Give ME Some Space!

Something really fun is happening this week – and it’s been about 15 years in the making!

When I first started college, I used to write what I called “imaginations” in my journal.  Essentially, those were the beginnings of my wishful journalling:  when I write about the things I want to have happen in my life.  One such “imagination” was about owning my own condo overlooking the ocean; sailboats and seagulls filled the view in my mind’s eye as I sank my toes in my soft, white rug.  I was surrounded by cd’s and a fabulous stereo system, countless books and bright pillows to flop onto at leisure.  Yes, in my industrious “imagination” life where I wore cashmere sweaters and drove to my executive job in my blue BMW by day, I had plenty of time to enjoy my favourite hobbies by night.  I loved that room that I imagined so much that even now, I feel like it must exist somewhere.  It’s so real. 

In my imagination, that space has evolved as I have “grown up”.  After I got married, I started imagining my special room as a crafts room.  By then I had discovered that I was actually quite interested in artsy-craftsy hobbies like scrapbooking, card-making and painting.  So, my “imagination” crafts room took on bright orange walls, organized shelving and a large crafts table.  The room changed a lot but the feeling did not; that feeling of having all of my favourite things within reach, in my own personal space that nobody else could claim.

Less than two and a half years ago when we decided to start looking for our second home, my husband and I made a list of all the features we were looking for in our ideal home.  “Crafts room” was right up there for me.  I hadn’t had one yet and it wasn’t optional in this next dwelling.  I started imagining again what this room would look like in the particular neighbourhood we were interested in.  I decided I wanted French doors going into the room and another set of French doors leading to a wraparound porch on the other side of the room.  I wanted it on the main floor.  There had to be room to see my clients as well as space for my arts and crafts supplies.  Enough room to be ME.

I am writing to you from this room tonight:  two sets of French doors, a wraparound porch, a therapy table (that easily becomes a crafts table), a writing desk, storage for my supplies and therapy material, an easel, and a reading chair.  I immediately called this room my “studio” rather than crafts room or office.  It just seemed to fit.  The room sounds huge, but it’s not.  It’s just enough room to be ME, though, and THIS WEEK marks the beginning of its transformation to really look like ME.

Right now, the walls are a chocolate brown.  There’s nothing wrong with chocolate or the colour brown, but on my walls it doesn’t work.  It makes me sleepy.  So does the lighting.  I am having a hard time seeing my keys as I type this.  My storage space is not so organized, there is a filing cabinet that is taking up way too much space and is too large for what I need.  There isn’t anything really pretty in this room and I like pretty things.  Basically, this room does not truly reflect who I am, aesthetically speaking.

With significant help from my friend who is starting her own interior design business, these walls are going to gleam in a sophisticated Revere Pewter.  There is going to be bling hanging from the ceiling and on the desk that is going to allow me to type without straining my eyes…and of course, it’ll represent the clarity I am looking for and the sparkly feminine side of me.  Dimensions will be added to the windows and seat covers via beautiful fabric, the filing cabinet will be replaced by a more suitable decorative box and decorative pieces of importance to me will be showcased throughout the room.  And it’s all going to be done on a fabulous budget because my friend knows all the best places to shop for everything!

This project is even more special to me because it is being handled by a really great person I am so happy to have become friends with over the past year – someone with oodles of creativity who is really fun to be around.  This whole project is just dripping with creativity and I know that the finished product will leave me even more inspired than the planning of it.  It should have just the right balance of quiet reflection and productive energy.

Having my own space has always been important to me.  No – it has always been necessary for me.  I have to admit, though, that asking for it has often made me feel guilty.  Having this studio, in fact, left me riddled with guilt until the last few months when I decided to embrace it.  After all, I asked for it, didn’t I?  I have written about it in some form or another my entire adult life.  I think everyone deserves to have the things that they need to keep them happy, sane and fulfilled.  Why shouldn’t I believe that I deserve those things too?

My whole life most of my possessions have been quite utilitarian.  At best, they get the job done.  I am grateful for that.  Now I’d just like to have a little fun, even if it’s as simple as a chandelier instead of a really plain-looking dome shaped fixture.  And that’s OK!  I got that message loud and clear the other day!

