Journaling & Power in the Written Word

You’ll see it when you believe it.
— Dr. Wayne Dyer

When I was younger I kept a diary, and it wasn't until my late 20s did I revisit a regular writing practice. Since then I write in my journal almost daily. Writing is such an important part of my process. The written word helps me process what is going on with me internally, and helps me to recognize thoughts and belief patterns that best support me in that process.

My journal is a sort of best friend. It's a safe, and reliable place where I can share my vulnerability, the mundane day-to-day, my criticisms, my anger and resentments, the petty judgements and whatever else I need to get off my chest.  I always said to my sister "if something happens to me tomorrow, the first thing you do is grab that box of journals and burn the damn thing!" Not kidding. :)

It's only within recent months that I changed the pattern around how I approach journaling.  While it's healthy to get things off my chest, I realize that journaling also has the potential to keep me stuck in my old ways, dwell on old wounds, and reinforce limiting belief systems that don't serve me in the present.

Now that I'm kinder to myself, and more compassionate towards others, the words in my journal reflect that peaceful, softer state of being. And, not to say that I'm not going to continue to use my journal as a safe space to vent. I am just more conscious of how I process my journey through the power in the written word, in the same way I would in my thoughts and with my speech.

I notice and ask myself: Am I gossiping and dwelling on the past?  Am I kind to myself with what it is I'm still processing, or am I being hard on myself for how I've handled a situation?

In the same way that focusing on negative thought patterns reinforces the negative, the same is true for writing. Writing about positive things in my journal reinforces those very same things. This approach is a practice in self-love because it just feels better to me.

So, as I incorporate this new practice into my daily life, I make a habit of beginning my journal entries with  LIFE LOVES ME... and then I list all of the reasons.  Some of the reasons may not even be part of my present awareness yet. These reasons could be things that I want to have show up and experience.

I ask myself what it is I truly want and how I feel having already experienced it, or as if I already have it.  By focusing on the positive through the use of positive words, desires can truly manifest into the physical form in a very short amount of time. 

This practice reinforces my positive belief system that supports me on a daily basis. As I begin to feel better, life starts to reflect that back to me, and I learn to trust the process. So, in a sense, not only am I using writing as a self-care practice, I'm also using it as a powerful manifestation tool.

If you want to chat more about this, or you have any questions I'm happy to connect. Just send me a note from my Contact page.

With love,

xo SJ


Resilience of Spirit

Fires can’t be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men.
— James Baldwin

One common misconception I had when I first started on this path was that once one becomes "spiritual" they are somehow miraculously immune to hurt, disappointment, and it is the end of dealing with challenging and difficult people.  Obviously this is not the case.  The hurtful stuff is still going to show up while the spiritual work doesn't stop.

Instead, recognize the patterns that show up and use them to your advantage. Through challenging times, the acknowledgment of important patterns will emerge. You begin to see these people and circumstances as teaching opportunities, and as reinforcement of an important part of yourself, rather than an excuse to spiral into victimhood.  Consider these invitations to go deeper into self-awareness. In these moments, you can choose to react or respond.  And, sometimes, all it takes is some time and a few deep breaths to know exactly how it needs to be handled.

Sometimes when I encounter a challenging person, I wonder "What the hell?! Have I not learned this lesson already?" I catch myself being hard on myself, as though I might have done something to "attract" or "deserve it."  Then I remind myself it's because I have the resilience and strength to handle it. I return to all of my self-care tools in the tool box I've been adding to over the years.  With each and every one of these interactions, it gets easier. My communication skills strengthen, and I feel more empowered.  Better still, my enthusiasm for fulfilling my purpose becomes even more vibrant and reinforced.

When I find myself really impatient and frustrated with a difficult situation, I immediately dive right back into self-care in the midst of the chaos.  Then magically, the issue reveals itself fully as another opportunity for personal growth.  Sometimes it may not be about a pattern or a karmic lesson at all. It could just be that a particular person is showing up because I have that much more light and love to extend, and they are *always* the one who needs it the most.

I feel like my entire life has been preparing me for this kind of work.  Over the course of my life I have encountered so many difficult people, and my resilience has been tested time and time again.  Now it is possible for me to see these interactions as check-in reminders that the work that I do, and how I show up in the world is more important than ever.  The pain and the suffering that exists is tangible and real. When I prioritize myself first, take responsibility for the part that is mine, and respond with grace, that gives others permission to do the same - if they so choose.

How do I deal with this on a fundamental level?  Through forgiveness and gratitude. Forgiving myself for supposedly "attracting it" and forgiving the person or circumstance that is propelling me forward into the next stage of my personal development, while at the same time feeling grateful for it showing up in the first place.

I spent a lot of time by myself last weekend, meditating in the woods. One morning, during my meditation, I suddenly felt everyone that ever caused me grief gathered around me in a circle.  I sat with them for a while, then I started to cry. It wasn't because I was sad, it was because I had an enormous amount of gratitude for them despite the difficulties we experienced together.  After all, they are my greatest teachers. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be called to do any of this personal work. At the end of the meditation, I sent them love and forgiveness, and then they disappeared.

This visualization was really healing.  I'm not sure why it happened. Maybe it had something to do with my surroundings, or it's because I've been feeling ready for the next big step. In any case, I felt a huge shift in the energy, and it felt good. 

Forgiveness is the first step, then once released, the second step is to create a self-care plan that works for you. Or, perhaps forgiveness alone as a self-care practice is enough.

The next time you come across a difficult person or circumstance, give yourself some love first, stay connected to your truth, and ask yourself "how can I serve in this situation to the best of my ability?" If you take the time to sit with it, and take some deep breaths, the answer will come to you in no time.

SJ's Thrivival Guide to the Holidays

The holidays can be really hard, especially if you're thinking about loved ones who have passed on, miss the ones you haven't seen or talked to in a long time, or simply experiencing general anxiety around spending time with family. It's important to stay grounded and centered within yourself. Give yourself permission to create what it is you want for holidays, and define what it means to you. Just knowing that you have the power to choose your experience is the key to thriving, especially this time of year.

Here are my tips to help you thrive during holidays: 

  • If you're traveling, give yourself plenty of time so you don't feel rushed or panicked
  • If there are delays, seek out the positive. For example, if you are surprised with an extra two hours at the airport, why not buy that book that you have been meaning to read, and start it? Or perhaps this is the only time you and your family will be alone during vacation. Find something fun to do together. If you're by yourself, be open to the synchronicities around meeting someone new. There might be a reason why you're stuck at the airport.
  • Practice gratitude
  • Let go of the patterns and expectations around people and things
  • Do your best to avoid feeling guilty if you want to do your own thing
  • Let yourself enjoy the holiday treats. It's OK to indulge!
  • Stay as balanced as you can with your personal eating habits. Consider bringing some of your own comfort foods along to family events
  • If you have a dedicated meditation, yoga, or gym routine - keep it
  • Give yourself permission to have some alone time even if there is family around
  • Respect other's needs for their space, too
  • Appreciate that others may also be feeling triggered
  • Reconnect with traditions that make you feel good - whether it's a certain event, or making a special recipe
  • Get lots of rest
  • Practice patience, loving kindness and acceptance
  • Have it be more about the moments, and less about the things
  • Be gracious in receiving
  • Give some of your time and energy to helping someone else or volunteer for a cause that is important to you
  • Get outside - especially if it's snowing! When was the last time you went sledding or made a snow angel?!
  • Listen to your heart
  • Have fun!!

Love, SJ