A Bump in the Road – A Life-Transforming High School Experience

by Sheila Finkelstein on October 25, 2013

Ryan Dreams of Baseball

Although the following was not written for “healing writing” as such, I wanted to share it with you.

Starting, even before he was 9 years old, my grandson Ryan Finkelstein dreamed of being a baseball player.

And he never got close to it as you’ll read in his essay below.  It was written in response to a college application question:

“Describe a bump in the road in your academic or personal life.”

I was highly moved by the depths of what he wrote as well as the maturity of his writing. With his permission, I share it with you.

If I never lost everything that I was, I never would have become who I am today, and the most important thing I have learned is to have faith and work hard and everything will work itself out.” (His concluding statement in the essay that follows.) [click to continue…]


In AWE – Being Present to the Wonder in Our Life

by Sheila Finkelstein on June 25, 2013

Rocks Balanced by TruskusI am in a weekly writing group where the members and I do 4-minute, free-flow writing to quotes that participants bring. After I read my writing to the quote below, my friends became quite adamant in encouraging me to post it.

Though it wasn’t exactly “writing for healing”, I find all my free-flow writing is healing, in some way, as my subconscious speaks to me. I thank my friends Morgine Jurdan, Marifran Korb and Linda Butler today for their listening and giving me the space to be me.

The specific quote:

If you are not living in AWE you are not paying attention,” Albert Einstein

to which I wrote: [click to continue…]


On Father’s Day – Remembering Sam Bakely, My Father

by Sheila Finkelstein on June 17, 2013

On this Father’s Day, 2013, I’m moved to post here, the “writing for healing” after my father died.  I then ultimately read it at his memorial service on March 3, 1987.

(Note: Top photo was likely taken sometime in 1941 or 1942 when I was 2 years old. The second photo was in Florida from a road trip our family of five took in 1953. I was 12 1/2.)

Dad - Sheila Age 2Dad and Me at Age 15“Beloved Family and Friends,

I feel the need to sum up my feelings and discoveries in search for understandings of me and my father.

Uncle Dave has summed up his childhood.  To an extent the Daily News, his labor years, although it did not mention that my brothers and I are products of a Ladies Garment Workers picket line where Dad fell in love with Mom when he spotted her marching while he was organizing.

As we mourn his loss today, I’d like to share with you his final years in Florida and the man described to me by his wife, Laura, and his friends of the last 10 years.


[click to continue…]


Mother’s Day Memories – She Was My Best Friend

by Sheila Finkelstein on May 11, 2013

Throughout most of these posts my “Writing for Healing” has been around Sam, be beloved late husband, and the various emotions coming up around his no longer being here.

Given that tomorrow is Mother’s Day, I’m reminded of the healing writing I did 37 years ago, much of it on the airplane going back to her home in Florida to be with my father before coming back up to Philadelphia, her final resting place.  I expanded on what I wrote on the plane and read it at the Memorial Service we had for her. Publicly sharing like that was another part of the healing process.

And, 37 years later, there still as a missing along with the deep love and gratitude for who she was that had me be who I am today.

SHE WAS MY BEST FRIEND – Remembering Eva Grubman Bakely 11-12-14 to 8-1976


Best friend to husband, daughter, sons;
Best friend to family, sisters, sisters-in-law, nieces:
To friends; to those to whom she gave of self;
To those in Al-Anon to whom she helped give a new lease on life–
an inner strength.

Who is SHE?” she would have asked.
was wife; she was mother.
Sometimes one was first, sometimes the other
But never self!

[click to continue…]


Haiku Writing Used to Control Anger

by Sheila Finkelstein on June 9, 2012

As I was writing this week’s post for  Treasure Your Life Now I spontaneously registered HaikuForHealing.com and mask forwarded it over here to WritingforHealing.com.

Then I discovered that it’s been over 6 months since I posted here.  I haven’t been thinking in terms of needing “healing” and that’s kind of “silly”.  I’m thinking I’m putting a heavy weight on the term “healing”.  Writing is a process I use daily in my Morning Pages (a la Julia Cameron in the ARTIST’S WAY and all of her other books).

Oftentimes it’s “healing” when it gets me passed some blocks. The writing itself, when I don’t make it mean something, can be freeing.  Sometimes when “dumping” feels necessary, it can be cathartic. It’s far better to do it on paper than to or at another person.

And, at times when I’ve really needed to get control of myself I’ve used the Haiku process as described below.

harsh words Haiku on photo imageGoing through some old papers recently, I found one of the numerous Haikus I had written six and seven years ago when I was experiencing a great deal of anger at how Parkinson’s Disease was affecting my beloved Sam.

[click to continue…]


Thanksgiving and Always Gratitude for the Gifts of and from Sam

by Sheila Finkelstein on November 24, 2011

Photo on Left is Charcoal Portrait of Sam Finkelstein done by Chester Bloom in 1961. Photo on Right is Sam in Restaurant at Dinner Party in November, 2002, prior to move from NJ to Florida in December.

The Gift of Sam – Eternally grateful for my beloved Sam
The gifts from Sam to me were, and are, countless, some beyond measure:

The gift of unconditional love,
The gift of me,
The gift of my being “Number 1”, always and forever in his life, his heart.

The gift of love beyond measure for me, his sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren
The gift of acceptance of what could not be changed
The gift of words, words that surface and sustain me even now, some from 51 years ago.

