You are not Alone – Over the last year and a half, we have practiced safety, which unfortunately led many of us away from our routines, rituals, and in some cases, our families and communities. However, there is hope for the feelings of isolation that we may be experiencing. This hope can be found in the healing power of storytelling and through memories, wishes, hopes, and prayers.
When was the last time you heard a great story, read a great story, or thought I have a great story? According to Psychology Today, “Storytelling turns off the body’s stress responses, flipping off toxic stress responses, and flipping on relaxation response that release healing hormones, like oxycontin and dopamine.” Telling stories and sharing with others can deepen our relationships or start new ones, increasing our empathy for and connection with one another.
Across the world, cultures use the idea of a “wishing wall” to provide a space to leave handwritten wishes for the future or notes to one another, oftentimes to strangers so they can be inspired or encouraged. We invite you to share memories, wishes, hopes, and prayers for anyone who has experienced breast cancer on Forge’s “wishing wall.”
Memories – Sparking your imagination and senses to vibrant, happy memories can release “feel-good endorphins.” Memories are can be a form of medicine. Practice by writing memories that bring you joy. Remember, you get to choose which memories to think about and share!
Wishes – When I was a young child, I would blow out the candles of my birthday cake with sheer enthusiasm. Although I can’t remember what I wished back then, I do remember how excited I was to make a wish. If you could wish something to or for someone in survivorship or maybe it is for yourself, what would that wish be? Challenge yourself to practice wishing for more stories of delight and gratitude. Looking for things to be grateful for can make it easier to create more things to be grateful for in our lives.
Hopes and Prayers – Do you have a belief in something higher than yourself? It is okay if you do or if you don’t. I like to think that hope is the belief that there is something bigger than ourselves in this world. Hope can be a simple prayer connecting yourself to a higher power or to the healing power of another person’s story. Believing in hope can contribute to our overall well-being and can motivate us to make positive changes for the future.
The beauty of storytelling and sharing with others is that stories help us relax and can contribute to healing the mind of depression, anxiety, fear, anger, and feelings of loneliness.
When we happily tap into the connection that comes from storytelling, we become aware that we are not alone!
In healing and story,
About the Author
Salaam Green, is a Poet, Storyteller, Expressive Writing Coach & Artist in Residence with UAB Institute for Arts in Medicine. Salaam uses art and healing as a tool to support others in transforming their lives and moving toward wellness and healing. Salaam in Partnership with her business The Literary Healing Arts collaborated on creating the memories, wishes, hopes, and prayers story healing installation with Forge for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For more information on ways Salaam can support you or your organization please contact her at [email protected] or visit theliteraryhealingarts.com. Also, you may find her on Forge’s front porch sharing stories and writing to heal; grab a journal and feel free to join in Storytime.