March 23, 2001
Write For Life
Sheppard B. Kominars, PhD
On October 14, immediately after the completion of chemotherapy and radiation, I decided that I wanted to help others to begin to heal themselves through a process I had been using for almost half a century. "Write For Life!" was born that day, and it is now, under the auspices of the American Cancer Society, being offered every Thursday afternoon, at UCSF.
Words, themselves, are puny, imprecise, often merely approximations of the innermost wish to express what is in our heart; but it is with them that we cross the threshold to a relationship with God, with others, with ourselves. This invocation opens us to healing ourselves from whatever it is that is harmed, or broken, or diseased. And as we learn to develop this connection, this bond, I and thou become one instead of separate and isolated, and we begin to see that we are put here on earth to understand and participate in this relationship. The ground of being on which we have been stood is sacred ground, and the quest that many of us pilgrims have gone in search of is right here, right now, right all-and-everything. It is the fabric of our daily lives.
Putting our own pen to the page to write about this experience of what it means to live in our bodies, in our relationships in the house and city and world where we breathe each breath, is the key to opening the door to life and a better way to live it.
The medical model has significant limitations as we have seen with other recovery programs. Taking a personal and active role in creating health is essential for the healing process. Writing is action of a very personal nature. It involves engaging the use of imagination, intuition, the unconscious, etc. And it acknowledges the self that needs to be the recipient of healing.
Write For Life is a sequence of journal-writing experiences in which individuals who participate can open themselves to exploring how they live their daily lives, participating more fully in the experience, and healing themselves with their own wisdom. It will enable participants to share personal insights of every nature so that others, also, may be exposed to what someone else has learned.. Both the writing and the sharing will provide a therapeutic opportunity. Insights and ideas from these journal sessions may also prove useful in working with other support groups or in individual therapy.
There is a sequence of three sessions: "Getting Started"; "Staying Started"; " New Directions." Then the sequence will begin again. Participants may enter the group at any time. It will be an on-going activity. The Workshop is planned for three months. Then a pause. Then another set of workshops
- I. Each session will begin with a brief check-in: problems encountered during the previous week
- II Then: What I wrote about this week. ( Selections from these can be read.)
- III. What were some of the obstacles in the way of my efforts to write?
- IV. What I need to overcome the obstacles. (Request for advice/support.)
- V. What I am curious to get into & explore in my writing next week. (Memories, ideas, incidents from my childhood.)
- VI. What I'd like to contribute to "Writing For Life" [A Treasury of Pooled Wisdom: a journal of participants entries.]
Sheppard B. Kominars, PhD counselor, has lectured and given workshops all over the United States and abroad on recovery issues and creativity. He has been writing journals for 45 years and is, himself, an "advertisement" for early detection having recently completed chemotherapy and radiation.