mind

Imperfectly Journaling

Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.
— Christina Baldwin

Taking quiet time to imperfectly journal on a regular basis provides a way for you to see, feel, and know what’s happening inside you. There are many ways to journal, which can be daunting or confusing, so I suggest doing whatever feels right for you. There are no rules. Know that you can’t do it wrong. This is, hands-down, the most powerful thing I do to connect with my inner self. 

Journaling is a lot like meditation: there are so many ways to do it, that it’s easy to get stuck in performing the technique perfectly but miss the point of the experience entirely. The most important element is for you to be 100% you. Write, draw, paint (whatever medium feels good to you) what’s on your mind and in your heart in that moment. Do it on a regular basis. This means absolutely whatever works for you: daily, 5-days a week, 2-days a week, weekly, monthly. Start somewhere. 

Journaling is the most direct connection to my inner self. It’s a peaceful, magical place where I am totally free to explore what’s in my mind, body, and heart. I keep a 6” x 9” artist sketch book and a variety of colored fine-tipped markers in a drawer, in our living room where I can easily access them. In the morning, with my first divine cup of coffee, I choose a colored pen and write one page. Sometimes I write more, sometimes less, and sometimes I doodle. The key is that I show up and write from my inner most thoughts and feelings at least 5 days a week. 

If nothing comes to mind, I ask myself some questions. “What am I feeling? What has grabbed my attention lately? Who has inspired me? What’s bothering me?” Usually these stimulate my mind and words flow onto the page. If not, I doodle. This is my sacred time to be with me, to hear my thoughts and feelings, to tinker with my ideas, troubles, confusion and solutions. Sometimes I surprise myself. 

If you'd like to experiment with journaling, here are some ideas to get started. 

Write in a journal for a set amount of time. For example, commit to journaling daily for 1 week, longer if possible. Here are some prompts to get started:

I’m feeling…

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about…

When my mind wanders or I day dream, I think about…

The thing that vexes me most right now is…

I’m really ready to…

I wish…

I feel really good about…

Clutter Outside = Clutter Inside

Having a clear mind and a clear space allows you to think and act with purpose.
— Erika Oppenheimer

It's the very first day of 2015. Woohoo! Is your nest ready to incubate your dreams into fledgling actions?

My mom says, “Organization is the key to happiness!” Okay, that may be a bit over-zealous, but I've found that when my physical space is too cluttered, my thoughts become jumbled and chaotic. Like a heavy fog settling over a mountain peak, the mess obscures my thoughts.

Disclaimer: My son says he learned his "stop & drop" method from me so I may be extra talented in creating piles of stuff.

I’m not suggesting a perfectly organized life from your desk to your junk drawer. That would be over-the-top. I’m suggesting that you know when the clutter is out of control, when it’s distracting, when you can’t find anything, or when it’s an eyesore for you. That kind of clutter has a way of creeping from the outside into your inner world, and causing disruptive static when you try to tune into your inner voice. 

After I organize or clean-up something that has been bugging me, I feel more at peace and ready to dive into projects with my full, wholehearted attention. 

Explore…

Take a baby step. For 15 minutes, organize or clean-up something. For example, separate everything from a pile based on whatever makes sense to you such as, making a separate stack for each room, file, or container and then putting it all away. 

Write in your journal or visually represent your thoughts to these prompts:

These 5 words describe how I feel about the notion of organizing or cleaning...

While I was cleaning/organizing, I felt...

Now that I'm finished, I feel...

Writing Wildly

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“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Wayne Dyer

This exercise was inspired by Natalie Goldberg’s book called Wild Mind. I do it when I’m befuddled, off-center, or out of touch with my inner self. 

It will take you precisely 20 minutes. It will allow you to bypass your mind’s critical voice in order to unearth the underlying thoughts and feelings at the root of your befuddlement. 

Experiment with this process and notice what comes up for you. Approach it with the attitude of freely writing whatever comes into your mind and know you always have the option of destroying what you write.

I’m always surprised by what I write. Always. This is how I think of it. This process taps into my unconscious mind, which is similar to a computer’s operating system and provides a platform for my conscious mind to operate. Understanding more about the motivation, thoughts, assumptions, and feelings of my unconscious mind helps me understand why I’m doing what I’m doing at a conscious level. 

Dive in...

Sit quietly with a notebook and pen or pencil and follow these specific rules: 

1) Write for 10 minutes based on a writing prompt such as, “I remember” or “I know.” After you finish, write from the opposite perspective. Write for 10 minutes using a prompt such as, “I don’t remember” or “I don’t know.” 

2) Do not stop writing. Do not stop moving your pen or pencil. If you don’t know what to write, write, “I don’t know what to write,” as long as it takes, until something more comes. 

3) Go for the jugular: No editing or making it sound nice. You can destroy it after you’re finished. 

4) Don’t think, only write. 

5)Write based on a specific question or situation, or based on nothing specific.

What surprised you? What did you learn? Has your perception of the situation changed?