How about YOU?  Do you have a special space in your home that reflects who YOU are?  A space can be the corner of your bedroom that houses your easel, or it could be the formal dining area that gets used twice a year for eating and the rest of the year for your sewing projects.  I know someone who uses a spare closet in her home for a meditation room and that is where she can be with her Self.  It’s not about the square footage, but about how the space makes you feel.

If you don’t have a space yet but think it might be something you need, jot down some ideas in your journal or task binder.  Answer the following prompts to guide you:

  • What do you want to feel when you are in your space?
  • What do you want to practice in your space?  (meditation, yoga, writing, card-making, reading etc)
  • How much room do you need to do this comfortably?
  • Where in your home can you find that space?

Write about it and it will find you, even if you think it doesn’t exist.  If you would like to share about your space (whether it exists or it’s in the making), I’d love to hear your comments below.  Or you can contact me privately here.

Got Some Good Advice From My Self Today

I woke up to a gray, rainy Monday morning after a gorgeous spell of hot, dry weather.  Maybe some Vancouverites out there are groaning and griping about this on their facebook statuses but not me.  (Thank God somebody’s going to water those poor potted flowers of mine!)  This weather is perfectly suited for my mood today:  pensive, reflective and subdued.  After a quiet breakfast with my daughter, I suggested we sit on the couch and write in our journals while my youngest was still sleeping.  My daughter loved this idea – she has her own “office box”, an emptied diapers box that contains paper, notebooks, crayons, pens and stickers.  She grabbed a notebook and pen from her office box and joined me on the couch.  We spent about 15 minutes side by side like that, in the dimly lit living room.  The window in the kitchen was open; the sound of the rain added to the cozy scene.

I am checking in with my Self regularly because, like the shift in the weather, I am experiencing numerous changes.  In fact, “change” is such a prominent theme for me right now that I have dubbed this season “The Summer of the Butterfly.”  At the beginning of the summer, I had no idea how quickly and intensely these changes would occur.  I have welcomed them, succumbed to them in a way, but that’s not to say it has all been a breeze.  Some of the changes have been physical and include things like purging the contents of my studio.  My friend and I will begin redecorating and reorganizing it this week.  I have also talked about making changes to my work-week to allow for my new priority – my physical body.  Creatively, this blog has added a powerful and spectacular dimension to my life.  Emotionally, I am more connected now than ever with my friends and relatives.  These are all fabulous changes but do you ever notice that with any shift in our state there is that settling stage?  It’s that settling stage that can actually be a little unsettling –as in, I’m not sure how this change is going to affect my life or those around me.  I have to wait it out and see.  Ah, giving up control is not easy for a lot of people – are you feeling this? 

Thankfully, I have had the support to take any bumps in stride; my husband holds my hand through it all and assures me it will be ok.  If it’s a particularly emotional shift, he’ll remind me to protect my heart.  He knows this particular organ/chakra of mine has a tendency to jump away from the rest of me.  I also have deep friendships – women I have been friends with since childhood who are very much in tune with what I am going through right now who I can call and tell all or nothing to.  They’re just always there.

I have also found that the more trust I place in this process, the easier it is for me to navigate the ride.  When I check in with my Self via journalling, I am reminded that turning inward for support is extremely satisfying.  This morning I didn’t know where I’d begin when I sat down with my journal.  Should I talk about my weekend away?  Some emotional moments I had over the past few days?  I started off by doing what I do when I really want to talk about something important; I beat around the bush.  I talked about a couple other minor thoughts that somehow managed to find space in that packed house of a brain I had today.

And then, the words came.  These next 5 sentences are a direct quote from my journal.  They are not sentences I pre-meditated.  I wrote them without regard to grammar or word choice.  I heard them and I wrote them and they make sense to me.

“Things don’t always have to be so deep.  Have a little fun.  It’s not all a test.  It’s for fun, too.  It’s for dress up and shine and dance and laugh and hug.”

