The reason I write is to share the things that have broken me, inspired me, and healed me the most. I am of an age where there is a lot to look back on, but a desire to move forward more courageously and thoughtfully. My children are grown, I have a great relationship, a comfortable home, and the means to care for myself in any way that my needs call for. I have more than many, not as much as some, and just enough to make me joyously content. My past is fodder for many subjects and my current understanding of what I have overcome delightful. It makes for a giddy gratitude that fuels me to try and help others in any way I can. When your cup is overflowing it has to go somewhere.
Writing is a self-help tool that anyone who can hold a pen can make use of. It is a way to dump the garbage your brain has been composting and stirring up so that you can sleep clear-headed. Writing will reveal the lies you tell yourself and also your deepest fears. Putting pen to paper can assist you in unleashing a landslide of anger without alienating another human. It is a tangible way of doing SOMETHING about any challenge you might be faced with. Nothing is more engaging than discovering some truth on the page that you had not even formed a thought about. And that’s the point. When you write you access the secret log book to your soul.
One of the tools I use with my clients is what in sales they used to call the “Ben Franklin Close”. Pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages – it is a wonderful tool for getting at the truth, the solution, or helping you make decisions and see the value in choice. Simply draw a vertical line down a sheet of paper. Use it for whatever you are dealing with. My favorite is “Don’t Want” vs. “Want Instead”. This works for all kinds of situations. Out there dating? Looking for a new job? Mad at yourself and looking for solutions? Need new ideas for a project? The simple act of writing something out with the intention of looking for a solution puts you on the path to many open doors. It accesses a part of the brain you sometimes can’t get to by mere pondering or worrying about a situation.
Writing is also a great tool for experiencing our feelings, developing gratitude, and for exploring what hides in the recesses of our mind unless we explore with a pen. A great spiritual exercise I learned to use when I was in the depths of despair over a breakup was the “I love this because_______” writing exercise. Training myself to look for the good in every situation (no matter how devastating) took courage and the willingness to want to feel differently. Amazingly, I began to gain perspective on the red flags I missed, the things I gave up to keep him around, and a whole lot of clarity and truth. It was what helped me give up the grieving and get on with my life.
Anais Nin stated “We write to taste life twice”. It helps me to see things from the perspective of new understanding, a night’s sleep, or just the willingness to own up to my own part in an event. I can own my feelings, express my hopes or fears, and close the cover of my journal and never look at it again. I can create new ideas, bring old ones to the light of new experiences, and convey the things that I hope will inspire others to action that will nourish their souls. Whatever the reason, you can sit back and know that in front of you is evidence that you accomplished something that was productive – regardless of the goal.
By just sitting down at my keyboard and speaking my truth, something was created on the page. Unless someone comments or some conversation is started, I will never know whether it mattered to anyone but me. But because I wanted to produce something, once I started the things that my soul had to say engaged me in the task. I was inspired to continue and curious to see what would evolve. And maybe, just maybe…someone else will be inspired to try writing as well.
What would keep you from trying out a bit of writing today?