Tag Archives: inspiration

Revitalise your journaling

How do you keep the momentum in your reflective writing practice? Is it mainly down to will-power? Or is it a well-ingrained habit?

If your journaling feels like it’s flagging, try these tips to give it a boost.

  • Introduce a ritual

Journaling ought to be a choice rather than a chore. It offers some ‘time out of time’ – giving you valuable space to breathe and reflect and write.

As such it deserves its own ritual. For example, maybe your writing time is at the beginning of the day. In your writing space light a candle. Breathe deeply and sit quietly in meditation for a few moments. Set your timer for 10 minutes and take take up your pen. Either free-write or choose 3 or 4 prompts that speak to you and complete your daily entry. Thank your journal and yourself as you bring your entry to a close.

  • Choose a theme

Perhaps you will choose to write your gratitudes, or the things you appreciate. Maybe select some positive affirmation prompts to help you write a new story of your life.

Alternatively you might list your values and select one per week to reflect upon each day. In the morning name an intention that will enable you to express your value throughout the day. Then, in the evening reflect on how well you acquitted yourself. But resist the temptation to judge! Give yourself a pat on the back or merely decide how to do better next time.

  • Be present

Give yourself new awareness of your present self, your emotions and your environment by writing about what you can sense both physically and intuitively. Tune into your body and ask it how it feels. Notice how being present brings a sense of time expanding.

  • Silence your inner critic

Give yourself permission to allow your pen to move across the page. Suspend all judgement about spelling or grammar or neatness. And certainly don’t think about whether you are presenting your best thoughts to the page. All this is a sign of self-censorship. Send your inner critic off to play on the motorway and get scribbling.

  • Build a relationship with your journal

Treat your notebook as a trusted friend who is delighted to hear from you every single day. Thank it for being there, and for the qualities it reminds you of most. Occasionally invite your journal to write you a love letter, or a note of support and acknowledgement.

  • Play with perspectives

It’s not always necessary to write in the first person. Sometimes if you have difficult things that you wish to express you might choose to write about yourself in the third person. This technique also enables fresh understanding and compassion for your actions.

Have fun revitalising your journaling practice with these suggestions. For more inspiration grab yourself a signed copy of The Journal Writer’s Handbook – while stocks last.

 

 

 

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July 15, 2019 · 3:27 pm

“How can I keep it real?”

Realness means…

What?

It’s different for each of us. It’s worth the contemplation.

For me it is to feel grounded, active, on purpose, productive. It’s when things happen around me and I’m prepared to face them, to get curious and to find out what’s behind them.

Realness is to stay connected – to the real world, to reality, to my responsibilities.

And it is also to stay alert to new possibilities, without prejudice.

For a while I wondered whether keeping a journal might be about avoidance. That finding refuge in the ramblings of my imagination and the gazings at my navel might be a way of kidding myself out of being real.

But no. Quite the opposite.

For me keeping a journal is not to be an ostrich with my head in the sand. It is not to  daydream or deny.

Rather it’s a way of getting deeper into what reality actually is, for me. Deeper into where it lives and can be found.

And what I’ve discovered is that the most real thing there is in my experience  lives in my heart.

The more I tune into it, the more I act from that place, the more real I become: the more people tell me “You’re real.”

It’s nice.

So these days I make it my daily practice to hang out with my heart. It’s the place of courage, and, being adjacent to the breathing organs, of inspiration. It’s where love and truth and desire and joy and kindness and playfulness and curiosity are born, and borne.

I sit in meditation, and then I take up my journal and allow my pen to move across the page. The voice of my heart comes through loud and clear. The words flow. All forming coherent ideas, never forced. Or at least whenever it does feel like hard work, like squeezing blood from a stone, I know it’s because I’ve somehow shut myself off from my heart, and I am painfully denying my reality.

Because keeping it real happens naturally when we give voice to what is in our heart. Our heady ego might shoot it down – perhaps yours is right now as you read.

But listen.

You might just discern, beneath the noise, a little whisper of  reality coming from your heart.

Gift Wrap and Pencil

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March 26, 2019 · 1:38 pm

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

Deepening conversations

Yesterday I had the privilege to attend a lecture given by poet-philosopher David Whyte at the Ashmolean Museum. I’ve been dimly aware of Whyte’s work for a number of years, but my interest intensified last April during a poetry retreat on Iona in the Scottish Hebrides.

Sure enough, and true to the Law of Attraction, having ignited my awareness, I then began ‘seeing’ David everywhere. When the ad popped up on my Facebook feed about the talk he was giving in Oxford I made my reservation immediately.

For three whole hours yesterday afternoon I was caught in a spell of contemplation and appreciation. Conversations are fundamentally the way we engage in the world, and with ourselves, so learning how to deepen them, and how to interrupt the same old narratives of our lives which don’t always serve us, was the most wonderful gift for a chilly Friday in January.

