When all else fails… write.
In life, there are points we feel we have no more options. All the doors have been closed and to say we feel stuck is an understatement. We have spoken with friends, and family. Maybe we even seek advice at church or through counseling. At the end of the day, though, we still don’t have an answer.
We live in a society that constantly forces us to think, “what’s next.” From childhood the one question everyone asked was “what do you want to be when you grow up?” As children, we knew, without a doubt in our minds, that we wanted to be firefighters, ballerinas, or perhaps the President of the United States and we truly felt as though it was not only possible, but definite. Why? Because we were in touch with a part of ourselves that we eventually forgot as we grew up. It is the spark inside that is at the core of who we are. Yogis call this Atman, or our true Self, and is what’s sought after on the path to enlightenment. In his book, “The Path of the Urban Mystic” Darren Main states “This forgotten identity stems from the very popular notion that we need to be fixed – that somehow, there is something wrong with us. Perhaps we are told that we are born with ‘original sin,’ or maybe we are told that we have to fight to succeed in the world. But whatever form this life takes, most of us live our lives as if this lie were the only thing in this world that is actually true. It seems to be a given that there will be winners and losers and that we will wind up with either the ‘haves’ or the ‘have-nots’.” The physical practice of yoga is one of the first and perhaps easiest ways to begin to tap into this part of us. But that is for another day. Though it is incredibly important, I am going to go out on a limb here and say that it would be easier for most to pop in a DVD or head to a class than to simply sit down on a daily basis and write.
I have recently had a conversation with someone about an incredibly difficult time in his life. The details are not important, but what I thought was so profound was that when he said, “Once I wrote it down it seemed to help” I knew what was happening inside. You see, when we write, we shed layers of ourselves. We offer up truths that are at the core of who we are. Once written, emotions become tangible and the pain and heartache left begins to heal.
So, there it is. Write. Write your thoughts. Your hopes. Your dreams. Your deepest darkest secrets that you have sworn to take to your grave (though maybe purchase a locking journal). Even if you have no idea what to write, simply pressing pen to paper and letting words flow is the best place to start. Because when we write, we are able to unleash areas of our true Self that we didn’t even know existed. The answers we have been searching for all along may just leap out onto the page without you even knowing you had them to begin with.
To close, I thought I would show you what one of my journal entries looked like (click on the picture to make it larger):
The reason I wanted to do this was to show you that it doesn’t have to be perfect (most of mine are far from) and that really is the whole point. I challenge you for the next week to take five to ten minutes and do this: Start with pen and paper in hand. Sit in a quiet space. Close your eyes and take 5 deep breaths – inhale and exhale. When you open your eyes, write the first thing that comes to mind. After that the second thing. Don’t judge, witness yourself. It will be difficult at first. Maybe you only get two words out – maybe they are “this sucks.” Whatever it is, allow for that and eventually you will find it to be easier.
My hope for you today, and every day, is that you Be You. Fearlessly.