Guest Writer for Wake Up World
My new novel, THE SILK PAVILION took me on a deep healing journey into my childhood trauma. My hope is that it takes the reader on a journey with the main character, Lucy, to explore this painful trauma that affects an huge proportion of the global population.
The novel is dedicated ‘for abused children and the adults we become.’
I was reticent about exposing my childhood abuse in this dedication. My decision was motivated by the power of the voice – my Soul Writing work has taught me that it is important to use our voices, and when we speak from our souls, it has the potential to touch the souls of others, to articulate the unarticulated in other people, to take others on a healing journey to break the silence of abuse that shame locks inside.
At the end of this article there are some Soul Writing meditations and exercises that can support your journey to heal childhood trauma. I’m also founder of Soul Writing and have combined writing and meditation as a tool to heal since I had a brain injury in 2004. Soul Writing is not therapy and not an alternative to therapy, but it can have healing results.
Sadly, childhood abuse very often happens in families, by caregivers, parents and teachers – by people children trust. The ongoing affects can haunt people, sometimes all of our lives, affecting our adult relationships and the choices we make.
THE SILK PAVILION is a psychological thriller and the story of a toxic relationship, and how the main character, Lucy goes on a journey to heal her childhood wounds. Lucy is seduced by reclusive writer, Miguel Nadal in beautiful Villa Rosa, tucked in the olive groves in the small Mallorcan town of Deià.
Lucy’s story reveals how the trauma inflicted in one’s childhood can distort the psyche, leading the individual into choosing, unconsciously, further abuse as an adult. The novel charts Lucy’s journey of self-discovery and survival, as she goes into therapy to uncover her shadow.
Carl Jung, the famous psychoanalyst appears to Lucy in her dreams and she begins to make her unconscious compulsions – that drove her to fall into the trap of Miguel’s seduction – conscious.
I intentionally added several therapy sessions in the novel, in order to show the link between Lucy’s childhood trauma and her sexual compulsions as an adult. Lucy’s journey is the quest to wake up and make conscious choices – and ultimately to liberate herself from Miguel’s control. As Lucy herself says, “how strange that dreams are gateways to becoming conscious.’
I opened the novel with a quote from Carl Jung to indicate the personal aspect of making the unconscious conscious:
‘When an inner situation is not made conscious,
It happens outside, as fate.’
– Carl Jung
One review said, ‘The whole entirety of the work is a willing to wake-up.’ The same reviewer went on to say, ‘I guess most readers will be screaming at the protagonist to do this, but it is a skill of the writer to also depict how difficult this is and to seduce us along with the heroine so we almost want to stay in Villa Rosa forever.’
This was my aim – to take the reader into the atmosphere of Miguel’s seduction, through the evocative landscape, the hollow promises of Miguel, the balmy Deiàn nights – so you experience the challenge of waking up from a persistent blind spot forged in childhood. Lucy’s blind spot makes the painful familiar seductive, even though it’s a potential threat to her life – in fact, precisely because of this looming danger, Lucy struggles to break free.
This is a difficult thing to convey to someone who has not experienced the compulsion of childhood trauma as an adult. When I was in Asia I saw adult elephants chained to trees with a chain the strong animals could easily have broken. I asked my local friend why they didn’t free themselves. She said, ‘when they were baby elephants they tried to free themselves from the chains, but were not able to. So they now believe they cannot.’ It is the same with humans.
Ultimately it is the prison of her psyche that Lucy she must escape from if she wishes to break free and create a new healthy life, and a healthy intimate relationship. Read THE SILK PAVILION to discover if Lucy does break free.
This novel comes with trigger warnings and points to therapy as one route to heal. That was part of my healing journey to bring my shadow into the light. The other complimentary healing tool for me has always been writing and meditating. I’ve been writing and meditating since I was a child. In 2004 I combined these two healing tools and created Soul Writing. Below are some tips about how to heal using writing.
Soul Writing is not an alternative to therapy, but it has enormous power to heal and bring any trauma – and the stories associated with it into conscious awareness through the gentleness of storytelling.
We must make the unconscious conscious, or we risk reliving the pattern of our childhood abuse. Soul Writing can bring insights from your unconscious mind into your conscious awareness through the power of story. Before you start, you need to feel safe. As adults of abuse often find it difficult to feel safe, so the first two exercises (below) facilitate your process to create a safe inner space. Do this before you do anything else.
- Create a calm space in your home where you can write. Treat it with reverence and perhaps add a crystal, a plant, or candle to make it sacred. Writing used to be a sacred art. Writing from our deepest self is always a sacred act. Put a notebook/ paper and pen in this space.
- Your Safe inner Healing Sanctuary – to create a sense of Safety in your Inner world. Fear blocks us. We have many stories around it, but they all come back to fear. To bypass the fear imagine a safe space inside yourself. To do this, go to your calm space, close your eyes and imagine a place where you feel very, very safe. Maybe it’s a real place you have been to on holiday, a place you went to as a child to feel safe, or maybe you can conjure from your imagination a place of infinite safety. Breathe in this imaginary space and relax. Open your senses. Then pick up your pen and describe the environment. Go back there regularly and write from this space, whatever comes to mind. Follow the guided meditation here.
- The Magic happens on the page. The key to Soul Writing is to not overthink before you start. Just write down your feelings if that is all that comes. In times of crisis, this is a powerful practice to stay present. Here’s some prompts to get you started. Write these sentence openings and carry on – don’t worry about punctuation or grammar. Just write whatever comes to mind. You might surprise yourself.
- My soul says …
- My inner child wants …
- My inner child needs …
- I am happiest when …
- The best way to love myself is …
- Home is …
- If I were my best friend I would …
- Practice makes permanent: Return to your safe inner and outer space a few times a week and meet the page. Don’t edit what you write. Just step inside to listen to what your soul wants to say. Routine is reassuring, so this practice may benefit you beyond your writing.
- A sense of Wonder: Our creative well needs filling. We fill it with wonder. I invite you to step out of your door every day with the wonder of a child, or imagine you are an alien who has never visited Earth before. Try to look at life through those eyes, experiencing the world anew.
Healing childhood trauma pivots on feeling safe, and writing can help with that if we step into the feeling of safety. Be kind to yourself. Being creative is about experimenting and playing. Children don’t care about the outcome of their play. If you can step into this spirit of play, you might discover parts of yourself that surprise and delight you – as well as bringing your unconscious into consciousness on the page.
You don’t have to have any experience of meditating to use writing as part of your healing journey, nor do you need to have any experience of writing. All you need to do is bring your whole awareness to the breath, let go of thoughts and then at a point of stillness and calm, pick up your pen and write down anything that comes to mind. For those who would like to be guided, there are some free meditations at the end of this article on my YouTube channel.
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About the author:
Dr Sarah Walton is a novelist and Founder of Soul Writing – a method of writing from the intuition she developed in 2004 when recovering from brain injury. She uses her powerful method to unblock people’s creativity in their writing and connect to your creativity. Writing and creativity is also a powerful tool to unblock our lives – as well as healing from the trauma of the past.
Email [email protected] to book a private session or ask a question.
Write from your intuition and tap into the healing power of writing – Soul Writing: https://drsarahwalton.com/
The next Soul Writing 6-Week Course starts 28 October 2022 – register here:
FREE Soul Writing Meditation videos:
Safe Soul Sanctuary – Guided Meditation & Soul Writing Exercise to heal with creativity.
Dr Sarah’s Evening Meditation helps you to find the answers to creative questions and get your imagination working creatively while you sleep.
THE SILK PAVILION – ‘a brave and important book’ – Grace Nichols, Queen’s Gold Medal winner 2022.