David’s new book is titled “A Timeless Way: The Art and Practice of Deepening Conversations”. Although not yet ready for publication he explained that it sets out six steps to effect change in our existing conversations – and hence in our experience.

Three hours was not enough to go through every step. But we were able to explore the power of just a couple of them – interspersed with and enhanced by David’s resonant, insistent poetry recitals and profound, amusing stories. It was a wonderful and nourishing experience.

The practice of conversing with ourselves is of course one which we undertake in our journals. However, the quality of the conversation we maintain may not always be of service to us. We all fall into the trap of repeating thoughts and beliefs which persuade us that we, and the world, are a certain way, denying ourselves the creative certainty of living a different kind of life.

David’s work gives us a template to shift and deepen our perceptions and our understanding, gently challenging us to consider what are the conversations we need to stop having, and what is our relationship to the unknown.

As I learned yesterday, turning our sincere attention to these questions for even a short time initiates a collective easing open of hearts and minds. The effect was both palpable and magical.

David Whyte’s Timeless Way

Sincere thanks to Paul and Marie of The Beyond Partnership for facilitating the event.

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Filed under Philosophy, Poetry, Reflection, review, Uncategorized

Half way point

2018 is half a month old – which means so is my resolution to be more mindful of what I eat and to look after myself better.

A couple of years ago I discovered the Whole30 approach to food and I gave it a whirl – 30 days of eliminating sugar, grains, gluten, alcohol, legumes and dairy from my diet. I ended up learning how to prepare fresh meat, seafood, vegetables and fruit in delicious ways. I pretty much gave up my dependence on bread, developed the taste for black coffee, got a huge energy boost and lost twenty pounds.

Then I got lazy again and undid all my good work.

SO since 2018 started on a Monday, which means that I can track the date and the plan simultaneously on the calendar without having to do any adding up, AND since I am eager again to experience the energy benefits, not to mention to fit into my clothes better, I was inspired to give whole30 another go this month.

And it’s going very very well.

whole30

I’ve just moved into Tiger Blood phase. Energy is high, I feel positive, optimistic, and hugely inspired.

And inspiration is key. I want to feel full of energy. I want to feel comfortable in my clothes. I love the feeling of mindfully planning my meals and shopping for fresh ingredients that will transform into delicious dinners. I’m excited about my tastes changing, becoming more satisfied by fresh flavours rather than anaesthetised by the Sugar Dragon.

Plus I love crossing the dates of the calendar. Once a journaling nerd, always a journaling nerd.

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Filed under Goal-setting, inspiration, mindfulness, Self-Care, Uncategorized

Inspiration or Motivation

I have often found it a lot of effort to motivate myself. I usually manage it – but it often leaves me feeling tired, and unlikely to want to repeat the effort any time soon.

So I was delighted to hear Abraham Hicks’ insistence that there is more joyful productivity likely when we are moved by inspiration rather than motivation.

This was music to my ears.

For years I have periodically asserted that I like to “follow my nose” in my projects, commercial or creative. I usually prefer to see where the mood takes me, rather than slavishly follow a pattern or plan, which quickly has me restless and bored.

To me, this is all about being guided by inspiration rather than force. It feels like gliding rather than trudging through life.

This way of proceeding can prove chaotic, indecisive and messy to the casual observer. It might seem flakey, unreliable and weird.

Of course that would be a problem if I were here to live life according to someone else’s agenda.

But since I’m not here to do that, following my nose, or my heart, or my bliss, makes things much more fun and spontaneous moment to moment. It means I get to choose the impulse that feels the best to me, and follow that to its conclusion. It also feels less like I’m pushing things uphill, and more like I’m free-wheeling down the other side of a hill I’ve climbed through courage and vision and honesty rather than effort and obligation and pressure.

I have had a great deal of really cool experiences with this approach. It helps me be more ready to say YES to opportunities as they present themselves. And it has also opened the flood gates to a whole host of new creative ideas.

If you are looking for ways to tap into your creative imagination, or if you are keen to live the life you want, you would do worse than to give yourself permission to explore what impulses occur to you, moment to moment, when you allow yourself off the motivation hook and get ready to be inspired.

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Filed under Creative process, Law of Attraction

Butterfly words

Mel's butterfly

Sometimes you see an image that makes your heart leap. Then you discover something else about it which makes your heart sing. On this occasion this butterfly was made and the photo taken by my childhood friend Melanie McConville, who is one of those people in my life to whom Facebook has made my reconnection possible. When I saw this picture on her wall this morning I fell in love with its beauty and simplicity – but its theme also resonated very strongly with me.

Butterfly words are all too delicate. We capture them and pin them carefully in our journals, preserving as much as possible of their vibrancy, so that they can continue to inspire us, even without flight.

Butterfly words. Flights of fancy. So beautiful, simple and precious.

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Filed under Journal Writing