Tag Archives: ranting

Getting past ranting

I have often used my journal to rant. I have often been so angry as I write that I push my pen through the page.

And it has often been cathartic. It has also often yielded new perspectives – once the initial ragings have burned away, as if my journal itself is pleading for its life. I am soothed. Until the next time.

I have written before about ranting here  and, rather beautifully, here.

Journaling is a great tool for absorbing the squawking frustrations of our monkey mind. It serves in the moment to download all our nastiness without having to inflict it on anyone else. But if that’s all we do, just write it out, then it frequently will come back to bite us.

It’s a good idea to get past ranting in your journal. I’ve learned that if all I do is rant then I run the risk of locking myself into a journaling loop, constantly revisiting it without much resolution. Writing is a powerful medium to reinforce our desires, beliefs, thoughts and wishes. It serves us to use it wisely, especially if our journal is an important tool in our personal development.

Of course you can choose to reserve your journal for the noting of things for which you are grateful or have appreciation. You need never descend to whining and whingeing at the pages if you so wish. But then you might find yourself in denial of the thing you most need to get off your chest.

To paraphrase Rumi, or if you prefer, “We’re all going on a Bear Hunt”, often the only way out of something is to go through it.

Which means converting our journal into a crucible of alchemy rather than a silo of toxic waste.

There are numerous techniques to enable this.

1.  The Handover

Entrust your rant to a higher power, and ‘hand it over’. You might use loose pages that you can then shred or burn in an emphatic ritual of relinquishment and release. You can then invite the superior entity of your choosing to give you inspiration for your next right step.

2.  Reporting

You might choose to detach yourself from your monkey mind and report in the third person on what it’s ranting about, rather than identifying with it. And conclude your entry with the prompt: “My advice in this situation is…” such that you identify yourself with your inner wisdom instead of the torment.

3. Telling a new story

At the time of this blog posting I am personally working through a series of daily prompts to help me actively change the story I’ve been telling about my life. Without taking conscious steps to tell a new story I risk cycling round the same set of unsatisfactory circumstances that have produced the undesirable results I am currently dealing with. Instead of ranting I am choosing to use prompts such as “I like knowing…”, “It’s fun to imagine…”, “I can see evidence of…”

This approach enables me to quickly invite perspectives about my experience which have a different energy; which aren’t mired in the disappointment and sadness I’ve been feeling. Within a short space of time – a matter of days – my mood and outlook have improved and new opportunities are revealing themselves.

4. Lessons learned

Acknowledge the frustration and then write about what you are learning through it, and what new resolutions you can make to change your experience.

In conclusion, if you find yourself stuck in the ranting loop, become an alchemist in your journal and use your emotions constructively.

What’s your way of getting past ranting? Do share in the comments.

Give the gift of journaling this Christmas

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June 13, 2019 · 2:11 pm

What outcomes are you attracting?

Today was the day my Mum was scheduled to have complex spinal surgery. My plan was to drive the 159 miles to be with her. So at 9am I began packing the car and getting ready to leave. I then received a phone call from my brother asking me where I was.
“I’m still at home” I replied.
“Good,” he said. “Stay there. They’ve just cancelled the op.”
Over the course of the ensuing ten minutes I came to understand that the surgeon called a halt to the proceedings because the operating theatre had the wrong table in it.
I began to feel angry and sad, and confused. I heard the tears in Mum’s voice. She’d been terrified of this procedure, and to have it denied her in the eleventh hour was piling on the agony. She was even gowned up and had a line drawn on the skin of her back to mark the incision point.
Yet the surgeon refused to proceed with the wrong table in theatre. He explained that he was not prepared to risk it as he has to work within a tenth of a millimetere from a nerve that if damaged would result in paralysis.
In a quiet moment of reflection after I put down the phone I realised that everything is working out perfectly.
Through this aborted process Mum got to see how much care and attention was being paid to her.
For example, there were 6 people on the team for her op – plus the lead surgeon – and including one guy who’d driven 189 miles to be there. Mum was the only one on today’s roster. All these people had gathered just for her.
 And the fact that the surgeon was prepared to send everyone home and cancel the op rather than run the risk ought to offer Mum a good deal of reassurance about his conscientiousness and duty of care.
I then realised something quite bizarre:  that between us Mum and I managed to attract the cancellation. Through her fear and my resistance to her fear together we have conspired to co-create the eventuality of this operation not going ahead.
In other words, while she was harbouring mortal fears about the procedure, I was pressing for optimism, healing and mobility. We were pulling in opposite directions, and in the process managed to cancel out the op.
I am blown away. I am so grateful for this lesson. And I am also appreciating that Mum and I have another chance to prepare for this operation with less fear and resistance, and more trust and confidence.
Everything is working out perfectly.
In the light of this my reflections are that journaling can be a very powerful magnet for our lived experience. However we express ourselves in writing can play a part in how we shape our lives.
So if we frequently use our journals to rant words of anger and bitterness, then we reinforce angry and bitter experiences in our reality.
If we use our journals to write our appreciations and love letters, then we enhance our reality with loving and appreciative experiences.
In fact, whether we write it or not, our lived experience will be affected by how we feel.
And it’s important to know that there isn’t always a counterweight (my resistance to Mum’s fear) to neutralise our fear, anger or bitterness. Sometimes we create our own momentum, and whether it’s good or bad, positive or negative, the more we feel it, the more we attract it.
Pay attention to the outcomes you are attracting. And use your journal as a tool to reinforce the feelings that will create the outcomes you desire, rather than perpetuate those you don’t.

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Filed under Journal Writing, Law of Attraction

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

Ranting – the most dangerous of all journaling exercises?

Our journals bring us face to face with unpalatable truths about our human nature. They give us the space to rant and to get things off our chest – then surely we can move on?

Ranting is the double-edged sword of journaling. It can be cathartic, but it can also amplify those aspects of ourselves which are false and inauthentic. Our rants are often driven by our inner critic, by our ego, by the stories that we’ve made up about others, and by endless excuses and self-justifications about why we’re not just getting on with the things we want to do.

Ranting is often the beginners’ level of journaling. When our journals serve us solely as places to let off steam they can become quite ludicrous, terrifying documents. They can make us feel deeply ashamed. No wonder we would prefer to keep them secret!

Without a safe way of being able to process and interpret what we rant about in our journals the practice of reflective writing becomes unsustainable. The typical reaction is to abandon our journal – set fire to it perhaps – and decry the whole journaling practice as a waste of time that only gets us more wound up.

The more reflective way is to stay with it, accept our need to rant occasionally, accept that the voice in which we express our rant is rarely authentic, and wait and see what shows up next. Ranting can help us access the truth, as long as we’ve got the guts to stick around and reflect on what we’ve written. In this case we invariably find that ranting simply becomes intolerable to read. As one workshop participant told me: “There’s nowhere to hide when you’re writing to yourself.”

So if you’re struggling to get beyond ranting don’t give up. In fact do the opposite – keep ranting. Before too long your inner wisdom will kick in and you’ll find yourself discovering new insights and understanding. This is when the risk pays off.

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