Categories
Journaling heart and soul News

3 Reasons Why Everybody Should Attend a Therapeutic Writing Retreat.

Last Friday, 9 women gathered in lovely Stroud NSW for the first ever ‘Write To Rise’ Therapeutic Writing Retreat. These women all came for varied reasons and left with something unexpected. As they worked both together and alone, they discovered the power of honest expressive writing and the clarity and life enhancement it brings.

‘Write to Rise’ is a program I wrote to not only introduce others to therapeutic writing but to showcase the role narrative plays in our lives. The takeaway, ‘to restore we must re-story’, how to do that is where the writing comes in. As I reflect on this day, for the purpose of both celebrating it and improving the program, I can see great reward in a retreat of this nature. Here are three reasons why I think everyone should consider attending a therapeutic writing retreat. 

Write To Rise Therapeutic Day Retreat
  • To step out of routine and reflect on life.

Most of us live full lives. Busting out of the daily 9-5 and taking time to reflect on what is working or not working, as well as focusing on the emotional or psychological blocks that prevent us from processing pain, fulfilling our potential, and finding the fulfillment we seek, is worth upsetting the routine.  As we write, prompted by points of view, questions, quotes or the sensory details we find in nature, we start to see patterns, and the steps we could take to move forward. Re-reading, reflecting and analyzing our work is an important step in therapeutic writing. Having time to do this makes retreating extremely valuable. 

  • To learn skills that will improve life and foster well being. Therapeutic writing is directed. It usually starts  with a prompt or exercise. Certain techniques foster certain outcomes. It is writing based around healing, development and growth and seeks to highlight what can be found in the moment as well as how to move forward. It is more purposeful than simply keeping a diary or dumping your stress, anger and anxiety onto the page. It is a way to practice self compassion, foster gratitude, solve problems, build strategy, nurture mind and spirit, enhance creativity and imagination, record  dreams and of course, process pain and loss. Retreating for me is not only  about leaving with a fuzzy feeling in your chest, but also with tools to take home and use when needed. 
  • To make new connections and foster bonds.

Retreating gathers like-minded people. There is nothing like coming together with those interested in similar things, and walking through similar seasons. In the case of this writing retreat, (‘Write to Rise’)  all that gathered were processing hard things, keen to discover how to heal and the role that writing could take in that journey. There were tears, and by the end of the day, exhaustion. However, there were also multiple ‘aha’ moments and the discovery of truths (no matter how painfully liberating that may be). We wrote in musical silence, had some laughs over lunch, engaged in discussion and deep conversation. Some car pooled with friends, others bravely ventured on their own, but all had a seat in the open circle. How sweet it is to retreat with those who are committed to connection and consideration. 

Already I have had numerous people say that they would love to come to the next retreat (whenever that may be). That makes me extremely excited not only because I love coaching people and showing  how to use writing to heal and rise, but also because I believe in reflection, connection and the joy found in writing your own wild and beautiful story. 

For news on upcoming retreats and to receive monthly progressive writing prompts sign up here. 

Categories
Poetry heart and soul

5 comforting poems for the bereaved.

Poetry at best is a pomatum, prayer or protest. For me, the healing quality of the right words at the right time, has been the most restorative thing in my life. 

And so, with no need for a long intro, here are 5 poems that can be used as a light and liniment in times of sorrow. 

Death Is Nothing At All
Henry Scott-Holland

Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.

Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just round the corner.

All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

5 comforting poem for the bereaved.
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
5 comforting poems for the bereaved
Seasons Of Grief
Belinda Stotler 

Shall I wither and fall like an autumn leaf,
From this deep sorrow - from this painful grief?
How can I go on or find a way to be strong?
Will I ever again enjoy life's sweet song?

Sometimes a warm memory sheds light in the dark
And eases the pain like the song of a Meadow Lark.
Then it flits away on silent wings and I'm alone;
Hungering for more of the light it had shone.

Shall grief's bitter cold sadness consume me,
Like a winter storm on the vast angry sea?
How can I fill the void and deep desperate need
To replant my heart with hope's lovely seed?

Then I look at a photo of your playful smiling face
And for a moment I escape to a serene happy place;
Remembering the laughter and all you would do,
Cherishing the honest, caring, loving spirit of you.

Shall spring's cheerful flowers bring life anew
And allow me to forget the agony of missing you?
Will spring's burst of new life bring fresh hope
And teach my grieving soul how to cope?

Sometimes I'll read a treasured card you had given me
And each word's special meaning makes me see,
The precious gift of love I was fortunate to receive,
And I realize you'd never want to see me grieve.

Shall summer's warm brilliant sun bring new light,
And free my anguished mind of its terrible plight?
Will its gentle breezes chase grief's dark clouds away,
And show me a clear path towards a better day?

When I visit the grave where you lie in eternal peace,
I know that death and heaven brought you release;
I try to envision your joy on that shore across the sea,
And, until I join you, that'll have to be enough for me.

For all the remaining seasons of my life on earth,
There'll be days I'll miss your merriment and mirth,
And sometimes I'll sadly long for all the yesterdays;
Missing our chats and your gentle understanding ways.

Yet, the lessons of kindness and love you taught me,
And the good things in life you've helped me to see;
Linger as lasting gifts that comfort and will sustain,
Until I journey to that peaceful shore and see you again.
The healing Facts

Lauren Lott.

I know it seems impossible
But we can hold in our hearts
Peace and pain together.

We can feel the rain of sorrow
While wrapped in sheets of calm.

We can grace the depths of grief
Linked with relief, arm in arm.

We can ache while arching backward
Bathed in soothing sun.

We can feel the light in darkest night
And hope when death has come.
When Great Trees Fall
Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,

promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

For poetry and writing prompts to process pain and loss take a look at ‘The Remains of Burning’ Therapeutic journal.

Categories
heart and soul Journaling

How to find the wisdom you need.

From time to time we all need a little guidance. Seeking the wisdom you need from those who have experienced what you are going through and have  demonstrated sound judgement is invaluable. You may have a mentor, a mother or father figure you go to when you are stuck and  in need of some life advice. You may regard the words and instruction of Plato, Rumi, Thoreau, Aurelius, or Solomon.  You may turn to the pages of a religious text such as the Quran or the Tanakh. 

But have you considered mining the truths that hide inside your own heart? 

How to find the wisdom you need.

I often say, ‘the most life changing words you’ll ever read are your own.’ This statement can be misunderstood if left unexplained. And so, let me clarify. 

When we write about anything with authenticity, we are able to read our own true thoughts and feelings. Knowing what we really think and feel allows us to be emotionally aware of what we need and want, don’t need and don’t want. We can also discover negative thought patterns that cause unnecessary emotional suffering or simply prevent us from growth. This is powerful because it is only when we identify negative thoughts, that we can change them.

Wisdom is truth applied. To gain clarity and find direction, we must first understand what is going on in the heart and mind; we must seek to pinpoint the lies we have adopted as truth. Distinguishing between what is true and what is a lie may seem tricky, however, it is less difficult once it is understood  that lying is an act of fear and truth is always grounded in love. 

Poet David Whyte says, ‘One of the great disciplines of life is having the ability to ask beautiful questions. Beautiful questions cultivate a beautiful mind.’ 

Once you have written down your thoughts and feelings and identified the truth from lies, you can take what is on your page and let it lead you to ask a beautiful question. Beautiful questions are those that always elicit beautiful answers. They lead to wisdom, peace and exciting possibility. 

For example, consider one who wrote ‘I feel rejected’. One may be tempted to spend time trying to figure out if this feeling is true or false, however, the question, ‘Have I been rejected?’ holds within it the possibility of more pain and lacks empowerment.

In this case, a beautiful and better question would be, ‘Now that this door has been closed in front of me, what possibilities can I see?’ If the answer is ‘I see no possibilities.’ This is a good indication that one is in need of processing grief. Although this answer does not seem very beautiful, it does provide insight and direction, which leads to a beautiful outcome. 

Quote, ‘Where there is love there is life.’ Gandhi

Often when people are unsure of what to do next, whether they should go right or left, they take out a piece of paper and write down the pros and cons; the good and bad things that will come from their decision. Although this can be helpful, I suggest you go a little deeper.

Good and bad can be situational; dependent on one’s circumstance. However, this can not be said of love and fear. Instead of listing pros and cons, list the things that align with a loving intention and the things you are afraid of. This is helpful because wisdom, truth, goodness are all branches of the same tree. The love tree. Wise words are found by lime-lighting truth which is always grounded in love.

So to recap.

Wisdom can be found through first journaling authentic thoughts and emotions. Next, pinpoint possible negative thought patterns and lies that are disguised  as truths.  Allow what is discovered on the page to lead you to ask a beautiful question that will yield beautiful answers and outcomes. To take it a step further, make a list based on love and fear. Use this list to help you identify what is wise, truthful and loving. 

Categories
Journaling Therapeutic Writing Prompts

7 June journal prompts to finish the year strong.

Journaling can be used for both reflection and projection. It can help us remember where we have been, what decisions we have made, why we made those decisions, how we have coped with challenges and what we have learnt from our recent experiences. It can reveal how we really feel, what we really want and the obstacles that stand in the way of achieving our desires. 