I LOVE that last sentence.  It’s totally not something I would write anywhere else but my journal.  Someone else might think, “How old is the person who wrote that?  Five?”  Maybe.  Maybe it was my 5 year old Self reminding my 33 year old Self that it’s ok to not have serious and deep conversations with every single person I encounter.  I know the reasons why those words came to me and that’s what matters.

Do you have experiences like this too when you journal?  I am very interested in hearing people’s experiences with journalling; as you know, I enjoy this topic immensely!

Here are some writing prompts for you today:

  • How can you/do you entertain the kids while getting in a few minutes of journalling?  Does your child have something like an office box to occupy them creatively?  (Incidentally, what a great way to model the importance of self-reflection for your little ones!)
  • What does your support system look like?  Who’s a pillar?  Who’s a wrecking ball?  How much importance do you place on outer systems of support?  Do you check in with your inner system of support enough?

If you are unsure about how to begin journalling, or how to deepen your connection with your Self through this tool, please feel free to contact me with your questions.  It would be great to learn from each other and I’d appreciate your part in this process!

Revelations On A Dance Floor!

To say my mom was the best caregiver in the world is an understatement.  She wasn’t just a “care” giver; she was a love-giver, time-giver, prayer-giver, gift-giver, and SELF-giver.  When she was diagnosed with a terminal auto-immune disease at the age of 53, she continued to give what she could.  Her final and most valuable gifts to me were the following:

1)      A deep understanding of the relationship between our thoughts and our body:  Auto-immune diseases are literally our bodies attacking themselves in reaction to subconscious messages/thought processes.  When we give, give, give and don’t honour our physical body and our Self, our body seems to get the message that we are not deserving of good things and treats itself accordingly.

2)      The ability to look at a woman, ANY woman, and see her beauty:  I’m not just accepting of the way a woman dresses, her body shape, her physical appearance…I am UNaccepting of people who put a woman down because of these things.  I looked at my mother lying in the hospital bed a few days before she passed and I saw the most beautiful woman in the world.  I thank God I had the words to tell her so at that time and that she was able to respond, “So are you.  All 3 of us, we’re the same.”   (She was including my daughter in this unforgettable statement.)

3)      My passion for helping others follow their passions was turned on and it has been refined in the years since her passing, as I realize more and more how life-altering and even life-saving a passionate existence can be.   If I can help other women, and men, find joy by connecting with their Self then I can share my mom’s final gift with others.

Last night at a party, my 4 year old daughter, as always, was the first one on the dance floor!  As I watched her shake her little bottom and throw her hands up in the air, I had mental images of what my mom must have looked like as a little girl, dancing her little heart out.  Dancing was a life-long love of hers but such a small part of her life as time went on.  In fact, I don’t think I understood the full depth of this love until recent years.  You know what they say about hind-sight.

It’s hard not to think, “I wish I had this understanding when it might have made a difference in her life.”  But these thoughts are not going to get me very far and it’s the same as returning a gift to the sender.  It’s a slow process but I am coming to accept that the Plan was perfectly executed in the way it was meant; every action I take now with my final gifts from Mom is making her dance a little more in Heaven.  That’s a sweet picture!

So, what about YOUR mom?  Whether she is around or not, do you know what her passions are?  What gave her joy and fulfillment in her very soul?  Does she/did she pursue these interests openly and often?  Did she have dreams that she kept aside for “the future”?  What are your thoughts on the way she expressed her Self?  How has this shaped you as a person?  As a parent?  Record these thoughts in your journal or task binder.  Sometimes this type of material will spark a revelation about why you are or are not taking steps toward your creative goals.

If you’re lucky enough to still be able to take your mom out for coffee and chat about these things…do it!  If you think this is not up her alley, you may surprise yourself.  Better yet, you may get her thinking about this important topic and start something really great for the both of you.  You can find these questions on the Writing Prompts page as well.

I’d love to hear your comments – other readers will benefit from them, too!  And thank you to all of you who send me private messages.  They fuel my work and I accept them as gifts!

