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Rx: Creative Writing

A simple exercise I do with all cancer and pain patients, as well as domestic violence survivors, uses these prompts:

“Cancer is …”

“Pain is …”

“Domestic violence is …”

Write the name of your disease or problem, along with the word “is,” as many times as you need to until the writing flows. One patient started by writing, “Cancer is, cancer is, what is this writing nonsense, cancer is, cancer is,” until she broke through by letting go and giving over to Greater Hands. Here is what she read aloud in class:

Cancer is … an awakening …

Awakening, awakening, awakening … what woke up?

Diet, friends, lifestyle, day/night …

What was asleep?



Figuring out one’s identity …

Sleep, day/night.

Decisions in the past,

No regrets,

Do it all over the same way!

Health, mindbody … dealing with stress.

What was really awakened?

What is under it all?


Is it good /bad to tell or not to tell?

I have cancer.


Internal dialogue — what does it all mean?

When to be sad?

Protect the ones you love.

Why do you express yourself so differently to different people?

Do you want sympathy?

Are you real?

What is real?

How do you become real?


Diet /lifestyle /work? What needs to be awakened?


There is great truth in emotions.