Although we can not control every aspect of our lives, these June journal prompts are crafted to help you be responsible for what you can control, navigate your next steps well and finish the year strong. 

What has been the thing you have enjoyed most so far this year?

Don’t think too hard about this one. It could be your job, your hobby, a new or old friendship, an event or vacation, a spiritual practice or a simple delight found  in your everyday life. This prompt helps point to not only the pleasure experienced, but also to the plan you should consider. What is life for if not to be enjoyed. To finish the year strong you will need to pack it with good times, the things that amuse you.

What goals did you set this year? How would you say that you are progressing with them?

You may want to resist this question. But don’t. It may cause you to feel guilt, shame or disappointment, but remember there is no room to judge your emotions on the page. Simply write out the goals you set and then without excuse assess if you are progressing towards achieving them. It’s a simple yes or no. If the answer is no, be brave enough to look deeper into why you have not made any ground. If your goals have changed, you may like to set another set of goals to be achieved by the end of the year. 

What does success mean to you?

I love this question. I love it because it allows us to define success rather than have it defined for us. It is important that your goals reflect what success means to you. Is success financial gain? Is it being praised by your peers? Is it spiritual growth? Is it community impact? Is it healthy relationships? Is it freedom to do whatever you want? Answering this question will help you move through the lessons you need to learn and towards your true north.

Write a few lines about each of the following areas of your life. Note the things you are proud of and the things you would like to change. 

Health. This includes your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. 

Relationships. This includes, romantic relationships, friendships, work relationships and other family connections.

Finances. This includes paying off debt, budgeting, investments, and your attitude towards money.

Creativity. This includes following your curiosities, solving problems, improving your craft and being inspired. 

Soul. This includes finding alignment, self-love, peace of mind, connecting to a higher power and being content. 

What area of your life do you feel needs the most focus in the coming months?

After answering question 4 you will be able to see what area of your life needs the most focus in the coming months. Write down a few ways you will do this. Remember it’s all about time and action. Select the time you will set aside to focus on this area and the action you will take within that time frame.

Imagine it is New Year’s Eve 2022. What do you want to be able to say about this year?

In light of the fact that we are still living in a pandemic and there are lots of concerning things going on in the world, many would answer this question with two words, ‘I survived.’ Although this answer is valad, think of something you would like to say that is in your control and would put a smile on your face,

Again, imagine it is New Year’s Eve 2022. What do you want to be able to say about yourself?

In essence this question is asking, ‘What could you do that would make you feel proud?’ The best way to answer it is to write out the kind of person you want to be and then take a look at the things you can practically do to cultivate personal growth. Do you want to overcome a fear? Improve your communication skills? Become more loving? Increase your capacity? Give more to others? Write down what you would like to say about yourself.

If you enjoyed these journal prompts and you would like to further engage in writing for therapeutic purposes, consider booking a ‘Write to Rise’ session with me, or taking a closer look at ‘The Remains of Burning Therapeutic Journal’ poetry and writing prompts for processing pain and loss. Available from bookshops.

Categories
life lessons News

3 things to remember when starting again.

I started out like I always do, with a title, a theme, book sections and a mental picture of the cover art. I wrote 34 poems in 3 weeks led by some kind of creative surge until it stopped. No more flow. I tried reading to regain it, thinking that absorbing the writings of poets would put magic in my pen. Nothing. Not a  sentence worth the paper it was written on. My bright idea, dim. 

But how could I be shocked? Ideas are for building cities, organising people, fixing broken things. Ideas don’t write poetry. I was trying to pull poetry out of my head when poetry has to be heart led. 

And so, I had to start again. File away 34 poems and open a new page. Scrap the title. Narrow down the theme. Forget about layout and design. And then walk beaches. Watch for storms. Water my peace lily until movement alchemized into energy within.

What I’m trying to say is, the book I said I was writing is dead. And if I keep trying to revive it my will to write will die too. It was too heady, too opinionated (gross), all goose, no bumps. I’m going to try again.

starting again

Starting over is worth it, not a waste; it is what makes the process interesting. It is the way, the real plan A, and it is needed to prevent us from betraying ourselves. It’s a chance to do things better, experience something different, clean out the clutter and recreate. 

If you sense the need to start over, remember these three. 

1. Make peace with reality.

I must have tried to save my project a dozen times. I looked at the thin manuscript  and thought of all the mornings I rose to write. I wanted my efforts to be more than warm up exercises. That’s ok, because that’s what some humans do. That’s what I always do. Hope against hope. Hold on way too long. 

Making peace with reality is hard, however, once I accepted that what I wrote was not right, then I could believe that writing something better was possible. Letting go is empowering. It proves trust. 

2.Trust.

Trust what? Trust who? Well I guess, it’s about trusting that what you sense is true. 

There is a saying, ‘you must let go of the old to grab hold of the new’,’ which feels like a trick if ever you’ve been betrayed, but it is actually completely logical. There is no other way to take something into your hand other than to loosen your grip on what you already hold. Opening up takes trust and practice. Trust in every word and act of love. Practice exposing your palm in wait for what is better.

3. Engage with the ‘over again’

It’s important to realise that starting over may be something you’ll have to engage in several times. This too is ok. Try and then try again, tweaking things as you go, inching towards what you see with the eyes of your heart. Sometimes I write pages and only keep a line or a word. Other times I change little and only editing is needed. Starting over, whether it be a poem or a poetry book, a facet of life or life entirely is normal. Challenging, but normal. Unsettling, but normal. Necessary, but normal and totally fine.

Want to stay up to date with my progress in bringing the next book baby into the world? For first looks and behind the scenes sneaky peeks sign up to my community newsletter.

Categories
life lessons heart and soul

5 expansive thoughts to lift your life.

A wrote a micro poem last year. It’s called ‘the memoir of stars.’ It goes like this.

‘Tell the story that makes you glow, freedom is in the mind you know.’ 

I scribbled it down after reflecting on a time that I had lost my glow. You know what I mean when I say ‘glow”? It’s hard to explain, but I guess you could say that it is a radiance that comes as a result of being free. 

Although there were certain pain points in my life at the time, the loss of glow wasn’t because of my circumstances. Jadedness dawns in the mind. My lack of enthusiasm began with constrained thinking. Thoughts like, ‘Things will never change.’ ‘I am inadequate.’ ‘Life is not fair’.

Things became, well, a bit tedious. Hoping for more seemed selfish, yet what I had was clearly  being unutilized. What I needed was a new way of perceiving what is possible. Instead of entertaining doldrums, I needed to tell myself a different narrative; to enter the world through a different door. 

Expansive thinking moves us beyond ourselves and allows us to enter the realm of possibility. It is a marriage between the real and imagined. There are a fistful of thoughts that bring what’s possibly good, true and beautiful to the forefront. Meditating on them increases joy and wonderment. Believing these thoughts will cultivate a new sense of freedom in your life.

Expansive Thoughts to life your life.

1. I don’t always get what I want, but I have what I need. 

This thought helps me to pull my focus from what I do not have. When lack is loud. When shortcomings shout. When loss is illuminated from every angle of the mind, this thought provides space to breathe by moving the focus from what is perceived to be missing, to what is presently good. When I think, ‘I don’t have a million dollars’, concentrating on need says, ‘Oh, but look, I have shoes.’ Opportunity to grow and gain the things I want will come when I make the best of what I have.

2. The world is beautiful.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the noise, to be entangled by bad news, the horror of tragedy and the faff of gossip. Yes, the world needs our love, our fight and our focus.  However, believing that the world is beautiful helps to hold off fear and to appreciate being here. Instead of saying to yourself, ‘it’s dog eat dog’ or ‘nothing ever goes my way’, look at the brilliance that is your life, the miracle of your existence and allow the creativity of the natural world to inspire. 

3. Every end is a beginning.

Straight up, this thought doesn’t make moving on easy. It stings if said too soon; it is an agony if contemplated before the grieving process is fully engaged. But after years, or when the clouds have cleared, these are the words that put to rest real disappointment and regret. This thought allows imagination to take flight, and prompts us to remember that there is a story after the story; a party after the show. And after every ending, there is something new.

4. I am not my feelings.

On days when I feel overcome with emotion. When I am overwhelmed with feeling underwhelmed. When I sense inner tension, feel trapped or slightly terrified, it’s helpful to  know that my emotions do not prove who I am. They are neither good nor bad and only exist to be felt and processed. They are separate from spirit (the real me). This thought cuts me free from beliefs such as, ‘to feel good, is to be  good’. Or ‘to feel beautiful, is to be beautiful. Or ‘to feel worthy, is to be worthy’. 

5. I am guided by love.

Easily mistaken from being a little woo woo, there is no doubt, this thought has been the most freeing of all. Believing I am loved, that I can align with love and that loving others is really the reason I am here has certainly liberated me. Love is life-affirming. To give and receive it is a source of satisfaction. When my glow starts to fade, love turns up all the lights. Sure, hard things, bad things, sad things are possible, but love always always always leads me on. 

(‘The memoir of stars’ is from ‘A Strong and Fragile Thing‘, musings in reflection of the wisdom and wonder found in the natural world. Available from Amazon and bookstores world wide.)

Categories
life lessons heart and soul

How to have an ‘at home soul retreat’.