A One-Way Ticket Out Of Blah-dom

When my first child, my daughter, was just under the age of 2, it became evident to me that I needed to do something outside of taking care of her and working as a speech therapist.  I needed to break away from the mundane, to really enjoy something that made me feel like I was separate from the roles I was currently living.  Because I am.  My whole life I’ve been a writer and a lit lover.  At birthday parties, when everyone else was excited about the candy they found in their loot bags, I was clutching the little notebook and pencil that were thrown in there.  I wrote my way through university and started attending poetry readings just for fun.  And that’s what I considered writing to be:  fun, not work.  Therefore, writing was not a viable career option.

As I told you before, speech therapy is not my passion.  It is a line of work in which I feel comfortable practicing; I have been in the field in some capacity for about 12 years.   I do have enjoyable moments – my favourite part is the people I meet and work with.  But that’s not enough to fuel ME.  I would not happily and voluntarily get out of bed at 6:30am to work with a client…but I do jump out of bed at dawn to write – and I am excited to do it!  I also have a set number of clients that I feel I can work with while still being true to ME…but with writing, I feel like there is no ceiling on how much I could handle.

So, just before my daughter’s second birthday, I googled “poetry readings in Vancouver” and stumbled upon a wonderful organization called Pandora’s Collective.  I couldn’t believe that such an accessible, creative group existed; for anyone in the community and FREE of charge, the volunteers at Pandora’s Collective offer fun and stimulating programs for writers of all stages.  I went to my first Pandora’s Collective event, Word Whips, in April 2009 and was hooked.  I decided to go to a writing event once a month and to start sharing my words with other members of the writing community.

A couple months later, I was blessed to learn I was pregnant with my second child, my son!  While the children I bear are the most treasured beings in my world, I am not a happy pregnant woman!  My second pregnancy was even tougher and it just wasn’t feasible for me to attend anything “extra”.  Getting through the day was what I was aiming for!

A few weeks after my son was born, I started thinking about how I could get involved in the writing community.  I was looking for a way to prevent any downward spirals to what I call blah-dom.  The Universe seems to like sending me messages via email; when my son was about 6 weeks old, I received an email from Pandora’s Collective (I had signed up to be on their mailing list) asking if I had time to volunteer with this dynamic group of artists.  YES!  I had time, or at least, I knew I had to make time!  So, when my son was 7 weeks old, I took him to my first volunteer meeting and now here I am:  I actually host a Word Whips chapter near my home and I fundraise year-round…another passion of mine I had never pursued.

For me, a great way to remember who I am is to be with other people who remind me of that, other people who are like-minded and like-spirited.

Think about the passions you know YOU have.  Do you spend time with other people who have the same passions?  If you like reading, are you part of a book club?  Are you a knitter who meets with other knitters?  Do you get together with friends who enjoy cooking to put together a lavish meal and then share laughs while enjoying it?  There are formal and informal ways to engage in activities of your passion.  Are you doing any of them?  Are you happy with your creative outlets?  If you are not doing anything you consider fun for YOU, why not?  What’s blocking you?

Pull out your journal or task binder and explore these questions.  They will be logged with the other prompts for your reference.  Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

Try-This Tuesday: Stand At That Door!

One of the tools I have used on my own personal journey out of the depths of blah-hood is to ask, ask, ask for what I want and trust that what I need will show its face when the time is right.  Sometimes I am looking for support, sometimes I am searching for wisdom.  Often I don’t know exactly what form the response will take but I trust I will recognize it.

I picture myself standing at an open door and casting my questions into an abyss.  It’s a liberating image; I am essentially offloading my worries and uncertainties into a wide open space – and just like a bungee jumper trusts that her rope will hold, I count on a Greater Power to do its part.  It’s not always easy to trust in something you can’t see, but really, what do I have to lose?

As I mentioned previously, I don’t think I have super powers or that I am the only person with this kind of reciprocal relationship with something Greater.  I think the difference between someone who receives answers/information/guidance/support and someone who claims they don’t is the ability to recognize these gifts when they are granted.

