Have you ever had one of those days where you just didn’t wake up feeling great? Last week I got up and my shoulders were stiff and achy and I felt “blah.” However, it was a beautiful day and I had promised my husband and daughter that we’d do a big day hike, so immediately a voice in my head started in. Get over it, the voice said. You’ll never enjoy a day hiking in this mood. Pep up! Get with the program!
And the more the voice continued, the more tired I got. In fact, I had just woken up an hour earlier and a nap already sounded good! Instead, I decided to do a few minutes of journaling and see what came up. About three minutes into writing, I recognized the voice that was ruining my peace. It was the one that says I need to be “up” all the time, part of the team, ready to go. I’ve never been a cheerleader, but it had that peppy “let’s go” attitude… only with a sharp tone.
As soon as I recognized it, I realized that what I really needed was compassion, not marching orders. I gave myself permission to feel tired and grumpy. Permission to go on a hike not being my “best” self. As soon as I did that, my energy began to rise… and it stayed high the rest of the day.
This is where journaling can be so powerful. So often we power through signals we’re getting that something needs to shift. Journaling is a way of slowing us down long enough to listen. We get to process what’s going on and extract the wisdom, rather than hurtling forward without gathering the gifts along the way.
These are a few of my favorite journaling techniques…
- Question technique. I ask a question, such as “Why am I feeling so tired?” then breathe deeply and wait for answers to float up.
- Fear splat. I quickly write everything that I’m currently worried about, from the small to the large. This includes everything from health concerns to my pants not fitting. Nothing is too trivial…
- Dialoging. I have a conversation with some issue that’s “hot” for me at the time. Perhaps I’ll dialog with my perfectionist side on why she’s not wanting me to begin a book. Or I’ll dialog with my writer’s block or with a part of my body that is aching for mysterious reasons. You can dialog with anything, even your big toe!
So next time something is awry, consider taking to the page rather than immediately moving forward. Watch things shift as you take the time to be with your perfectly imperfect self…
As founder of Backyard Pearls, LLC, Carolyn Scarborough helps people tap into their inner wisdom, then share it with the world through books, blogs and articles. As a Writing Wisdom Coach, she supports you through the journey from inspiring idea to published piece in a way that’s joyful, effortless and profitable.
She’s done almost every kind of writing imaginable, including magazine features, newspaper columns, books, journaling — even ghostwriting for Donald Trump! Her favorite sort of writing is the kind where she has to be really present to find the story, so her life and writing are both a constant awakening to a deeper, richer way to live in the world.
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