Recently I found myself yearning for rest. However, March for me is the month when things start to ramp up and getting away is harder than ever. How does one switch off when the season demands one to switch it up a notch?  

For me, the answer is to schedule an ‘at home soul retreat’. With a little planning, refreshment can be found right where I live, because retreating is not about time (how long) or place (whereabouts) it is about intention.

Now, I know everyone’s living situation is different. For some, home is an unsettling place. If you are caring for someone with high needs or live in shared housing, I acknowledge, it’s complicated, and finding space is extra difficult. Not being in your position, I don’t have all the answers, only a few suggestions that could work if you mould them to your own circumstances. 

I know sometimes, retreating doesn’t seem worth the hassle; for those who have considerable responsibilities withdrawing takes work. Don’t let the planning needed to retreat discourage you from it. If there is one thing I have learnt this side of my own ‘at home soul retreat’ it is that it is thoroughly worthwhile.

So, what is a soul retreat? Seems a stupid question, as the answer is in the name, but the word ‘soul’, being a little mysterious, probability needs to be explained. Defining the soul is difficult and it seems every second charlie has a different definition for the soul, so let me clarify what I mean. When I say soul, I am referring to the mind, the will and the emotions. A soul retreat is simply finding space to clear the mind, rest the will and process emotions; it’s about nourishing the inner-self.

Once I have decided when I will begin and how long my retreat will last (it could be hours, days or weeks), I prepare by considering what I expect from retreating ahead of time. Much like I would pack my bag for a get away, I gather all I need for my retreat beforehand. This might include deciding on some reading material, creating a relaxing playlist, planning what nature walks I want to do, booking a massage or preparing meals so I don’t have to think about cooking. 

For me, learning to retreat without leaving home has helped me to consistently show up and fulfil commitments. I do this by using free-time in a way that is intentionally geared towards soul health. I also shuffle my work and responsibilities into three working days, leaving two days (in school hours) to retreat from time to time. I could not do this every week, nor is there a need to as retreating every six to eight weeks works for me.

Essentially a soul retreat is about following the soul and giving it what it needs. Your soul retreat will be as unique as you are. For me, a soul retreat involves deep thinking, journaling, reading, napping, being exposed to beauty and creativity, walks by the water, and time spent in stillness. You can include whatever makes you feel alive; from base jumping to baking, it’s up to you. However, it’s important to remember that a soul retreat isn’t just about having a good time; it’s about affirming positive thought, processing painful emotion, and allowing yourself space to dream a little. 

Normally I do not feel the benefits of retreating straight away, in fact, retreating can feel exhaustingly wasteful. However, about 5 days after I’ve retreated, I experience an  increase in focus and  creative energy. This I’m sure, will be different for you, as we all seem to respond to rest and refuel differently. 

The purpose of a soul retreat is to nourish the soul. This is important because neglect at a soul level affects not only our health but also our relationships, our overall well being and outlook on life. If you are weary, lack creative clout, feel jaded, or overwhelmed by a never ending cycle of busyness, a soul retreat may be what you need. There are curiosities to chase, dreams to journal, healing to heed, hope to surrender to, if only you’d stop for a moment to mine the soul. 

Categories
life lessons Journaling

8 ways you can support yourself through pain and loss.

Firstly, let me  say, I am a certified therapeutic writing coach, not a therapist.  As a therapeutic writing coach I am unable to diagnose or work in depth with psychological or emotional health concerns. I focus on helping others improve their lives through the practice of therapeutic writing. The eight ways you can support yourself through pain and loss discussed in this blog post have been curated through study, research and personal experience. 

We often seek to know how we can support those in our lives who are going through hard times. However, learning how to support ourselves is just as important. Care from our loved ones can do wonders, but real progress happens when we show up for ourselves, take time to grieve and do the brave work needed to heal.

Once I realised that I was the one I was waiting for, I felt empowered to create my own healing plan. This looked like extended time spent in nature, journaling, counselling, nurturing my creativity, time with trusted friends, contemplative prayer and reading, water and exercise.

I also became mindful of my surroundings, was careful to not judge my emotions, became selective in who I took advice from, was open to receiving practical help when I needed it and cried a lot.

None of these things provided a quick fix. We all know healing doesn’t work like that. I don’t think I’ll ever be done with the restorative process, simply because we live in an imperfect world. In saying that, it is clear that learning how to support ourselves through pain and loss is vital to become our true best. And it all starts with being present.

Be present.

Although distracting ourselves from pain is tempting, we need to be present to it. This means turning towards it and gradually moving closer, step by step, till eventually we are able to enter into it. The only way to move beyond it, is the walk through it. There is no road around, no tunnel under, no way above – only through. We must feel it, before we can be free of it. 

Cultivate your surroundings.

Our surroundings can assist the healing process. Good surroundings make us feel safe and calm. Beautiful sights, sounds and scents can create spaces that nurture and care for our body, soul and mind. Being intentional about what we watch and listen to is beneficial not only to our mental health but also to our physical and emotional well being. For me, this looks like purposely putting myself in the path of beauty. Propping my camping chair beside the lake and watching the sun go down, filling my house with flowers and plants, listening to orchestral music while walking beachside, and being attentive to the wonders happening in my own garden are all ways I seek to bring more beauty into my life.

Validate your experience.

When processing pain it’s hard not to judge how we feel. This is because we have learnt that certain emotions are bad, and to feel them makes us bad too. While some emotions do have a negative effect on us and those around us, to feel negative emotions is to be human. It is important to know that feeling an emotion and acting upon it are two different things. Whether it is shame, anger, frustration, guilt, resentment, sadness or jealousy it must be felt, noted and validated through nurture and understanding without condemnation. 

Write and reframe your personal narrative.

Journaling has been imperative in my healing journey. Numerous studies have proven the value of therapeutic writing. Research shows it strengthens mental, emotional, and physical health, by reducing stress, regulating emotions, boosting memory and improving overall wellbeing. Writing through pain is a way to not only dump negative emotion but also to reframe personal narrative through observing unhelpful beliefs and lies. For those seeking a guided journaling experience, ‘The Remains of Burning’ poetry and writing prompts to process pain and loss, is a tool I created to assist healing through journaling.

Avoid advice.

Obviously when I say avoid advice, I mean that we can limit the amount of people we give permission to speak into our lives. Accommodating a myriad of opinions about what happened to us, how we should feel and what we can do next can be exhausting. It is wise to shut out some voices and prioritise others. Having a few trusted confidants versus listening to anyone and everyone helps us  to feel safe and prevents the unnecessary triggering of pain.

Ask for help.

Pain and loss do not only have an effect on our physical, emotional and physiological state. They can also change our social connections, relationships, financial circumstances  and future goals. Asking for practical help while you deal with the fall out is okay. Maybe there is someone who can provide child or domestic support. We can support ourselves by asking for what we need.

Seek professional guidance.

Seeing a psychologist, therapist or counsellor is commendable. Although it is important to know the right help may not always be convenient. Finding a professional suited to address your concerns can take some time and adjustment. When it comes to pain and loss, it may be beneficial to seek a therapist and counsellor who  specialises in grief and trauma. The important thing to remember is if the therapist is not the right fit for you it does not mean you are at fault. 

Intentionally increase care and nourishment.

Basically, spoil yourself. Create extra time for the things you like. Buy expensive bath bombs. Go for that massage. Take a nap. Order in food. Do what makes you feel beautiful. Reduce your schedule. Make more room for what you find fun. It is okay to say no to things you once did that you now find stressful. Do not feel guilty for giving yourself the time, attention and support you need.

Categories
Journaling life lessons Therapeutic Writing Prompts

5 Journaling prompts to help find your sweet spot.

In my most recent newsletter I shared that my first journal is just weeks away from being published. I told subscribers that in creating the journal I found my sweet spot: the marriage between what I love to do and helping others.

The sweet spot

In the newsletter I also included a few journal  prompts to help subscribers  find their sweet spot. Today I’d like to unpack these questions. So lean in lovelies, we are about to take a deep dive into the honeyed core of who you are and take a look ( if only a glance) at your very significant purpose.

1. Who are you a tad jealous of?

All my life I’ve been told that jealousy is a sin. What I was not told is that jealousy is a useful way to figure out what is in your heart.  You see, when we are jealous it is for a REASON. Usually we want to succeed in the field another is succeeding in.  Feelings of envy are in essence, nothing more than a sign that says – YOU ARE IN THE VICINITY OF YOUR PURPOSE. Think of it this way, those whom you are jealous of are doing one thing – holding up a mirror. That’s right, jealousy does not have to be about creating idols, being resentful, holding grudges or becoming bitter. Although jealousy, if left to itself, can produce these unpleasant thoughts and emotions, when harnessed, it  becomes an indication of what you want to do with your life.

2. What does a perfect day look like to you?

For many of us the answer to this question would include the people and things we love. However, when I say ‘what does a perfect day look like to you’ I’m talking about rhythm and routine . Is your perfect day fast paced, energy fueled, with your fingers in lots of pies? Maybe your perfect day looks like  being alone with time to focus and produce deep work. Do you like the surety of a fixed schedule or are you better pleased with a day that is flexible and full of variety? Your sweet spot is not just about what you do, but also, the way you do it. 