Here’s a beautifully simple quote from author Stella Terrill Mann “Desire, ask, believe, receive.”  Essentially these are the steps I have outlined above.  They are powerful verbs – but how do we translate these into actions we can take in our daily lives?

Enter today’s task!  I had a fun time planning out this week’s activity!  Usually when I throw my questions out into the abyss, I scribble them into my journal and then launch into a free-writing session.  Or I ask the questions mentally when I find myself having a quiet moment, like when I’m breastfeeding my son.  The answers sometimes float toward me from that abyss via the words I am writing in my journal or as thoughts.  But there are other ways to incorporate this question-answer activity in our daily lives that might be a little more fun.

Grab a container of some kind: again, as in the journal, don’t get so hung up over the container that you end up stalling this activity!  Your container is going to hold little scraps of paper so even an envelope will do.  Take 10-15 minutes today and write down 2 questions or worries (anything you want to offload from your system) on separate scraps of paper.  Here’s an example of a thought that plagues me:  Where can I find more patience for my daughter who I love so deeply (or why don’t I seem to have any in the first place)?

If you’re wondering where you’re going to find the time, here’s a quick idea:  whatever it is that you do before you go to bed, stop doing it 10 minutes sooner.  Use those 10 minutes to write on your scraps of paper.  Stick them in your container and then look at your daytimer for the coming week.  Choose 3 days, and specific times on those days (i.e. first thing in the morning, morning coffee break, while the kids are at their after-school lessons, just before bed etc).  On 2 of those days you will do this next step:

Select one piece of paper from your container, read it and then:

A)     Sit quietly and run your mind over the words of your question or worry.  What thoughts are stemming from this contemplation?  DON’T DISMISS THEM NO MATTER HOW STRANGE OR UNRELATED THEY MAY SEEM!  After a few minutes of just listening, jot down some of these key thoughts in your journal or task binder.

OR

B)      Pull out your journal or task binder and immediately start writing down the thoughts that come to your mind when you ask yourself the question or read the worry to yourself.  Your thoughts may not seem profound and you may not hear a booming voice giving you clear directions, but please, just write!  Try to focus on the question but don’t be concerned about your grammar, sentence structure or word choice.  Keep that hand moving!

On your third scheduled day, read over your questions and your “responses”.  See anything valuable in there?  Anything curious?  Does something trigger a reaction of some kind?  Would you try this again?  Which part of the process (desire, ask, believe, receive) do you find easiest?  Most difficult?  Explore these reactions in your journal or task binder.  Keep your mind open and your eyes peeled over the next little while to see if you get more responses to these questions in other forms.  I’ll log these prompts with the others for your reference.

I would encourage you to keep adding to your container over the next few weeks (and indefinitely if you find this helpful) and to practice this activity at least weekly to give it a good try.  It’s a great way to strengthen an already existing relationship; it forces you to become conscious of the process.

If you have any questions or feedback, you can leave a comment here or send me a private note!

Try-This Tuesday: Take Notice Of The Extraordinary In The Every-Day

The majority of us would like to release our creativity and free our Selves from the structure of our daily routines.  Time is a big issue for most of us and this was addressed last week in Time To Make A Change and Try-This Tuesday:  Gaining Control Of Your Time.

I can think of other blocks that I put up for myself.  (Note:  a block is only a block if you make it a block and in general, blocks can be removed as much as they can be put up!)  Maybe you can relate?  One such “block” is that my life is fairly routine and the activities I’m involved in don’t include jet-setting, extreme sports, serving in ashrams or hanging out in different parts of town, meeting strange and wonderful people.  It’s hard to imagine that I could find inspiration to feed my creative Self when I am toting the kids to their extracurricular activities or play dates, cooking dinner, feeding them etc. 

But I can if I want to.  If I can just get outside of my own head long enough to notice a moment – a verbal or facial expression, a determined beetle crawling in and out of the sidewalk’s crevices, the sunlight filtering in through the trees in my backyard – I can twist any of these experiences into:

  • A character sketch for a great piece of fiction
  • A storyline for a children’s book
  • A poem
  • A journal entry
  • The first sentence of a free-writing session
  • A writing prompt for my monthly writing group
  • A sketch
  • A painting or colouring activity with my daughter
  • A song to make up for my son (who really doesn’t care what I’m singing or how I sound as long as I’m smiling at him)

How’s that for a list of ideas for creative exploration?

