How To Use Your Grief As A Catalyst For Creative Expression

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Grief is defined as the emotional response to great trauma or deep sorrow. When in that solemn place it can be hard to find the light or even an outlet. Yet, sometimes, the act of creation can make things better, even when they can't be made right. Here is a creative exercise to call on during moments of grief:

  1. Find a magazine or newspaper (even one of those free dailies will work).
  2. Open the paper to a full spread—one with lots of articles and words, not a bunch of photos.
  3. Get yourself a highlighter or colored pen.
  4. Close your eyes for a moment, take a good deep breath (as deep as you can). Exhale, and begin to lightly scan the paper, underlining random words from all over the page.
  5. Then, build a found-word poem, or a short prose piece, by taking what you've highlighted from various sentences and joining them together.
  6. Let the available words dictate what is written, but don't feel stuck to one article or column. You can ramble all over. Try it a few times: You'll be surprised by what you find.

While creative practices like these won't fix you, and can't bring back what you've lost, they can help you illustrate the story of what is, and what could be.