Catharsis & Kenosis: The Sacred Art of Writing
To create art is to express something of what lies in the soul, conveying the spirit onto paper. The process of writing has an inherent spirituality, as the writer pours themselves into their words. Writing is a way to share what inspires us. We may write with the goal of inspiring others in turn- encouraging readers not to give up, to know that they are not alone, to pursue their passions, and to positively change the world.
Being a writer is a vocation, beyond the writer themselves. In writing, one has the power to teach, to enlighten, which isn’t one-sided, but a collaboration. Teaching allows the teacher to learn, too, to be humbled by students, and strive towards a higher purpose, still. The act of sharing knowledge is an act of self-giving, spiritual generation, bringing new learners into the fold, teaching them how to carry the torch forward. Writing is never stagnant, always in flux, welcoming others to reimagine the world, so that there is constant artistic creation, perpetual responses ignited by the original spark. It’s why we return to reading classics, finding inspiration in works by the likes of Jane Austen or Shakespeare, continuing to react to them in our own inventive ways.
What is sacred is transcendent. Written works transcend time and place, reaching across the distances. If there wasn’t something sacred about writing, it would be easy to simply let it be, without allowing it to breathe and transform, to grow ever more radiant in giving it a life beyond one’s notebooks in a drawer. While taking what can be daunting steps to disseminate our words, we can transcend our human fears. Because writing is so personal, so close to the heart, being an extension of the inner spirit, it can be difficult to share. We may be inhibited by self-doubt, rejecting our own work before it has been read by another. However, the spirit that drives the writing process often wins, the transcendent rising above the corporeal, with the need to help, to teach, to share, triumphing over fear.
Writing that endures is writing that is empathetic, appealing to the human heart in all its stages of life, in any time or place, because what is sacred is given fully, unconditionally, from the self, the epitome of agape, sacrificial, love, so that even when it hurts to write, reliving sorrow and pain, wounds are mended. As the heart breaks, it becomes stronger and richer, deepened with love. Understanding is the root of the love, and the heart that breaks knows suffering, feeling for others. Never solitary, writing takes on meaning in new ways by passing through other hands, touching other hearts. It may be cathartic, releasing emotions helping us to heal ourselves, but ultimately, it is a form of kenosis, emptying the self to heal others. Writing fills the empty vessel, the blank page, with light, shining not only to reflect what’s within us as individuals, but for others to see, and find their way, too.
Kathryn Sadakierski’s writing has appeared in Agape Review, Critical Read, Halfway Down the Stairs, Literature Today, NewPages Blog, Silkworm, Songs of Eretz, and elsewhere. Her micro-chapbook “Travels through New York” was published by Origami Poems Project (2020). She holds a B.A. and M.S. from Bay Path University.