Tag Archives: inner wisdom

How to feel great at your college reunion

Whether school, college or university – how do you really feel about reunions?

I’ve just returned from the 30 year reunion of my college year. It was an extraordinary weekend.

Most of us have a morbid fascination with how our contemporaries might have aged in comparison with us. Many of us are intrigued to know how life has treated our peers. Some of us would run a mile in the opposite direction rather than find out. A handful are terrified of the prospect that few have achieved very much at all.

Inevitably over the years since graduating I’ve discovered that while I’ve been raising a family and working on my writing craft many others from my college cohort have been working on high-powered careers. Ten years ago I found the comparisons cringe-worthy, almost shameful, as my ego tried to taunt me about how little I had to show for my education.

But as we enter our fifth decade there is a different feeling. An awareness of our mortality perhaps. A realisation that for all the striving we can neither take our success with us, nor hand it on to anyone else.

Now my contemporaries and I are more open, more honest, more prepared to admit our mistakes, and more eager to know what else life has to offer other than climbing to the top of the corporate ladder and professional tree. It seems like we are becoming far more wise than clever.

At this reunion I’m happy to say I felt much more comfortable in my own skin. I learned that while others have become lawyers and bankers and headteachers and chief executives I have become myself. And that felt good.

Regardless of whether or not a school or college reunion is a possibility in your life, it’s a useful exercise to reflect in your journal on how you might bring people you used to know up-to-date on what, or who, you’ve become.

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November 12, 2018 · 2:42 pm

More than our minds

Our bodies are important. They are our physical presence in this world – and they contain their own wisdom.

How tuned in are you to your intuition and your physical intelligence?

How do you include your body in your journaling practice?

I have a strong conviction that journaling is a physical practice, utilising the miracle of fine motor skills and integrating the two hemispheres of the brain.

I also feel that there is more that we can do to include our physical wisdom in our daily experience. Living in a world where logic and reason are paramount, we tend to neglect the intuitive hits that originate in our gut.

So we need to cultivate this practice – and have fun with our bodies!

Here are some activities to try in order to experience connection with your physical self:

Dancing

Allowing your body to move to your favourite music is immediately uplifting and freeing. You don’t have to learn any steps or attend a class – though that can  be fun – you just need to allow your body to respond to the rhythm.

Body, mind and the passion of your soul can be united in the dance to immediate effect.

Take notice of your mood and energy level before and after, and try the prompt “Who am I in the dance?”

Yoga and Meditation

I began practicing kundalini yoga on a daily basis about 6 months ago – and find it an extremely powerful discipline to calm the mind and restore trust in the strength of my body. Through the practice I have learned that “the soul is the friend of the body” and that tuning in to our breath, our Spirit, enables us to bypass the mind chatter and have a direct experience of our physicality.

There are many meditations to try, including mantras (chants), asanas (postures), mudras (hand positions) and pranayamas (breathing techniques).

Tune in to your breath and try the enquiry “What is the message of my Spirit?”

Food

Are you eating the right food for your body? Do you experience any discomfort after certain foods?

Try keeping a food diary for a few days and paying attention to your energy, sleep patterns, level of satisfaction and frequency of cravings. Listen to your body to determine if it could be time to research ways of eating that serve you more optimally.

I’ve recently begun a Zero Carb way of eating, relying on protein and fat for sustenance. My body is loving it. I have greater mental clarity, less bloating, more energy and two new notches in my belt!

Of course everyone is different so it’s really important to do your research and maybe talk to your GP before radically changing your eating habits. But it is an important consideration in taking care of your body.

Sleep

Always always always my favourite pastime! Whenever my body asks for sleep I never ignore it. This has been the simplest step in tuning in to my physical wisdom, and one of the greatest sources of creative ideas.

Try picking up your pen on waking to write 100 words. See what inspiration rest can bring.

Holistic Communion

Communing is Exercise 14 in The Journal Writer’s Handbook. It involves inviting a conversation with a part of your body where you are feeling tension or strong sensation.

In workshops it is an exercise that evokes the most resistance – writing down the script of a conversation with your nose can feel a bit weird! – yet it is also the exercise that evokes the most a-ha moments too.

Give it a go.

 

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Filed under Body

Reflecting on writing – how to be inspired

There’s reflective writing – and then there’s reflecting on writing.

Clearly these are not the same. The first is an action in full flow, the second is the pause before or after.

I’m not really into navel-gazing. I get impatient with myself when I spend too long ruminating. I’ve learned to judge when I’ve done enough and when I need to come back down to earth.

Nevertheless there is a tonne of value in understanding why writing is so powerful. Reflecting on writing is a pause worth making.

