How Journaling Led to my Healing: Mind, Body & Spirit
I don't know exactly how I got started writing in my journal every morning, but I do recall the writing began with a desperate need to share my pain. It was the first time my pain was so deep, I did not want to share it with people I trusted. The pain was raw, irrational, and unkind. WHEN THE NEED TO WRITE BEGAN I was going through a second divorce with the same man. It was 2013, and my health was also at its worst. During that divorce, I was so ill, I lost 22lbs in 3 months. Among the illness was a fear of eating because eating would cause excruciating pain. The chronic fatigue at that time was also extreme, the body demanded 3hr naps daily and still feeling tired throughout the day. I was seeing several doctors for these ailments but had no answers. THE OPENING OF PANDORA'S BOX So, it was in this physical and emotional pain that I began writing. I wrote to God. I wrote asking Him for help. I wrote of the heartache, the anger, the resentment. I wrote of the "why me?" I wrote of the anguish and fear. I wrote, "Dear Lord God, please help me." Many of the early writings were desperate pleas for help. What I didn't know at the time, was that the journaling opened up a portal for healing. The writing revealed what I ignored, stuffed, denied, or buffered. It made me take responsibility for my part in the divorce. It made me repent, but not to God. To MYSELF. It began with anger toward myself: "Why did I let this happen?" "Why did I ignore the red flags? I saw them right in front of me!" "Why was I such a pushover?" "Why was I not enough for my husband?" "How could I be so easily disregarded, ignored? "Why didn't anybody tell me? REALLY tell me." I wrote out the hate I had for myself, for my inaction, for my avoidance. I wrote out the disgust I had in myself for not having the bravery to address the red flags. I wrote out my self-loathing for 'letting this happen to me.' I wrote out how it was unfair. I wrote out the pain of feeling easily replaced, 'left in the gutter.' I wrote and wrote and wrote. THE TRUTH IS REVEALED As I let go of all the mind stories, they were a verbal vomit, a release of something in my body that my body needed to expel in order to heal. I saw in my writing, my letters to God, a new relationship developing with myself, my story, and God Himself. I began to see the lies and mistruths I told myself to hate my ex so that I didn't have to face my own responsibilities that added to the dynamic. I began to notice my inner critic, a voice in my mind that does not always speak truth. I began to learn to have a dialogue with my inner critic, getting her on board with what is, not what she made things mean. I began to see how all along my inner critic was trying to protect me but often made things worse. Instead of disliking her, I learned to nurture her. I learned to discern WITH her what was true and what wasn't. I honored what she made things mean ("I'm not worthy."), and dialogued with her the truth ("You are lovable and worthy."). I created affirmations in my writing, new truths for my inner critic, for the wounded depths of self to heal and love herself. SELF-FORGIVENESS & SELF-LOVE IS CULTIVATED The writing led me on a journey of self-forgiveness and self-love. I learned that forgiveness was not saying what someone else (or I) did was okay. Forgiveness meant I no longer held onto the pain in my mind stories, releasing myself from reliving the pain. I realized that without the forgiveness, I let hurts of others and my past faults fester inside me, inflicting me with the incident over and over, despite the fact that it doesn't exist anymore. I realized the power of my imagination and the power of noticing and directing my thoughts. SPIRITUAL WELLBEING The writing also transformed my relationship with God and my belief system of Him. I now also regard Him as Source and Universe. I have come to believe He is in all things, visible and invisible. I have come to believe I am a Spirit having a human experience and a human having a spiritual experience. I now also write to my Spirit as well as angels, saints, and guides I believe God has gifted us to help us on our life journey. I believe this relationship with my Higher Self and the spiritual world makes for a more loving, belonging, and supported life. Most of all, my spiritual growth in writing a journal has taught me love. To love all. To be love. To love myself, even at the times I may not be lovable. To not judge others or myself. To let people be who they are without having to categorize, label, or judge them. This process of spiritual growth has planted a seed in my heart to help others find their own version of love, joy, fulfillment, and inner peace. WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE The journaling is a date with myself first thing in the morning with my cup of coffee. My coffee is now an anchor for my morning writings. She symbolizes a friendship that is always there for me when I need her and never lets me down. She is reliable and supports me in all my moods. She has no judgment of me or what I write in the journal. She is a metaphor for the friend I am to myself. For the most part, there are no journal prompts, though I have used them and still do to help me get clear about the things that I have not contemplated or want to consider. Most days, I write whatever comes to mind. Some days are mundane, useless words. Other days profound insights. Some days are complaining, judging, and wallowing in self-pity. Whatever the mind needs to release, it is released. I become aware of 'what exactly is going on between these two ears.' With this writing practice, my thoughts have become disciplined rather than scattered, chaotic, and creating fewer whirlpools of lack or worry. When my mind does go into the whirlpools of lack and worry, I catch it in the act, notice they are just thoughts, detach from them, and decide to focus my mind on what is most important. I know that this practice is showing my mind how to create new mindstories that support me. THE CONSEQUENCE I now notice my thoughts on a daily basis. They are less jumbled and scattered. They are watched and observed rather than taken for truth. I don't "buy into" every thought that I have or that I hear from the outer world. I am less triggered by thoughts or events. I have mental well-being I innately knew existed but didn't even know I wanted. WHAT IS THE COST OF MORNING WRITING Time with yourself Time with your thoughts Time to release pent up pains Time to heal Time to listen Time deciding what is actually important Time connecting with what's important and making that a daily priority A creating of meaningful connections with yourself and others An increased happiness baseline An increased patience A mental landscape of less judgment and more calm regardless of what people say or do A life transformed into one worth living A life of opening your eyes in the morning and feeling in your mind, heart, and body love for life A reliable constant within yourself that nothing in the outer world could take away. A LIFE WE LOVE IS A CHOICE Creating a life we love is a choice. We can either fall victim of the world dictating who and what we are or we can choose a new perspective where we have the power to create a life we love. For me, journaling was the release of the emotional pains that lead to a healthy mind, body, and spirit. It was the outlet I needed to get clear on what was important to me. It taught me that happiness actually lies within me, not found outside of me. It showed me that the difference between a life I struggled in versus a life I love was all in how I decided to use my imagination, my thoughts. Writing helped me to get in touch with my mind and my soul, no longer at the whim of an undisciplined mind. Writing connected me to the part of me I can eternally trust.