[click to continue…]


Wind Caresses, Memories and Longing

by Sheila Finkelstein on December 27, 2010

I came across these random thoughts written on a pad as I walked in Green Cay a couple of months ago. Thought I’d add them here, since all writing, for me, adds to some form of healing.

snails at Green Cay WetlandsSeeing loads of snail shells, large ones, out of their element, or is it me?

Breezes sweep past and caress my legs as I look out –
Cameraless, Partnerless, here at Green Cay.

Pad and Pen – Spaces for Tears.
Well, I let them come.  No camera to hide behind tonight.

Feeling breezes again
Quick caresses on my legs.
Oh, how I wish they were yours, that you were here, my Beloved.

Spoonbill was on dry land, dried out spot –
Found way back to walk.
Only for me, dry land – wet land.
There is more to find here on Earth.

Anhinga is spreading his wings and don’t know why it is.
Is it you, my Darling, letting me know through your favorite bird that you’re here?


Bread Soaking Up and Giving Life

by Sheila Finkelstein on September 26, 2010

Today WRITING CAMP, my friend Morgine Jurdan wrote and read about a delectable meal she recently had. Beautifully described, missing, for me, was the bread soaking up sauce part she had told me about in an earlier phone conversation. After the call, I wrote:

Morgine’s bread soaking up the cream mustard sauce – doesn’t matter what the sauce – I see it, feel it, that piece of bread swelling with the fullness of the tasty moisture it is absorbing – all the cells getting full as its body is pushed around the plate to gather up all that is available in the plate of life to put into my gut.

“My gut” – Interesting I’m so harsh about it – “gut” sounds so heavy, almost ugly. What if it were into my “being” – gently, slowly, if I temper myself to taste morsel by morsel and allow myself to digest the treasures of the plate – slowly working their way through my boding, sensing the spaces they need to fill? It’s all liquid, absorbed and softened by the carrier, a healthy piece of bread, bringing out peace of mind, peace of body.

PS – Originally wrote “mustard sauce” and in editing added the “cream” (which had in reality been there). I was tempted to remove the “mustard” part. “Too tangy”, thought I. Then, “Silly, or not, maybe that’s what’s missing for you – the tanginess of life!”

If you missed the link to Morgine’s writing, see I Remember…, halfway down the post, for the meal writing to which I responded.


Writing Prompt – Blessings in Front of Me

by Sheila Finkelstein on September 24, 2010

I had a full “plate” of classes and “to-dos” today and once again I got a nudge at 11:30 AM to finish the call I was on and drop in on Julie Jordan Scott’s WRITING CAMP. From my experience of being in the spaces that Julie creates, I know something is bound to open up for me. I my not always know what it is or will be and I was surprised today to find that memories of Sam flowed from my, interestingly, red pen. Was the “red” for my heart?

The prompt “Blessings in front of my right now; the floor and the tiles that take me anywhere I want to go in my house: to the riches or the distractions; to 3 carpeted rooms, two of which house my MacIntosh computers; the other my bed for rest and memories of Sam, of being held closely, tightly, lovingly and being gently caressed on the flesh of my abdomen when I lay on my back.

I hated this. It brought my attention and awareness to what I felt was an excess of fat, more pronounced, for me, with his caresses. I always stopped him, removed his hand; never thought to ask what pleasure he derived from this. Too late now.

My writing continued, given there was more time before the timer had Julie state, “Complete your thought and end for now.” I continued writing about the pot in front of me, in the center of the floor, remaining from a fire ritual I did last night, celebrating the Fall Equinox. And that story is unimportant here.

Suffice it to say, “Life does go on and we can continue to find richness and blessings if we put ourselves out in communities which support us.” Thank you, Julie.


Writing – Breathing from the Heart

by Sheila Finkelstein on September 22, 2010

This morning I was moved to join a call facilitated by Julie Jordan Scott.  The call was one of her current 49-day daily writing program in AND NOW, YOU WRITE. I’ve been a participant in countless calls and programs that Julie has offered over the past eight or more years that I have known her.  She is a truly authentic, loving, sharing, caring, generous human being. I consider her one of my mentors and know that always something will open up for me out of being in her presence. If you are interested in writing and/or being comfortable in expressing yourself, I strongly recommend you check out Julie’s AND NOW, YOU WRITE virtual writing camp.

The prompt for today was “I fill the paper with the breathing of my heart” and in the subsequent five minutes of free-flow writing time, the words that filled my paper became:

I fill the paper with the breathing of my heart.  Prompt from Julie Jordan Scott

So often the paper is filled with my questions. Is my heart full of questions?  What are they?
I’m often not breathing, not consciously so… not with awareness, anyway, that is.
If I don’t pay attention to my breathing is that protecting my heart protecting me from my heart?
My heart/your heart is/both are our lifelines to our beings.
Thump.  Thump. Thump.
What is my heart saying?
What does it want me to hear?
Is it “hearing” or is it “feeling” that it wants me to do?
Are there words that I am hiding, suppressing?  Words that want to come through?
Thump.  Thump. Thump.
Steady is my heart in rhythmic breathing – breaths.
Does it pound?  Does it want to pound?
What happens when I am excited?  Do I pass on that excitement to you?
Do you feel it?
I haven’t said anything or much, yet and
I have filled the paper with words.
What do you hear my heart saying?