3. What energises you?

The meaning of the words introvert and extrovert are often mistaken for being associated with personality. In truth, these two words refer to where energy is sourced. Do you gain energy from solace or from interaction? From inward reflection or activity? If you are introverted you will feel refreshed by contemplation and drained by things external to you. If you are extroverted you will feel refueled when you are around people and drained by a lack of interaction. I am introverted. That means time alone revives me. What it does not mean is that I am shy or I don’t like people or I’m fearful of public speaking. In turn, extroverts are not always the life of the party and do not always have a ‘bubbly personality’. Knowing how you are energised will help you find your sweet spot.

4. What kinds of conversations do you lean into?

Imagine you are sitting in a cafe. At the table beside you are two people in deep conversation. You can hear what they are saying. You have two options. Tune them out and focus your attention on something else or lean in and indulge in their exchange. What topic(s) would they be discussing for you to want a seat at their table. What  are you insanely curious about? What are you intrigued by? What do you often find yourself googling? What are you hungry to learn about? The sweet spot is not a place in which we arrive, but a road we journey. Your sweet spot will leave you room to breathe, grow, and become.

5. Who do you empathise with the most?

It’s true that not everyone notices who you notice. Who you see is often largely dependent  on your own experiences. It’s likely that you have wisdom and insight into how to serve certain people because simply put, you’ve been there. So, Who can you relate to? What have you been through that you hope others won’t have to? How can you use the things that have hurt you to help others? Maybe you have a heart for people of a particular race or culture. Maybe the people you wish to help all have the same kinds of struggles or are in a similar season in life. Your sweet spot will be a place of impact, a place of healing, a place that benefits others as well as yourself.

Now it’s your turn, finish these sentences:-

  1. I’m a tad jealous of…
  2. My perfect day looks like…
  3. I am energised by…
  4. I lean into conversations about…
  5. I empathise most with people who…

From here, you are well on your way to figuring out what you want to put out into the world, how you will go about doing it and who it will help the most. Sweet as honey, delicious as pie!

Great News! You too can become a LOVE-Mail subscriber and receive inspirational words and writing prompts like these on the regular. That’s right, my monthly newsletter is jam-packed full of lots to think about. Sign up today and receive my FREE beautifully illustrated digital chapbook, ‘Never Far’, poetry about peace.

Categories
Poetry

Tattoo inspiration: 10 meaningful poetry verses.

Tattoo’s have long been used as a way for people to express themselves. They can speak of our personal narrative and help us to identify each other. They are used to remind ourselves and others of our cultural or spiritual traditions and values.

However, sometimes it is hard to find exactly the right words. Finding a verse that is appropriate and void of cliche is not easy. Need tattoo inspiration? Here are 10 suggestions that are simple, poetic and meaningful.

  1. Forgiveness is the fairest of them all.

There is nothing more liberating than forgiveness. This verse celebrates the beauty and strength found in the lives of those who take the steps to emancipate themselves through forgiveness. It is a statement that cements what is valued above all else – personal freedom.

2. Not a day is wasted when love is at work.

This verse is for those who truly believe that love is the answer. Forget ticking off a ‘to do’ list or achieving world domination, loving others is where it’s at. Spending our days (our lives) with love as the focus, is the only way to abundant living. If you believe it, these 10 little words are for you.

3. All the wild is yours.

These words remind us that adventure awaits. If you believe the earth is a bounty of discovery and the wild is not to be feared this little verse will suit you perfectly.

4. Something magnificent is going on.

Here are 5 buoyant words for those who love to be positive. A reminder to always be on the lookout for wonder and to believe in the bigger picture, it is a celebration of trust, beauty and goodness.

5. The storm is a drumroll for the sunshine.

Though the tempest rage and all seems lost, the thunder is nothing more than an announcement that ‘better days are coming’. It is a stanza of hope that again you will feel the warmth of love and experience the brightness of joy.

6. Pain is the hand that holds the lantern.

Pain illuminates. This verse is a great reminder that pain shines a light on all that is true. It is a hopeful sentence that emphasizes the good found in difficult times.

7. Tears are the prelude.

Tears not only mark the end but also the beginning of beautiful new seasons. They are water for unseen seed within our hearts. These 4 powerful words are a reminder that we fall only to rise up stronger.

8. I cannot hold what wants to run. What is mine is free to come.

This micro poem is a statement of confidence and trust. For those who do not believe in forcing anything, but instead allow all that is true to find its way to you, these words say it perfectly.

9. Surrender is the only way I know how to be strong.

Surrender, releasing control, and letting life flow is an act of courage and a sign of strength. These words are a statement of freedom and faith.

10. Love is always up to something.

Love is the last one standing! If you believe that love can heal the past, change the present, and shape the future then this tattoo design is for you. An acknowledgement of the power and possibility found in letting love take over, these words are perfect for the one who is ready to surrender everything to love.

All these verses are taken from my first poetry collection, ‘The Remains of Burning’. Available worldwide from all good book stores.

Categories
Journaling life lessons

Why you should absolutely journal your dreams.

On the night of the 10th of January, as I laid my head on my pillow, I thought about a family predicament. Once again, we had to move. 

Finding a rental in a certain high school catchment area is really tricky. Good houses don’t come up often and when they do, they can be pretty pricey. I was worried, yet also watchful. Past experience told me that the most unexpected things can happen at the last minute – in a good way. One moment I think we’ll have to bunk in with my parents, or live in a caravan park, and the next, a house is offered to us. 

That night as I slept, I dreamt. (I dream a lot, well at least two or three times a week.) In my dream I saw a math equation, 25+13=38. Random? Yes, but as I woke I got the impression that it had something to do with our next house. I told my husband. He didn’t make a big deal of it. After all, it was ‘just a dream’. 

A month passed to the exact day, and well, you guessed it. We are moving to number 38. 

Some of you are not shocked. This kind of thing happens to you too. Like me, your dreams come true. Others of you think it’s a coincidence, but what are the odds really? Maybe you wish this would happen to you. Maybe you would like a few dreams to hold onto.

In November 2019, I had another dream. In it I saw things being delivered to my door. Packages wrapped in brown paper were piled high on the front patio. When I woke I wrote it down. The dream was so vivid, I had a feeling it might mean something. 

The following January, Covid 19 hit Australia. In February my husband (the main breadwinner) lost his job, and by March we were experiencing our first lockdown. Like many others, things looked dire for us.  

Slowly, objects started to turn up on the doorstep. First, a box of chocolates. Next, a stack of books. Thirdly, bread and milk, followed by an expensive designer jacket, a dyson vacuum cleaner, toilet paper, wine and cheese. We were literally living my dream. 

With the help of many earth angels (kind people) both known and unknown, we scraped through; we found our knees and then our feet, but it was my dream that helped to ease the tension. 

Why you should absolutely journal your dreams
journal your dreams

Dreams have long been associated with insight, solving problems, creativity and finding clarity. (Did you know author Stephanie Myer first dreamt the premise for her uncommonly successful novel ‘Twilight’.) I don’t know how it works. Some say it’s physiological, others deem it to be spiritual. Personally I think it’s a bit of both. Likewise, I don’t know how the telly works, but I use it, I believe in it. And I believe average Joe Blows’ and Plain Janes’ like me can be comforted and directed by dreams.

For this reason, journaling dreams is powerful. We gain a new perspective around issues that concern us and can become more in tune and at peace. Recording dreams can assist us to make decisions and explore meaning.

When I journal my dreams, firstly I write down what happened in the dream. Next, I identify how I felt in the dream and whether those feelings linger after I wake. It’s important to record even the smallest detail because those seemingly irrelevant things may add layers of meaning to the dream. For example, I once dreamt about a tree bursting with pink flowers. I had the same dream three nights in a row. I got the impression that the colour of the flowers represented ‘love/relationship’. Without this small detail of colour, the dream’s meaning would be lost. 

Dreams don’t have to be profound; mundane dreams can reveal more than we first assume. And of course, there are dreams that do mean nothing. I have dreamt about things that haven’t come true. Not all dreams become evident in real life.

And so, I encourage you to write down rather than right off your dreams. You could be onto something.

Categories
Therapeutic Writing Prompts News Publishing

A Therapeutic Journal: Writing prompts to process pain and loss.

Some books need companion journals. ‘The Remains of Burning, words for when what you thought would never happen, happens’, is such a book. Released on the first of October 2020, with the intent of validating the disqualified and consolidating the grieved, it is an offering of words for those pained by lost dreams and relationships. 

And now, to complement this work, a therapeutic writing journal! The purpose of this journal is to not only help readers process physiological and emotional pain, but also to encourage individuals to write the only words that can heal the deepest places within – their own.

What we say about ourselves matters. Therapeutic writing illuminates how we truly feel. It is a way to first explore our thoughts and emotions, and secondly, to find a new language, a new way of identifying who we are. 

Writing to heal is a transformative practice. The page is a place for you; a place to work through ideas, to gain a better understanding of your experience and heal. It is astonishing how dropping negative emotion onto the page can give relief, build self awareness and stimulate growth. 

‘The Remains of Burning Therapeutic Journal’ confronts pain. Through poetry and a series of writing prompts, readers are given permission to write and reframe their personal narrative. They are encouraged to look at events from multiple angles and to recognise their power.