Firstly rather than wait to be inspired to write, try writing to be inspired. Like yoga, the discipline to turn up to the mat or to the page is the only step. Then you can let the practice take over.

Reflective writing is about surrender to the quieter voice that guides us. Maybe you call it your higher self or your inner being or your sub-conscious. Whatever it is that takes over when we allow it to can reveal to us a whole depth of wisdom and insight we never realised we had access to.

And if we can begin to plumb those depths then we can come to recognise our own truth and authenticity. We each have our individual thread of integrity that runs through us like the writing through a stick of candy rock. Reviewing our journals over time often shows us the same messages and impulses, whether or not we ever chose to heed them.

Finally reflective writing can give us the springboard to action, to taking the next right step for us. Crucially it can illuminate our place in the world, giving us the guidance on how best to contribute our unique gifts to others in a way that feels so easy, because it’s so natural.

So reflecting on writing I am grateful for the inspiration, the discipline, the wisdom, truth, authenticity, integrity, action and guidance that it offers, ensures, and delivers.

What’s not to love?

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Filed under Reflection, Uncategorized

Beyond ranting – the necessary authenticity on the other side

Our journal writing workshop last evening was yet again a wonderful opportunity to share insights and learn new perspectives. My gratitude goes to workshop participant Elinor who shared a wonderful phrase that somehow landed quite forcefully with me. She said: “Necessity has no emotion.”

The reason why this hit me with such a clunk is because it seems to account for what I have found in my journal beyond the ranting. Once I’ve stripped away the whining voice of my inner critic or the exclamation marks of my ego; when I’ve named and shamed the stuck-on-repeat stories with which I’ve been comforting myself, and once I’ve come to terms with my main vulnerabilities, what’s left is a calm, balanced narrative in which I’m finally able to speak my truth. There are no exclamation marks here. No over-blown claims about my own brilliance. No excuses and convoluted reasons why I won’t/shan’t/can’t. Just calm, logical, plain, straight-forward truth. Well hello.

Pearl

Inner wisdom and authenticity are the pearls I’m constantly encouraging my workshop participants to pursue. These are the buried treasures that our journals can reveal to us, but from whose scent the decoys and false trails of our inner critic, our stories, excuses and egoist self-justifications often throw us. How easily we become distracted and displaced! But every pearl needs its grit. It would be foolish though to mistake the grit for the final product!

In Elinor’s insight I’m seeing that authenticity is akin to necessity. Our authentic self is who we necessarily are – who we cannot avoid being, no matter how many layers of negativity, self-judgement and self justification we heap on top. And when we hear its voice we find pearlescent peace, quiet and truth.

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Filed under Journal Writing, Reflective Writing Practice, Self-Awareness

Rediscovering our natural goodness

Yesterday I was having a fabulous conversation with a journaling friend and colleague. Of the many things we discussed, over our two hour long coffee, one was the way we lose our natural creative and intuitive impulses as we go through life, bowing and succumbing to the conditioning we encounter from our culture and society.

Everything from media advertising, education, industry, what our parents and peers tell us, what our religion tells us, what our own inner critic tells us: gradually, slowly but surely, our individual spark of self-direction and actualisation gets dampened.

My friend explained how she uses her ears not just to hear but also as crap-busters, filtering out the insidious messages that might serve to overturn her positive outlook and oust her from her self-determined path.

She and I agreed whole-heartedly that we each have an inner wisdom, a natural goodness, which we can use as a resource to guide us and keep us mentally and emotionally healthy. In our own chosen fields, we each use our journals to access it.

A more striking example of how humanity has drifted away from benefitting from our natural goodness is in the infant malnutrition statistics from the developing world. This month, Feb 2013, Save the Children has published a report emphasising the importance of breast-feeding a baby in its first hour of life, stating that 95 infant lives could be saved every hour if this was the case.

Disturbingly, as countries in Asia and Africa take on more modern and Western practices, the rate of breast-feeding is falling dramatically. This is due, the report states, on cultural pressures, a lack of maternity nursing, and inappropriate marketing by milk formula manufacturers.

Why is it that humanity should turn its back on its innate natural goodness, in this case a mother’s breast milk, in favour of artificial and unsustainable products and attitudes? It doesn’t make sense that women should feel pressured into doing something other than what comes naturally to them, which is completely sustainable, highly beneficial and above all free.

As the world becomes increasingly short of food, energy and financial reserves we need to rely more and more on our own capabilities and resources, be they physical, economic, mental or emotional. We each have an innate natural goodness. It’s high time we each rediscovered it, and started making the most of it. It can save lives.

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Filed under Current Affairs, Self-Awareness