Sometimes it takes an extra step to get out of our heads or to shake things up a little so that we are able to notice these little moments that can bring forth masterpieces.  And yes, I think a silly little ditty about a beetle looking for a playmate can be a masterpiece!  People make their livings writing and singing about such things!

So, what can YOU do to consciously notice the extraordinary in the every-day?  TAKE A PICTURE!!   With the luxury we have of digital cameras, teeny-tiny picture snappers that can fit in coat pockets and purses, we can’t think of many excuses to not carry one around.  Not to mention the fact that most phones now come with a camera.  Take one day this week and decide to take your camera around everywhere you go.  Give yourself a quota of how many pictures you’d like to take.  Make 3 your minimum.  Snap pics at the grocery store, on your walk, in your living room, anywhere you go.  Do it consciously and think about what you are capturing as you do it.  Is it the raindrops on the spiderweb or the spider itself?  Is it the spaghetti sauce on your son’s face or the mischief in his eye?  What is the remarkable component that speaks to you?  In other words, why did you take the picture? 

At the end of the day, view the photos you’ve taken (on the camera or on the computer) and see if you can use that picture to inspire any of the ideas I generated above.  Not sure where to start?  Pull out your journal or your task binder and ask yourself:

  • What caught my eye about this moment?
  • What is the theme embedded in this picture? (Remember we talked about themes previously.)
  • How did it feel to be consciously aware of my surroundings?
  • Do I see myself doing this again at some point?

These questions will be logged with the other prompts.  Need help or have a question?  I’m listening!

Introducing: The Old Man Who Lives In My Head

Everyone’s got one; some of us know ours well, others of us are just getting acquainted.  I’m referring to what Julia Cameron calls the Censor in her book, The Artist’s Way.  She describes it perfectly as “our own internalized perfectionist, a nasty internal and eternal critic” (p. 11).

Censors have voices and they say awful things.  Their sole purpose is to take us down!  They make us feel inadequate and discourage us from continuing on, even in the face of success.  They invade our thoughts during our creative process – when I’m trying to think of a great way to write something, my Censor will tell me that someone else has already said it, and has said it better.  How rude!  It’s a horrible thing to hear when I’m sitting at the computer, full of hope that my words will reach people.  I can’t tell you how many times I hear mine telling me I am too old to start a new career, or that I’ve lost my chance to get to the level of fitness I’d like.  It’d be nice if I could evict my Censor from that logical left brain of mine where he’s made himself comfortable over the years.

I’ve discovered that getting to know him a bit – why he is the way he is, understanding that what he’s saying is NOT coming from a place of Truth – has helped me stick my tongue out at him when he shows his face.

My Censor looks like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons.  He’s 100 years old, gnarled and warty with a look of evil glee every time he spouts a new put-down at me.  Since getting to know him, I’ve learned he is lonely, unloved and bitter about his own existence.  His derogatory comments don’t really have anything to do with ME so what he’s saying is not true.  I just happen to be the lucky recipient of his anguish.  This makes him way less intimidating, doesn’t it?  It doesn’t make it easier to hear the things he has to say, especially if it’s feeding my own fear, but it does make it more possible to ignore his comments.

I would encourage you to notice your own Censor and see him/her/it for what it is.  What does it look like?  What kinds of negative things does it tell you?  What is your reaction when you hear them?  It’s worth exploring your Censor in your journal or in your task binder – whatever you’ve created to help you in your journey.  Sketch a profile of your Censor if you wish.  Some people like to keep their Censor visible where they work creatively…marked with a big, fat, red X, of course, to remind themselves that their Censor is actually someone to be censored!  I’ll log these prompts with the others.  Any questions or comments?  I’d love to hear them!