Like the poetry book, this journal is sectioned into three. First, ‘the snatch of flame’ – the shaking, the breaking, the burnout, the death of a dream, the loss of a loved one, the line between before and after. Readers reflect on poetry about loss and are asked to do the brave work of attempting to write what can obviously not be put into words. 

Section two is called ‘the cooling of coals’. It addresses the moments – years after the initial shock of events. Poetry tackles themes such as loneliness, truth, reinvention and letting go. 

And lastly, ‘the value of ashes.’ With courage grief folds into gratefulness. Readers are encouraged to dream again, to think about how they can use their pain to help others and to find joy.

My hope for this journal is that you will discover that you are not alone and all the ways you have grown. Available Soon from Amazon and all good bookstores. 

To keep up with all I am creating and learning, join my LOVE-Mail list. I’ve got so much to share with you.

Categories
life lessons Books

Thoughts on Thankfulness.

The pandemic has changed a lot, namely, me. Two days ago I went to sleep thinking how lucky I was to cook dinner every night for my family. Prior to 2020 it was a task I complained about a lot. Now it seems this chore has turned into something I feel privileged to do. That’s the thing about thankfulness, it turns inconvenience into honour. And so to celebrate thankfulness, I thought I’d share  6 of my most favourite quotes about thankfulness. I hope these words inspire you to see what you have and say thank you to those you really appreciate. 

Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.

Albert Schweitzer.

I wanted to share this quote first because most of us can relate to having been stuck in a place where our inner light, our spark, our zest for living has seemingly vanished. Certain ones, friends, family maybe, nurtured us, sat with us in the pit of our despair, tried to understand and did not judge our pain as merely melancholy. They stood when many sat down on their hands and did nothing. They validated our hurt and told us we weren’t crazy for feeling. They passed on light and rekindled our own. I am thankful for the ones who remained when my flame was snatched, and sat with me  among cooling coals until I saw the value of ashes and my sparked again.

Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.

Marcus Aurelius

Wise words if there were any! Think of one thing you have. Think of what it would be like not to have it. Many of us immediately feel a sense of reverence, humility even and can do nothing more but whisper or shout a heartfelt ‘Thank you’ to the sky. When I am awake to the beauty and abundance around me, wanting turns to thanking every time. This is how I feel when I’m near the ocean. Its expanse somehow makes me see how privileged I am to be alive, to be here.

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.

 L. M. Montgomery

Beautiful words from an illustrious writer. This quote makes me breathe deeply and exhale with a dreamy sign. The natural world is so beautiful and being thankful for the wonder and awe of seasons, landscapes, seaways, and all the weird and wild expressions of nature, makes life so much more enjoyable. Not only does thankfulness for the earth make life more pleasant, it also compels us to want to care and preserve the part of the world in which we live. Our native flora and fauna need us to care and care is created through thankfulness.

The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.

William Blake

A poet never lies and William Blake is no exception. A grateful heart knows no poverty. Thankfulness allows us to see what we receive as a harvest. There are no small wins, no tiny miracles, no little offerings. There is only ever a reaping. Imagine if everyone on earth had the perception that there was no such thing as a morsel; there was only plenty. Greed would not exist and every heart would be joyous. 

Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.

Thomas Goodwin

In this quote, Goodwin states that when we receive things that are ‘won with prayer’ meaning what we can not gain by our good efforts or buy for ourselves, it is as sweet as anything received with thankfulness. Being grateful brings a kind of relief, an ease, a sense of peace. Most of the time, when I think I need more things, really all I need is more thankfulness.

Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.

Harry A. Ironside

Thankful people are happy people. They are resourceful, hopeful and creative. I  love this quote because it doesn’t just talk of the disease, it also offers the cure. If you are discontent, thankfulness is your ‘get out of jail free card’. Start with being truly attentive to all the ways goodness turns up in your life, be thankful and watch disgruntlement slip out the side door of your soul. 

Categories
Books life lessons

Inspirational John O’Donohue quotes.

I received ‘Walking in Wonder’ by John O’Donohue for my birthday. Krista Tippett proclaims in the foreword, ‘This book that you now hold in your hands is a treasure.’ and I concur. Reading this book felt like finding a fifty dollar bill in the pocket of an old coat; unexpected delight followed by a lucky feeling.

The book is split into 9 Chapters. Each chapter is filled with deep thought, quotes from John’s teachers and conrads, and poetry, delicious John O’Donohue poetry that is seasoned with wisdom like a salty Michelin star tenderloin. Let me share some of John’s inspired words from this work with you.

You can actually go back into yourself to great things that have happened to you and enjoy them and allow them to shelter and bless you again… it’s sad when people don’t use their good memories and revisit again and again the harvest of memory that is within them and live out of the riches of that harvest rather than the poverty of woundedness.

John O’Donohue.

Instead of recalling past moments that were truly sublime, I am often sidetracked by disappointments. And so, after reading the above quote, I indulged myself. I closed my eyes, tilted my head back and remembered. And guess what happened? Joy and amazement right there in my living room. I found a pen and started writing my memories down. I could not help but say aloud to myself, ‘Wait, did that really happen?’ ‘I never dreamt that I would be there, doing that, with them.’

It is true and undeniably beautiful how good memories can make one feel like the richest person alive.

I think that we are infinitely greater than our minds and we are infinitely more than our images of ourselves.

John O’Donohue

Greater than our minds? More than our images of ourselves? Of course we are. There is so much we do not know about everything, so how can it be that we know everything about ourselves. I have a feeling that the purpose of ageing is to uncover more of who we are, to do what we as youths were frightened to dream, to dare to go beyond the images of ourselves that keep us from being fully alive.

The duty of privilege is absolute integrity.

John O’Donohue

I’ve got to tell you, this one stung.  It is my understanding that John is trying to tell his reader that to be true is the responsibility of the free, to waste  liberties on lies and falsities is a great error. Be it pretentious, light-weight living or the martyrdom of people pleasing, the privileged should have no higher goal than authentic living. John’s words encourage me to live deeply.  May we not be wasteful by following misleading voices and misdirected versions of ourselves.

Without integrity there can be no true integration.

John O’Donohue

Again John reminds his readers of the power and necessity of integrity. We can find no real connection without turning up for ourselves and as ourselves. He illustrates how false image stifles relationships and how deep connection with others is dependent on deep connection with ourselves. 

When who we are and who we like to be are the same person, this is the point of great discovery; the place where we can unveil truth after truth after truth.

Time is always full of possibility. It would be a great gift that an old person could give themselves, The gift of recognising the possibilities that are in that time and use their imagination.

John O’Donohue

John teachers ‘old age is a time of great freedom’. Not only do we gain more time for ourselves as we age but we also are freed from many of the concerns we may have had about our lives. The years teach us to let go. 

I like this thought. Ageing isn’t a shame, it’s a glory. The later years are not a time to stop dreaming, but rather a time to revel in the possibilities that have not been available till now. May we rid our minds of the notion that old age is wonderless, profitless, or to be scorned.

If you want to read “Walking in wonder’ you can pick up a copy here. Also Krista Tippett hosts an excellent podcast called ‘on being’ her conversation with John can be found here

Here’s to reading that replenishes. 

Categories
Therapeutic Writing Prompts

20 journaling prompts to gain clarity and move forward.

Feeling stuck? Indecisive? Got a serious case of brain fog going on? Feel like you’ve lost your bearings? Dropped the map? 

Having a lack of clarity and being confused about what to do next can be distressing. If you’re in the very human stare of being doubtful, double minded, blocked, trapped, frozen – connection and reflection can help. Journaling is a way we can reconnect with our inner compass and reflect on why we feel the way we feel. It provides a way to listen to ourselves and uncover the secrets of the heart. 

“Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That’s why it’s so hard.”

David McCullough

When writing for therapeutic purposes, remember honesty is king, non-judgement is queen and all emotion is welcome. Read what you have written, ponder and where possible expand on your answers. Expose your fear and understand that all you’re mining for is ‘the next step’. These prompts are not about making a life plan or figuring out the reason for your existence. They are a tool to help you up, out of the mind mud and on your way.

You can use each prompt at different times or in one long journaling session. Don’t rush. Don’t edit your spelling or grammar. If pain is triggered, and you feel yourself entering a dark place, leave the task for later. Find a quiet, comfy spot and commence.

  1. What is important to you?
  2. When do you feel most energized?
  3. Finish this sentence. If I was really courageous I would……
  4. Visualize the person you desire to be. What three words describe that person? 
  5. What frames your identity? 
  6. When it comes to making decisions, what do you find challenging?
  7. What do you have that you might have underestimated or overlooked?
  8. What do you need to stop doing that would improve your happiness?
  9. Clarity comes when we unclutter our lives. What can you remove from your life that isn’t important?
  10. What are you really good at?
  11. How do you define success?
  12. What are you the most enthusiastic about? If you are not enthusiastic about anything, remember a time when you were, what changed?
  13. What does your ideal day look like?
  14. What could your pain be teaching you?
  15. Imagine peace was a person. What would they say to you? If you were to follow them, where would they lead?
  16. What do you want to learn more about?
  17. When was the last time you felt a sense of accomplishment?
  18. What could you create, make, produce that would help you express yourself.
  19. Pain can paralyse. Write a few sentences and tell your future self what you did/will do with pain so he/she can be strong.
  20. What can you do to show kindness to yourself today?

