Monday, June 25, 2018

MINDFULNESS & THE HEALING POWER OF WORDS: Guest Post by Louise Jensen

Louise Jensen:
Mindfulness & the Healing Power of Words 

It’s over ten years ago now since I had the accident which changed my life. My mobility lost, the future I thought I’d have cruelly snatched away. Chronic pain whispered in my ear that it would never go. That I would never truly feel happy again. Unable to work I lost my business, my house. My mental health plummeted. I couldn’t see a way forward.

Eventually, after throwing myself the longest pity party in history, I knew I had to make a change, if not for me, then for my three children. It was then I discovered Mindfulness. At first it seemed impossible to stay in the present moment. The past dragging me back with its cold fingers to the time when I was healthy, mocking – look at what you lost. The future beckoning me – no longer sparkling and enticing, but dark and terrifying. But slowly I learned to use my senses as an anchor. Each time I became aware I had drifted into negative thoughts asking myself what can I see right now? What can I smell? Taste? Touch? Hear?

These skills led me to the safe haven of the here and now where I am okay. I am safe. I am loved.

Later, it was these skills, the way I learned to really connect with my environment, that led me to writing scenes that have recently been described in a newspaper as: Jensen’s beautifully descriptive prose has a magnetic, mesmerizing power, drawing the reader in, inspiring intrigue, curiosity and sporadic, unexpected adrenaline rushes.

Our senses are warrior powerful. Not only connecting us to the present moment but also able to transport us back to the past at lightning speed. Each time I smell cinnamon I spiral back to balancing on a stool in my Nana’s kitchen, stirring the Christmas cake, making a wish.

The Sister begins with Grace digging up a memory box that she and her best friend, Charlie, had buried as teenagers. When she sees the magazine cuttings of pop stars she’d loved covering the box she is sixteen once more. Smelling the Chanel No. 5 Charlie stole from her mum. Tasting the sweet, fizzing cider they’d drink in secret in a bid to feel grown up. Evoking sense really brings prose to life. Writing this book gave me a purpose. Words have the power to heal, to lift. They illuminated my world which for a time had become very bleak.

Today, mindfulness doesn’t only help me with writing. It helps me realize when I need a break. I am kinder to my body. To myself. It also gives me the tools to switch off at the end of the day. As an author my head is often full of plot twists and red herrings but when I spend time with my family I want to be with them mentally as well as physically with a head full of them, and only them.

Through mindfulness I’ve recovered from clinical depression, learned how to write, and also how to switch off. Using my senses I’ve become present. Aware. Grateful the world is such a beautiful place. I just lost sight of that for a while. I may not have freedom in my body but I have freedom in my mind and that’s the greatest freedom of all.

***

Louise Jensen is the Global No.1 Bestselling author of psychological thrillers The Sister, The Gift, The Surrogate & The Date. Louise has sold approaching a million books and her novels have been sold for translation to nineteen territories, as well as being featured on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestseller’s List. Louise was nominated for the Goodreads Debut Author of 2016 Award. 

No comments: