Joan Didion said "I don't know what I think until I write it down." I identify so closely with this statement and have always been a bit in awe of people who can clearly and concisely communicate their thoughts effectively via speech.
I've always had to write. As a child, my inner world was very overwhelming and writing brought a sense of organization and clarity to my thoughts. It gave tangible form to my ideas and helped make sense of my active imagination. It has been one of the fundamental tools I have used consistently throughout my self-care journey.
I understand that some people do not like to write. The idea of writing something stresses them out or causes anxiety for one reason or another - maybe they're worried that someone may find and read their private thoughts or that they won't write the "right way," or that they don't have time - I've even heard people say that journaling is a waste of time.
Scientific studies have proven that writing therapy helps increase happiness, strengthen confidence and even improve mental and physical health. Therapists and coaches of all kinds have prescribed journaling as a tool to help heal and work through traumas.
Scorpio Season + Mercury Retrograde is prime time for shadow work and purging the dark places we like to keep hidden. Journaling is a very accessible way to bring to the shadows to light and give clarity to our inner worlds.
I am always surprised by the darkness that comes out through my writing as I tend to be a happy, cheerful person. When I write freely, a lot of anger, bitterness and emotion always come to the surface. After decades of doing this - that still surprises me! But that hurt and darkness is still there and in my experience, the more that I acknowledge and honor that pain, the less it tends to sabotage me in daily life. With a regular journaling practice, I have found that I relate better to my husband. I tend to not make him my emotional punching bag because I've already fought it all out on the page. It helps me to understand that these feelings are within me, not evoked by something he is or isn't doing.
Adding another daily practice to your self-care routine can be overwhelming, I get it. Maybe don't write every day - maybe it's once a week, or twice a week or every other day. But making some regular time to check in via journaling can really be a helpful tool to purge some shadows and gain insight into your emotional climate and behavioral patterns.
If free-writing seems overwhelming, here are some journal prompts:
3) Write about the most profound trauma in your life
5) Things to Let Go
6) Things to Let Be
Try not to edit yourself as you write - let the words flow off of your fingertips onto the page. This is not for anyone else's eyes, no one else will see or critique, this is just about you creating some space for your shadows to show their face - getting to know them a bit better may result in a more peaceful relationship with yourself and with others.
Loved this post and your journaling prompts. I love that your kids practice gratitude! What an amazing tool for life. I definitely identify with the statement “I don’t know until I write it down / say it out loud.” I have never felt articulate speaking on the spot, but love sharing if it’s something I’ve written first. When I was a child and my mother and I would argue, we would write each other letters. It was much less bombastic than when we tried to talk through things. I think we must have been similar in that respect.
Whether it’s love, good health, a solid relationship, serenity, freedom, a title, respect, or a certain number in the bank or on the scale - anything you chase will always be outside of you.
Apart from you.
A Perpetual Separation.
The energy of chasing by nature keeps you in pursuit and the desired "thing" running away from you. This creates more resistance & frustration and actually widens the gap between you and what you want.