When clarity is needed, jotting down my thoughts, fears, and frustrations leads me to see what I can do next. I also take wisdom from nature. Growth seems to happen effortlessly for anything with branches or leaves. Often I take a journal and pen outside. This is what nature has shown me about moving forward.

As the creeping fig reaches, she teaches. 
I write down her gentle instruction.
‘Love aligns,
And creativity is the key
to becoming unstuck.’

You can find more journaling prompts on processing your thoughts here or contact me about the unique therapeutic program ‘Write to Rise‘.

Write to Rise

Numerous studies have proven the value of therapeutic writing. Research shows it strengthens mental, emotional, and physical health, by reducing stress, regulating emotions, boosting memory and improving overall wellbeing.

The unique program ‘Write to Rise’ was crafted to assist participants to breakthrough in areas of their lives. Lauren leads individuals/groups through a series of writing exercises aimed to unlock creativity, draw out courage and increase clarity and self-awareness.

Categories
life lessons

There is enough for you. (How to shift a scarcity mindset.)

There is no question, lack is a part of life. We have all experienced times when we have gone without. However, scarcity mindset is when one amplifies lack and creates limitations that do not exist. 

From time to time I struggle with a scarcity mindset. The symptoms are pretty obvious. Firstly, I can be afraid to spend money on myself. I’m the kind of mum who will buy her kids the things they want before I buy myself the things I need. 

Secondly, I have always doubted my ability to earn money. This comes from the thought that I am (a) unworthy to contribute and (b) I downplay my efforts and achievements. 

Thirdly, I often feel like I’m wasting time. Even when I have a super productive or enjoyable day I get a sense that I’ve missed out on something or in some way I am running late for my own life.

And lastly, I don’t like talking about money. 

Thankfully, I have recognised the sneaky way scarcity infiltrates my thoughts and presents itself through my actions/inactions. I have learnt that I can shift my mind from scarcity to abundance, from lack to plenty by intentionally engaging in these three practices.

  1. Don’t downplay what you have. 

Minimising our skills, talents and capabilities often presents as noble or good. In truth, it’s destructive. 

‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson.

In response to Marianne’s words, I asked myself these questions. Do I downplay what I have because I fear criticism, judgement and rejection? Do I think that making myself small will prevent loneliness? Do I deny myself  to avoid a sense of otherness? Does it have to be this way? Could a healthy view of myself and what I have to offer be connective rather than exclusive?

Maybe, the best thing we can do for each other 
is surrender to our own blooming.

When I allow the reality of who I truly am to take hold I sense abundance. At its roots, I believe abundance is manifested through dynamic, purposeful connection rather than personal gain. 

2. Don’t listen to dispiriting talk.

You don’t have to look hard to find dishearted people; those that lack enthusiasm, creativity or energy to do good. Yes life is hard and disappointments are real, however, the way we speak about our circumstances calls attention to hope or hopelessness.

I’m not suggesting we participate in toxic positivity, hide our pain or make light of hurtful experiences. There is a time to laugh and a time to mourn. However, when I tune out the drown of dispiriting talk, scarcity is diminished.

Instead of saying, ‘there is never enough’, I say, ‘things will come to me as I need them.’ Instead of saying, ‘We are not wealthy enough to live there.’ I say, ‘I am grateful for where I live.’ Instead of saying, ‘They don’t think I have what it takes’, I say, ‘I am more than other people’s assumptions, projections and expectations.’

Scarcity loves a good sob story; a list of things that disqualify us, the telling and retelling of times we came to dead ends and closed doors. Abundance bursts everything open; employing gratitude and hope, wonder and curiosity to write meaning into every occurrence. Abundance turns the ordinary into good and the good into great. The more we seek it, the more we see it. The more we speak it, the more we hear it echo in our lives. 

3. Let your heart flower with possibility.

Constantly focusing on limitations instead of possibilities is how people become stuck in their lives. It only serves to create the same old reality from day to day. And soon the days turn into years, and lifetimes.

Anothon St Maarten.

Scarcity mindset is about how we see, not what we own. When I am watchful, when I look for life to surprise me with good things, when I allow my heart to open to the potential within us, when I think of all the wonderful, strange, peculiar, amazing things that have been created in the world throughout history, I feel a sense of excitement for the unexpected good.

I expected them all to bud the same colour, 
but there on one stem a peculiar sight, 
one pink, one white. 
Those sweet lilies reminded me, 
I live in a world of strange happenings, 
unpredictable turnings, 
and there beside the vase 
my heart flowered with possibility. 

Scarcity thinks it knows it all, but  in my experience scarcity is ignorant of the creative force that got this all started. Perceiving what is possible is part of being human, and the only thing that saves us from complete poverty of the soul. If you are like me, and can sometimes be hijacked by thoughts that there is not enough for you, let these words ring for you today. There is enough for you. Don’t down play, Listen to what makes you feel large on the inside and let your heart push up a plantation of possibility within.

Categories
Creativity News Publishing

3 attributes of courage – lessons in following your heart.

Today is book baby’s birthday!!!!

The Remains of Burning’ was published on October 1st 2020, and one year on she is still bringing beautiful people and opportunities into my life. 

Most recently I was part of a give-away with five other authors. The soul that won my book lives in Thailand. We were both ecstatic when ‘ The Remains of Burning’ finally fell into her mailbox. Magic is when the right words find the right reader. She was a gift to me and I, a gift to her.

I could tell you several stories about these kinds of encounters. From Thailand to Jamaica, from Ireland to Canada (Hello beautiful readers from all these beautiful places) my little book baby has spent the last 12 months bringing light. I’ve always felt my call is less about writing popular books, and more about serving the individual. That’s why I write, for the one’s! 

For years I was afraid to write and publish. I had a problem. Cathy Heller says, when we have trouble in our careers, families, finances, or relationships, often it’s simply a courage problem. This means the solution is in stepping up to the plate, being assertive, vulnerable and integral to who we are. 

Courage is the most important component needed to ship creative work. To push my poetry out into the already over-saturated sea of books, I needed to put on my big girl pants, and risk being criticized, misunderstood or worse, ignored. And so, today marks the day I did it, I found my spine, birthed a dream and discovered a few things about courage.

  1. Courage never stops calling.

Just when you find the nerve to do something, another thing demands still more courage. Being courageous is not an event, it’s a lifestyle. As long as we live, courage continues to chant, beckoning us forward, pointing out possibilities. 

First, I needed courage to write badly, then, I needed courage to show my writing to those close to me. Next, I needed courage to spend hours learning how to publish, after that, I need courage to actually publish. Then, I needed courage to market and promote my work,  followed by courage to keep writing. Then, I need courage to publish again, after that, I need courage to invest in a website. Next, I needed courage to start a blog, followed by courage to start a newsletter. And now I have a list as long as my blessed body (I’m not joking) of things I need courage to create and sell. Never satisfied, courage relentlessly wants us to make bold moves.

  1. Courage builds upon itself.

Courage begets courage. One courageous act leads to another. Often we can think courage is about taking one giant leap, but in my experience, courage is the ability to keep on stepping.

‘Courage is nothing more than taking one step more than you think you can.’

Holly Lisle

The more I step, the more courage I have to keep stepping. The more I write, the bolder my words become. The more I try, the more I want to try again. I plan to look back at my thirties and forties and say, ‘I can’t believe I was afraid of that.’

3. Courage creates an expansive life.

Courage has given me many surreal moments; times so amazing and joyous, it feels like they existed in a dream. Last weekend I spent some time writing them down. After I read and re-read the list, I could not help but say aloud to myself, ‘Wait, did that really happen?’ ‘I never dreamt that I would be there, doing that, with them.’

If you want a life better than you ever imagined, wonderful stories to tell your grandchildren, lists of beautiful dreamlike memories, then courage is the way.

I have learnt that I don’t need to be busy to have a big life; I just need to be brave. For me, bravery looks like backing myself, trusting the flow, trying again, being vulnerable, facing rejection, seeming to be a fool, taking risks, and following your heart. Courage starts with affirming ‘I am courageous’ even when I’m shaking in my boots, and ends with no regrets. Courage has always taken me to a spacious place that oddly feels unknown and like home all at once.

So here’s to ‘The Remains of Burning‘ one year on. I birthed a book baby and book baby birthed courage in me.

image of a poetry book
The Remains of Burning.
Categories
Poetry

3 lessons from nature.

OK, I’ll say it. I’m grateful but tired. I’m tired of the lockdown life. I’m tired of not having space to focus, of  increased domestic chores, of scrambling for ideas to keep my children busy, and  sorting disputes between siblings. I’m tired of being a teacher, maid, therapist, and playmate all at once. I’m tired of giving. 

One might think all I need is for someone to check in, however, I have many friends that have done that. What I need, I can’t get from others; I can’t give to myself. I need something deeply replenishing; poetry, but not the kind that can be spoken or written down. I need time alone in nature.

Science has proven that the natural world has extreme positive effects upon the human body and mind. Even viewing scenes of nature increases pleasant feelings. Not only does nature make us feel better emotionally, it also has a profound effect on our physical bodies, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension.