The Best Love Letter I Ever Wrote

When my friend came to me with questions about journalling, I was thrilled to have a chance to talk about something I am so passionate about.  For me, writing in my journal is the beginning and the end.  I started keeping a journal in 1988 at the age of 10 and continued writing through high school and much of university.  I didn’t feel my day was complete or that I was grounded until I pulled out my journal and a medium point pen.  I carried my journal with me so that between university classes when I had 2 or 4 hours to kill, I’d have a chance to connect with my thoughts.

High school was a trying period for me.  A lot of people go through some kind of angst during these hormonal, often lonely years; I definitely would not go back for anything.  But what kept me from feeling completely alone was my writing, because every time I opened up my journal I was saying hello to a non-judgemental, loving friend – someone who accepted me for who I was.

Just as in university when I felt pulled to sit down and make a list, in high school I had the same urge to sit down (literally, in the hallway) and write myself a letter.  I pictured myself as a 5 year old child and wrote loving, comforting, gentle words – kind of a verbal hug – to this sad, lonely little girl.  I praised myself for things of which I felt I was deserving, I told myself it was OK to feel the way I did and I reminded myself that I would one day have more control in my life to be who I am inside.  After writing that letter, I felt a peace blanket me and it helped me carry on with my day.  Actually, remembering that moment makes me extremely thankful that I had somehow innately known of this tool and that is why I am so passionate about spreading the word, so to speak, about the therapeutic effects of writing.   Now I can see clearly why, when I unconsciously turned my back on writing, I really felt the loss.

If you journal, what does this type of connective writing mean to you?  Who are you talking to when you write this way?  Have you ever written a letter to yourself as a child?  If not, would you consider it?

If you haven’t started journalling yet, what reservations do you have about it, if any?

I’m happy to hear your comments here or via the contact page.  I’m just as happy if this prompts you to start thinking about connecting with your Self through the written word!

You Have A List – Now What??

If you did the “Try-This” Tuesday task this week, you’re wondering what to do with the list of words I asked you to generate.  First, I’d like you to think about how you felt when these words were coming to you:*

  • Did you have to think really hard to come up with the words?
  • Did it get easier as you went along?
  • Did you catch yourself smiling or feeling happier during the activity?
  • Did any of these words remind you of a special memory or time in your life?

After a few moments with your thoughts, let’s switch over to the left brain (our logical, organization-loving hemisphere)…and let’s ORGANIZE!!  The idea is to group these words into themes so that you can see which themes bring you joy!

A few examples of themes are:  Family, Nature, Physical, Spirituality, Arts, Beauty, Wellness

It was easier for me to skim over the words and decide which ones go together and then name the themes after.  As I look at my list now, the following words jumped out at me as belonging together under the theme Nature:

1)      cabin

2)      camping

3)       tents

4)      sleeping bags

5)       hiking

6)      the sun

7)       fresh air

8)      flowers

9)      plants

If I had just grouped the first 5 words together, I could call the group “camping” but because a theme is a very BIG umbrella, I can include the other 4 words and they can all live happily under the theme Nature.  You may have a theme that I have not mentioned above – that’s great!  I’d appreciate it if you could give me that feedback either by posting a comment or contacting me.

So, the idea is to think BIG – this will help you have fewer groups and give you a general feel for what makes YOU tick.  Once you get started organizing your list, you may find this comes fairly easily.  However, if you are having trouble, please contact me.  This can be a very revealing exercise and I would be happy to answer any questions to help you along.

Once your list is organized into themes, take notice of the following:*

  • Is there one theme that contains significantly more words than the others?
  • Highlight the two themes that contain the most words
  • How do your “top” theme(s) resonate with you?  Are you surprised?  Did you know all along that you had a particular passion for said theme?
  • Are you doing anything in your life at this time that reflects this passion?

*When you answer the questions posed in this post, you may want to get out your journal or whatever paper form feels best to you and jot your thoughts down.  I will be keeping a log of all of these questions on the Writing Prompts page so that you can refer to the questions and find the corresponding posts easily, where applicable.  (Sometimes I will just post writing prompts that don’t correspond to a particular post).

Happy organizing!