Writing Practices


Through the Door Practice

Visualize yourself standing in front of a door.  You see a word written above it, then open the door and walk through it. You find yourself in a room with a chair and table in the centre. You walk over to the chair and sit down. On the table is an open book. You see the word from the top of the door, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Now allow yourself to open to any images, feelings, or thoughts about the word. If a memory or image arises enter it fully, noticing what you see, smell, taste, touch, and feel. Continue to immerse yourself in whatever is arising. When this feels complete, get up, cross the room, open the door, and bring your awareness to your everyday surroundings. Pick up your pen and write out what you experienced as fully as you can.  Read over the writing and let it sit overnight. Sense what it wants to be, then be alert for the next step and carry it out.

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The Heart Breath

The heart is unfailing in its guidance on the creative path. The heart is our innermost self, who we are at the deepest core. When we bring our awareness within and breathe deeply, we can access its stirrings, which often come as impulses or longings that our rational mind ignores. The more we rest in the heart space, the more we are aware of these inner urgings and with awareness we can act on them.

Sometimes the heart may urge you to write something your mind perceives as difficult, such as a traumatic experience from your childhood or adult life. The mind pulls back in fear, but the heart allows the experience. It guides you back to the event, so you will find the gold inside and retrieve it. When you go back to an experience, you find new insights waiting for you. The experience loses its terror. It just is. The heart understands this.  The mind never will. It will say, “No, I don’t want to go there, it’s too dangerous.” Yet bringing light and healing to difficult experiences helps us move forward. We cease to hold these in our bodies, for they are released onto the page. The same applies to joyful moments. As we go deeply into pivotal moments and articulate the feelings they evoke in words, we are able to share them with others. The following is a poem I wrote resting in my heart space several years ago:

Winter Afternoon

My face tips towards yours in such a way

that your breath softens into mine,

your eyelids, cheeks, mouth

lose all they’ve carried for nearly forty years,

your skin growing almost translucent.

For an instant nothing matters in this face

now a small child’s shining

from another life, or one still to come,

or perhaps I’m watching the face

that’s been here all along

had I the eyes to see it


Practice: The Heart Breath

Find a comfortable place to sit and bring your focus deep within your body, breathing fully several times. As you continue to breathe, notice the rise and fall of your abdomen with each in and out breath. Now bring your focus gently into the centre of your chest and be aware of any sensations there, whether pulsing, aching or tightness. It may help to rest the tips of your fingers of one hand in the centre of your chest. Continue breathing deeply for several minutes, just noticing what is there without labeling or trying to control it in any way. When you feel ready, sense if there is something in the space of your heart that wishes to be expressed on the page. Is there an image or feeling you feel drawn to write about? Gently pick up your pen and begin writing any words that wish to arise, regardless of how they are coming. Write until the writing feels complete.


After you have put down your pen, take a short break (even a walk around the room) and read over what you’ve written, highlighting any compelling words or passages. Sense if you can shape this into a piece, or whether the writing contains an idea for more exploratory writing. Set aside time to do this within the next few days.

Lorraine Gane © 2016