Nature soothes, restores, teaches and inspires. I have found wisdom and wonder in observing trees, flowers, birds, rivers, stars, spiders, the seasons and sunset after sunset. (Heck, I wrote a whole book about it). Here are 3 of the many lessons nature has taught me. 

  1. Imperfections are beautiful.

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, they’re still beautiful

Alice Walker

When I am in nature my ‘flaws’ don’t feel like ‘flaws’. I see that just like a crooked branch or a seagull with one leg, I am part of a glorious masterpiece that is what it is. I imagine if every tree was symmetrical, every leaf the same size and colour, every river bend the same angle, every star the same weight and distance and think I would rather nature have imperfections. Not only do her imperfections make her more interesting, they make  me comfortable with my own.

  1. What will be, will be.

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

Lao Tzu

I remember when my son wanted to have a night picnic. He grabbed a snack from the pantry and dragged me outside. We laided two large beach towels next to each other and looked up at the sky. I pointed out  the southern cross and the saucepan (two groups of stars every Aussie kid knows) but he wasn’t interested. He was fixed on the moon. After telling me how big and weird and beautiful it was, he went inside. (Apparently night picnics are only good for about fifteen minutes). Alone, I continued to watch the moon. Soon, I noticed what it did to me; how it made me calm.

He is calm
I think it's because 
from way up there
He sees it is all coming together.
Mellow yellow moon.

We don’t need to rush, hustle or stress to be who we are meant to be, or do what we are called to do.

  1. Enjoy the season you are in.

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.

Henry David Thoreau

There is a tree outside my bedroom window. Every autumn it lets its leaves go. Watching it, the beauty, the colour, the transformation is theatre. I enjoy every stage of its conversion. We in the west, break the seasons into four. Although I have a favourite, I enjoy them all. The Japanese do it differently.

‘Seventy Two.’
That’s what he said.
‘There are seventy- two seasons,
in the traditional Japanese calendar.
One.
East wind melts ice.
Two.
Bush warblers start singing.
Three.
Fish emerge from ice.’
As he spoke, I felt my heart tip forward,
waiting to fall.
‘Four.
Rain moistens soil.
Five.
Mist starts to linger.
Six.
Grass sprouts. Trees bud.’
And fall it did.
But not far before words turned into heart wings.
‘Seven.
Hibernating insects surface.
Eight.
First peach blossoms.
Nine.
Caterpillars become butterflies.’
I asked him about September.
‘In which season was I born?’
He asked me for a number.
And when I said ‘eight’ a sweet smile formed on his face.
Forty Three‘.
Dew glistens white on grass.’
I don’t know if it is possible to be in love with time,
But there,
listening to him,
I had never been so astonished by what it does,
or so grateful that things don’t come all at once.

We too, can find joy in every season of life. Whether childhood, the teen years, adulthood or old age, we can take from each stage of life the treasures only found within it.

All poetry featured in this post is from ‘A Strong and Fragile Thing,’ musings in reflection of the wisdom and wonder found in the natural world.

Categories
Poetry

5 poems to lift your spirit.

When it comes to poetry Mary knows best.

‘Poetry is a life cherishing force. For poems are not words after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pocket of the hungry.’ –Mary Oliver.

On many occasions, poetry has caught me off guard.  It starts with  casual scrolling or flipping through a book until my eyes take a punt on a group of words. I should know better by now, poetry is living and one can not simply read it. Poetry wants to look you in the eye while it scoops you out with a spoon. It is both prophetic and nostalgic, painful and comforting, unexpected and timely. Poetry is a marksman, and when the right poem hits the right heart, something is activated. 

Today I want to serve up 5 poems that could possibly do this within you, activate something. Whether it be bread, a blanket or breath you need, lean in, read slowly and receive.

Firstly, for the unconfident, the doubting, the unsure. ‘Variation on a theme by Rilke’ by Denise Levertov.

‘A certain day became a presence to me; there it was, confronting me–a sky, air, light: a being. And before it started to descend from the height of noon, it leaned over and struck my shoulder as if with the flat of a sword, granting me honor and a task. The day’s blow rang out, metallic–or it was I, a bell awakened, and what I heard was my whole self saying and singing what it knew: I can.’ –

For those struggling with times of uncertainty. ‘The way it is’, by William Stafford.

‘There’s a thread you follow. It goes among things that change. But it doesn’t change. People wonder about what you are pursuing. You have to explain about the thread. But it is hard for others to see. While you hold it you can’t get lost. Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die; and you suffer and get old. Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding. You don’t ever let go of the thread.’

For the rejected, disappointed, discouraged. ‘Unwelcome’, by Lauren Lott.

‘Lonely heart unforgotten, take peace and wrap it blanket tight, or use it to cover your ears, so you can not hear those tall stories that tower, and tell you you’ve been left behind. You have not been cast aside, but repositioned, picked out for something rare and meaningful.’

For those seeking permission or creative courage. ‘Breaking Surface’, by Mark Nepo.

‘Let no one keep you from your journey, no rabbi or priest, no mother who wants you to dig for treasures she misplaced, no father who won’t let one life be enough, no lover who measures their worth by what you might give up, no voice that tells you in the night it can’t be done. Let nothing dissuade you from seeing what you see or feeling the winds that make you want to dance alone or go where no one has yet to go. You are the only explorer. Your heart, the unreadable compass. Your soul, the shore of a promise too great to be ignored.’

For those needing hope, healing or forgiveness. ‘Last night as I was sleeping’, by Robert Bly.

‘Last night as I was sleeping, I dreamt – marvelous error!- that a spring was breaking out in my heart. I said: Along which secret aqueduct, Oh water, are you coming to me, water of a new life that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping, I dreamt -marvelous error!- that I had a beehive here inside my heart. And the golden bees were making white combs and sweet honey from my old failures.’

Categories
Poetry

The power of being present.

‘He hates travelling. There is nothing to look at but trees. Its not that this particular journey is boring. He talks about teleportation most days. ‘If I had one superpower, guess what it would be?’

I try not to roll my eyes and sit to speak on his level. ‘You know what superpower is better than teleportation?’

He does not try to stop his eyes from rolling. ‘What?’

‘The ability to really be where you are.’

Of course my ten year old didn’t get it. Zooming forward in time is a lot more exciting than reality. I know he is tuned towards thrill and wonder. He doesn’t understand, so am I’. 

It wasn’t until I reached my late thirties that I discovered the power of being present. You see, I’m a dreamer. I’m the kind who can exit a room without moving a muscle. Comparatively, I also can not tell you how many times I have walked away while another person was mid-sentence, forgetting that I was in conversation. It’s embarrassing. I’ve tried to change, but it’s me.

So how did I, an escape artist, a fairy chaser, a star-gazer, learn how to be here? The script was flipped, my perceived future vandalized, the cathedral in my heart, bombed. I handed the pen to pain and the only way to reef it back out of his hand was to sit and breathe and watch and thank. And that is when I started living.

‘Try not to miss a thing; the orange tipped wing butterfly, the song of the wren, the kiss of spring rain, the parade of the waterhen. Take it all in, no need to fix a thing. Be here, bear witness. Relax and bring it it.’

With no vision, I felt like I was withering away. The story of my future had been told to me over and over and over again for more than 10 years and without that story I didn’t know what to do. Like a child with attachment issues my body and mind revolted. The only way to calm  myself was to focus on the hot tea cup in my hand, or the light on the leaves, or the intricacies of flowers. The practice of being present introduced me to the wonder of being alive. Slowly, I swapped excessive ‘daydreaming’ for ‘day meeting’, wishing for watching, fantasising for focusing on now. Slowly, I discovered my superpower.

‘Maybe we shouldn’t tell them to shoot for the stars, not to wish to be ballerinas or firefighters, astronauts or doctors. Maybe we should tell them to aim for the earth instead. To focus on being green. Healthy and whole; someone who never stops growing. Maybe we should show them how to be in love with being alive.’

Instead of trying to talk my ten year old out of teleportation, I share with him what I notice about where we are.

‘Quick Sonny, look at the sunset. The sky is hot pink tonight.’ 

‘Hey Sonny, can you smell the salt in the air, doesn’t it make you feel good?’

‘How long do you think it would take you to swim to the other side of the lake? It’s massive don’t you think?’

Together we are discovering and rediscovering the joy, amazement and healing found only in the present. Together we are learning how to use our imagination, not to escape reality but to embrace the magic of it even more.

It’s happening everywhere. In the quiet. In moments when each is alone. Forming like dew. Unseen by the eye, yet detected in heart. Be still and allow patterns of light to show you the wonder of it all.’

Categories
News Poetry

A free poetry chapbook for you.

I am continually inspired by what poets do to set flight to their poetry. Rupi Kaur released a one hour special of her sell out stage performance on Amazon Prime, Upile Chisala read and released her collected poems ‘as soft as fire’ on audiobook, Atticus poetry collaborated to create ‘Lost Poet’ wine, Sabina Laura released a beautiful poetry journal ‘a little sunshine and a little rain’ and the phenomenal Morgan Harper Nichols created a shop ‘Garden 24’ full of merch from tea towels to playing cards, as well as a unique ‘storyteller’ app.

From designing digital products to hosting poetry events and retreats. From creating unique membership sights to podcasting performance poetry, there is no doubt, poetry is in a renaissance as poets find a million different ways in which to ship their work out into the world.

