts to us. Art collects the pieces and helps us to hold the shrapnel in God's Presence.

When we read poems that resonate with our experience, we feel less isolated. Those poems can help us to name what was unnamed. They can help us find our voice. We when speak words we know deep in our bones, but didn't write, we join ourselves to others who have experienced something similar--and survived. Those words can become a catalyst for releasing our own writing.

When we write poems we have to examine our experience from many angles. We make meaning where there was none, or worse, where there was wrong meaning. We enter into shared humanity with our own stories told in our own voices and in our own ways.

These are two of my favorite resources for poetry and healing:

Finding What You Didn't Lose by John Fox

Poetic Medicine by John Fox