Tag Archives: independence

Practice makes perfect

The Journal Writer’s Handbook was borne out of a desire to express the importance of developing our own independence of thought, and finding our purpose.

Reflective writing for me has always been a practice which has enabled me to develop both of these muscles.

And recently I’ve included a different practice in my day – a more spiritual one.

Since April 2018 I have committed to practicing kundalini yoga and meditation every single day. Initially I wanted to try and get into yoga for the sake of better physical and mental health, but the different styles of yoga I tried at first were missing something.

I got bored by the challenges of the physical postures, and while I really appreciated the mindfulness aspects the practice wasn’t really grabbing me.

So I allowed myself to drift again – telling myself that I’m just not one who can easily stick with routine, follow rules and be disciplined.

But as a writer who wanted to write more I knew this was not an attitude that was serving me.

I knew I needed a practice. I knew I needed to approach my life and experience with more commitment and discipline.

And as so often happens, as soon as this realisation came upon me, along came my teachers.

The Online Kundalini Yoga School popped up on my social media feed. The beautiful Tim and Marieke. Watching their videos I felt grounded, calmed, and in good, real company.

I began to learn about pranayama – breathing, asana – physical postures, mudra – hand positions, and mantra – repeating chants.

It made no sense to me on a rational level but deep within myself I felt compelled to follow and find out more. Every morning – except for a few I can count on the fingers of my two hands – I’ve been tuning in to a practice video and dedicating myself to a few minutes of meditation or physical exercise the kundalini way.

Seven months in I have achieved greater and greater clarity about my purpose, and greater ability to think independently.

But it has also given me a new appreciation about who I truly am, and what my physical, mental and spiritual strength really is.

It’s been extraordinary. So now, my reflective writing has a new spiritual edge – that of the True Me. There’s less ranting and whingeing and much more insight and depth.

It’s good to drop anchor each day into the depths of our true being.¬† Combining a spiritual practice with reflective writing it’s good to ground ourselves in purpose, independence and truth.

Find Tim and Marieke at www.kundaliniyogaschool.org

 

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November 21, 2018 · 10:10 am

Think for yourself

“The moment you begin to write…you are making a declaration of independence, determining to think for yourself..”

This quote by Irish writer Dermot Bolger is how I open The Journal Writer’s Handbook. It appears in bold lettering ahead of the preface. It is the reason I write, and the reason I wrote the Handbook.

Independence of thought and knowing how to think for ourselves are increasingly important. We live in various social media driven echo chambers, where¬† group-think is all too prevalent, pressuring us to adopt an “acceptable” point of view that will neither offend nor incite any kind of “wrong” action or belief.

What we read in the media is increasingly untrustworthy. More than ever we have to rely on our own judgments, and our own research, in order to understand what is really going on in the world.

So we need to deepen our discernment. We need to know our own minds. We need to be able to recognise the subtle intuitive nudges that hint to us when things are “off”. We need to feel our own truth in order to then identify the Truth around us.

Independence has always been a theme in my life. I went to private school outside the comprehensive state system; as a young woman I travelled and worked abroad and learned self-sufficiency and how to fend for myself in tricky circumstances; in middle-age I like to buck convention and create opportunities for myself.

Maybe I was too independent. I was stubborn with it, so I was often alone, choosing to be on my own in the things I did rather than rely too heavily on others.

It was at these junctures that writing became central to my experience of my life. Keeping a journal or writing letters home helped me express myself when there was noone else around to hear, and it also helped me get clear on the page about who I am and what I think.

Acclaimed academic, author and commentator Jordan Peterson is now advocating the same kind of idea – that we take some time to write things down about our lives and aspirations. His online self-authoring programme is a guided process to documenting one’s thoughts and opinions – and DANG I wish I’d thought of it.

Of course writing isn’t the only way to learn to think for yourself. Good quality, open and curious conversations help too, but you have to be a lot less stubborn than I was to make these work! Meditation practice is also conducive – funny that sometimes it’s better to quiet the mind to know the mind.

Whatever approach you take do it. Learn to think for yourself. The world needs your view.

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Filed under Journal Writing, Self-Awareness

Meditating on independence

At my daughter’s school they often have a theme for the term – such as courage or friendship or understanding. Theoretically this gives some sort of framework or something to think about during the weekly assemblies and in ‘golden time’. It’s a neat idea – and in a reflective environment I think it would work extremely well. (Just not sure about how reflective a school environment is.)

So I decided to pinch this idea. However, instead of choosing my theme at the beginning of the week, the theme chose me. It crept up on me and presented itself to me rather stealthily.

I was preparing for an up-coming Journal Talk Podcast with US journaling coach Nathan Ohren when I suddenly found myself writing about my role models as a young person. (Nathan’s prep questions are SO good.) And just as suddenly I found myself with a powerful inner conviction that my greatest influences were women who best modeled independence.

The whole concept of independence fascinates me. For me it has moral, ethical and political resonances as well as material ones, and it occured to me that this is a theme worth investigating further.

Interestingly my thought process on this during the past few days has indeed been completely independent of any journaling – as I have done none. At the moment I am happy to hold the inquiry “what does it mean to be independent?” as a form of meditation, a ball that my sub-conscious mind keeps tossing while I get on with my day.

I’m not yet ready to journal on where the meditation is leading me – but I have a sense that it is leading me somewhere quite significant. It’ll be great to see what shows up on the page when I finally enter the reflective classroom of my journal.

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Filed under Reflective Writing Practice