After the release of my second inspirational poetry collection, ‘A Strong and Fragile Thing’, I realised I had caught the heart of this poetry renaissance. No longer did I just see a poetry book or two, but a creative business in which poetry is the lifeblood. I identified the next 3 steps I needed to take –  website, blog, newsletter, and in this, the last week of August I can say the website is complete, the blog is off and running and I have sent out my first newsletter. 

But the creativity didn’t stop there.  As a ‘welcome gift’ for newsletter subscribers, I created a free digital chapbook, ‘Never Far’– poetry about peace. It consists of 25 poems that are paired with watercolour illustrations by Kristy Kvills. You can get it by signing up at the bottom of my homepage. Or take a peak at it on instagram.

Dedicated to ‘the sleepless’ the chapbook starts out with a poem listing 8 expressions of peace. Using place, the body, objects, virtues and the senses, the poem illustrates what peace is like. My objective was to give the reader a picture that would trigger a delicious feeling of calm while simultaneously communicating the qualities of peace. For example, the line, ‘A stone castle in a storm’ conveys that peace is more than the absence of chaos; it holds its own even when things are tempestuous.

peace

According  to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, peace is ‘a state of tranquility or quiet’, ‘freedom from civil disturbance’, ‘harmony in personal relationships’. Although these definitions hold true, whilst writing the chapbook I got the sense that there was something missing; something either in the back of my head or deep down in my heart was telling me to look closer. 

Upon a rather vigorous trip down into the burrows of the internet, I found the word ‘Shalom’. I had heard the word before, but had not retained its meaning. ‘Shalom’ is a Hebrew word that not only means peace (as defined above) but also encompasses words like wholeness, completeness, prosperity, harmony and welfare. In short, ‘Shalom’ shows us that peace isn’t just the absence of conflict, but it is a state of being when the body, mind, soul and spirit align.

Sometimes peace escapes us and it seems like all the world’s problems have to be solved before we can get it back. I wanted my work to show that this is a lie. Peace can come in an instant, it is as easy and as hard as surrendering to ultimate reality. Peace is born inside of us, is dependent on honesty and banks on trust. For this reason, I titled the chapbook ‘Never Far’. 

My hope is that readers would use this free digital gift as tool to silence fears, explore shalom and regain peace.

Lauren xx

Categories
Bookish Things

12 bookish gifts every book lover wants.

Shopping for the book lover in your life is easier than ever. Not only can you lavish them with books from their favourite authors or book vouchers from their favourite bookstore, now there are a myriad of bookish gifts to choose from. Here are 12 fun bookish gift ideas every book lover wants.

1. ‘Go away, I’m reading’ mug.

I can’t think of a better combination than books and tea. This ceramic, black and white quote print mug says it all, and is perfect for the book lover who is not only passionate about reading but also loves a delicious herbal drop. Of course, coffee enthusiasts will adore it as well. 

2. ‘So many books. So little time’ face mask.

There was a time when we would not have believed that masks would be part of our everyday attire. However, since 2020 masks have not only become essential but also an object of self expression, much like jewelry and  other accessories. This comfortable mask is a way for a book lover to identify themselves. It is printed with the classic book quote, ‘So many books. So little time’ and is washable, breathable, eco-friendly and conveniently has an adjustable strap. There’s no doubt bookish folk with love this unique bookish gift.

3. ‘My weekend is all booked’ tote bag.

Every book lover needs a bookbag! Whether it is to lug their favourite reads home from the library or to fill up at an annual book fair, this cute creamy oatmeal colored tote with  type design is perfect. It measures approximately 15 x 15, has long handles and is comfortable to carry on the shoulder.

4. ‘Society of obstinate headstrong girls’ cosmetic/travel bag.

Lets face it, there are book lovers and then there are Book Lovers! And then there are JANE AUSTIN BOOK LOVERS!!!! This ‘Society of obstinate headstrong girls’  pouch cosmetic/travel bag is multifunctional, made of high quality canvas material that is durable and water resistant and comes with a sturdy gold zip.

5. Abstract Art Prints.

Most writers have a desk or writing room. This set of 3 unframed abstract prints are  ideal for decorating a study or a writer’s bedroom. Each print is printed on a high-definition modern giclee canvas and  features a line drawn woman reading a book. These simple yet elegant wall pictures are an impressive gift for all bookish types. 

6. ‘Keep calm and read a book’ pillowcase.

All booklovers know that there are two essential things to settling down to read on any given rainy Sunday afternoon; a great book and a comfy spot. This 18 x18 inch ‘Keep calm and read a book’ high quality throw pillow case is both durable and stylish. Why not give it as a gift to a member of your book club or a book lover friend.

7. Flying Book Socks.

Bookish people love anything and everything about reading. Bookish apparel is no exception. Whether its hats, tee shirts, hoodies or socks a true book lover will love the thought of wearing bookish threads from head to toe. These women’s 85% cotton socks, black with coloured flying books, have stretch for all day comfort and reinforced heel and toe for extra wear. Give as a stocking filler at Christmas or surprise your helpful  librarian.

8. Bookish Notebook.

Writers are readers! Whether your bookish friend is only a reader or a reader and a writer, they will love and need notebooks. With a plethora of choices and though many bookish people have their favourites, notebooks are one of the top gifts enjoyed by book lovers. This 6×9 inch ‘Bookish Notebook’ by moon dust books is 120 pages of lined paper within a cute paperback cover. Perfect for creative musings.

9. Book Pendant Necklace.

Jewelry  is most treasured when it exudes meaning. This book pendant necklace will make your book lover feel seen and known. Complete  with a 17 inch chain, it is an inspirational piece crafted from high polished stainless steel. It is hypoallergenic, long lasting and packaged in a high quality velvet jewelry pouch, ready for giving.

10. Bookish pencils.

‘Book Geek’ is one of my favourite places to scroll and shop. They offer unique, quirky, and gorgeous bookish gifts for all book geeks! This fun set of six HB pencils with different bookish phrases on each pencil is a delightful gift for your book lovers who are also teachers, writers, librarians or booksellers. Pencil text includes: I Like Big Books,  Just My Type,  Eat, Sleep, Read, Repeat, The First Rule of Book Club,  I Believe in Tea and Books and  The Book Was Better. Cute.

11. ‘Just one more page’ enamel pin.

What is cuter than a hedgehog sitting on a book reading? Nothing! This cute enamel pin by Book Geek is an ideal gift for the girl who is always engrossed in reading. She is the type that gets caught up in story and would rather read than do anything else. Tuck it into a card and surprise her with a random bookish gift sent in the post.

12. Personalised leather bookmark.

Whether they’re inclined to crease the corners, use a napkin, use a piece of string or a ribbon, bookmarks are integral to every book lover’s reading experience. This personalised leather bookmark by Vantler Leather is designed and handmade in Australia. Being 11cm x 2cm it fits up to 20 characters including spacing and will remain a treasured keepsake for years to come.

Categories
Therapeutic Writing Prompts

10 writing prompts to process your thoughts and emotions.

Processing our thoughts and feelings, doing deep work, is important in developing resilience, cultivating a healthy mind  and emotional stamina. Therapeutic writing, also called journal therapy, is expressive writing with therapeutic benefits and has proven to further wellbeing, improve mood and ease painful memory. 

As we express thoughts and feelings in writing, we utilize the rational left hemisphere of the brain. By applying this side, the more creative free-wheeling right side is left to potter about thoughts and play. This enables it to act more creatively, allowing ideas to flow onto the page. The more we write, the freer we become of the emotions we have bottled up and can see things in a clearer context.

writing prompts to process thoughts and emotions.

With this in mind, the following is a list of 10 writing prompts to help you process your thoughts and feelings. But first, a few guidelines. 

Firstly, journal therapy is  a judgement free zone! Don’t judge the emotions you experience; the page is no place to punish yourself for feeling the way you feel.

Secondly, journaling is a way to make sense of experiences and situations. Remember to observe what you write. This means taking notice of the layers of emotions we experience.

And lastly, commit to honesty, write as much from the heart as possible. Nobody is going to read your writing, so hold nothing back from the page.

I hope these writing prompts lead to clarity, calm and self compassion.

1.How are you feeling today? What is the dominant emotion?

 2. Explore the thoughts and experiences that have perpetuated this emotion. 

3. What  effect has this emotion had on your body?

4. Are there any memories you associate with this emotion? Do you recall the last time you felt this way? What were you going through at the time?

5. What behaviours, both positive and negative, result from this emotion? 

6. When you think about letting go of this emotion are there any fears that arise?

7. What strengths, support, and resources do you have access to, that may help you from becoming overwhelmed by this emotion or lessen suffering?

8. Create two lists: one of things that push on negative emotion and cause you suffering. One that brings you joy. What can you do to bring more joy into your life?

9. Is there anything you need to accept, that you have been resisting?

10. How can you use your emotions to work for you? How can they help to bring about increased health and freedom in your life on a soul level?

Write to Rise.

For further therapeutic writing mentorship consider ‘Write to Rise’, a unique program crafted to assist participants to breakthrough in areas of their lives.  I  lead individuals/groups through a series of writing exercises aimed to unlock creativity, draw out courage and increase clarity and self-awareness. For information regarding the program go to my services page.