Today author Brette Petway is here to share why she wrote her new book, Prayer is Good: A Path from Grief to Peace.
Q. Can you share with us why you wrote the book?
A. I started journaling at twenty-eight years old. My writing began on a wilderness trip – I had decided I needed to spend a month in the Canyonlands in Utah. The trip became a therapeutic journey that changed my life and how I handled my feelings and emotions.
Earlier that same year my younger sister, Mandi, passed away. She was only 25. I remember my sister being sweet, sensitive, and spiritual. She had brown hair, green eyes, and a slender build. Over time, her appearance on the outside changed because of her cancer treatments, but her outlook remained positive and strong. She was a junior in high school when she was diagnosed with a form of cancer called Hodgkin’s disease.
I was frozen with grief, pain, sadness, anger, abandon, and depression. My family never really talked about what her illness meant to each of us, or to us as a family unit. We had to deal with the emotions surrounding her illness or death on our own. If my family talked about issues, we didn’t really communicate any feelings. Our feelings stayed bottled up inside. The message was feel it, but keep it to yourself (mostly because no one knew how to process the grief). My family was like a lot of others; sharing love, life, and all that we endure with it, including grief, the best we could.
Q. How did journaling and painting help you deal with your grief?
A. After the untimely loss of my sister, I found myself expressing the pain by writing in my journal and drawing my feelings. One day, I realized that all of these were really prayers on paper and helped me overcome my emotional pain. Using the senses to express emotion can be a powerful way to work through anguish on a path toward peace. In our digital driven society --- journaling, writing and tactile arts are more important than ever. Studies show that writing with a pen and paper activates regions of the brain that are associated with processing and remembering, two important elements to the grieving process. Writing electronically simply doesn’t fire up these same regions of the brain.
As a spiritual artist I have experienced the benefits of a full body approach to learning, grieving, and life in general. In fact, I moved to Boulder, Colorado so my children could attend a Waldorf School, which supports an art-based curriculum that fosters a head, heART, hands education that focuses on creating a connection throughout the body. The emotions passed through me and manifested in my paintings and art creations.
I’ve written a bit about my own grief journey. How do you feel your grief journey has changed you?
Through my loss, I learned that life is full of many opportunities to love, learn, grow and really show gratitude for the path the God has shown me. Initially my grief journey was about losing my sister, however, since that revelation, the journey became more about nurturing self-awareness and creating a closer relationship to God. Day in and day out I had God, my journal, and art. My creative approach to prayer is what I call “Active Prayer.”
What thoughts would you like to share with readers who are going through their own grieving period?
While we all process sadness in different ways, journaling, art and prayer can be healing tools to rid the body of the grief that weighs you down. Start with an “Active Prayer” by writing a journal entry. If you feel inspired you can also color a graphic image of words in your prayer. Be inspired and encouraged to tune into your own stories, experiences, and inspirations during this time. Do not be attached to what you write or how you color the words. This prayerful journey is about you processing your feelings and expressing your personal prayer and conversation with God.
Creating a quiet and dedicated journaling space is helpful so that you can express your innermost feelings and connect to God. The dedicated space in the corner of your bedroom or living room where you there is a cozy pillow, a pen and paper, a candle, some relaxing tea, incense, or aromatherapy. Using the senses to express emotion can be a powerful way to work through anguish on a path toward peace.
Here’s 4 simple ways that Prayer is Good is interactive – Read Bible Scripture, journal your prayer, color inspirational words and tips for creating a dedicated prayer space.
Q. Brette, Your team-mates refer to you as a Prayer-Pioneer. What does this mean to you?
A. That I inspire people to make prayer a part of every moment and “prayer it forward”. I am asking folks to take an interactive prayer journey, ----color, draw and journal in my brand new book and bring your prayers to life and life to your prayers.
More About Brette Petway
Brette Petway is a spiritual artist and author, as well as the founder and creator of Prayer is Good, LLC. Prayer is Good creates products which bring prayers to life and life to prayers through art, coloring and journaling.
For further information, visit www.prayerisgood.com. You can also follow Prayer is Good on Facebook/Prayerisgood.co and on Instagram at @PrayerisGood_.
Prayer is Good: A Path from Grief to Peace can be purchased in paperback from Amazon.com or prayerisgood.com.
Author of the Landry's True Colors Series, the Cecily Taylor Series, the Star Series, and Dating the It Guy.