heart and soul Therapeutic Writing Prompts

Navigating the Loss of Your Former Self: Tips for Healing

This week marks five years since I made the decision to step away from church and end my involvement in church ministry. While the reasons for this are complex and not the focus of this post, I want to say that leaving my denomination was a crucial step for preserving my mental and emotional health. In the process I lost a part of myself, laid my way of life to rest and began the course of grieving my former self.

Recognizing the Grief of Self-Loss

Grieving who you used to be is a unique and often overlooked form of grief. This can be just as painful and confusing as any other type of loss. When I left the church, I left behind a significant part of my identity. That version of me was deeply entwined with my faith community, my roles, and my routines. Losing that meant I had to redefine who I am and what I believe. 

When we lose a part of ourselves, the impact often ripples through various areas of our lives. We face not only a shift in our self-perception but also changes in relationships and our envisioned future. This loss can affect your finances and social life, among other aspects.

Allowing Yourself to Feel

The first step in navigating this kind of grief is allowing yourself to feel it fully. Don’t rush the process or try to ignore your feelings. Give yourself permission to mourn the person you used to be.  For me, this began after I had grieved a significant relationship in my life. It was the grief that came after grief.

It’s okay to miss a former version of yourself and to feel a sense of loss. Acknowledge the impact that past self had on your life and understand that it’s natural to feel a range of emotions, from sadness to anger to confusion.

My past self was more trusting. She had an exuberance based on naivety. I often miss having her perspective.

Journaling Your Experience with a Therapeutic Tool

One effective way to aid in healing is through journaling. Using resources like my book, ‘The Remains of Burning: Therapeutic Journal,’ can provide structured prompts and exercises that guide you in expressing and processing these complex feelings.

Consider writing a letter to your former self as part of this practice. This method allows you to confront feelings directly, provide closure, and articulate your emotions, facilitating deep emotional healing.

Seeking Support

Just because this grief is personal doesn’t mean you have to go through it alone. Seek out support from friends, family, or a professional who can provide a listening ear and a safe space to express your feelings. 

It’s important to note, not everyone will understand how and why you have changed. And to be honest, most will not even care. But finding one safe person who seeks to understand can be incredibly healing.

They don’t need to have all the answers; they just need to be there for you. I am fortunate enough to have a handful of hearts that acknowledge what I’ve been through and how it has changed me.

Reflecting on Your Changes

Write about what you’ve learned, how you’ve changed, and the positive aspects of your former self and what you’ve gained from that part of your life. This can help you appreciate the growth that has come from your loss.

Honour who you were, recognising that that person didn’t have what it takes to survive what they experienced. They did not know what you know now. They needed to morph into ‘you’ to cope with the current terrain. The new version of yourself is the one that will carry you into your future. 

Embracing the New You

This process includes discovering new interests, forging new relationships, and establishing new goals.  If this feels overwhelming, know that I understand. For a considerable time, after losing my former self, everything seemed underwhelming. Healing became my day job. I had to actively seek beauty just to experience emotion that counteracted my jadedness.

With time, I begin to recognise the small but significant opportunities that come with embracing the person I have become.

Finding Purpose

One of the most healing actions you can take is to find new purpose and meaning in your life. Craft a new vision, write it down, run with it.

This doesn’t mean you have to have everything figured out right away, but start exploring what brings you joy and fulfillment. Whether it’s a new hobby, a new career path, or a new community, finding something that gives you a sense of purpose can be incredibly empowering.

I’m the Same but Different.

Here’s a writing exercise that has been particularly helpful for me: In your journal, create two columns. In the first column, list all the traits you miss about your former self. In the second column, describe how these qualities manifest in your life today, perhaps in different forms but still providing value. 

For instance, I used to cherish my sheer passion for life and my unshakeable belief in a bright future. After completing this exercise, I realised these traits now appear as gratitude and a strong sense of being present in my current life. Essentially, I’ve traded the intoxication of future-based pipe dreams for a profound appreciation of my current circumstances and what I have now.

Final Words

No matter how you have changed, the best thing about losing a version of yourself is the opportunity it creates for growth and reinvention. It’s a chance to shed limitations and explore new possibilities that align with who you are now.

There’s no question that the person I am today is braver, less judgmental, less controlling, and more empathetic. True, I may have lost a bit of vigor, and certain places, spaces, and faces don’t resonate as they once did. However, it’s growth, not grievances, that drives these changes—and I think that’s a truly beautiful thing.

Journaling Therapeutic Writing Prompts

Why My New Journaling Method Could Be a Game Changer for You

A Fresh Perspective on Journalling

Journaling has always been a cornerstone of my personal development, and I’m thrilled to share a new method that I believe could revolutionize how we approach this powerful tool. This strategy is not just about reflection; it’s about transforming those reflections into actionable steps that lead to real, tangible change in our lives.

Understanding the Basics of My Journaling Approach

At the heart of my journaling technique is the transition from thought to action. This approach doesn’t just encourage introspection but pushes you to act on the insights you gain. It’s about turning your journal from a repository of thoughts into a catalyst for real-world action, whether that’s in improving relationships, personal growth, or career advancement.

Why This Could Be Your Journaling Breakthrough

Traditional journaling often ends with the reflection itself, but my method breaks that mold by urging you to set actionable goals based on your journal entries. This shift can dramatically increase your engagement with your personal goals and make each journaling session a proactive step towards achieving them.

Real-Life Benefits of Applying My Method

Those who have adopted my journaling method often tell me how it has not only changed the way they write but the way they live. They feel more in control and directed, turning everyday insights into steps towards personal success. It’s not just about writing better; it’s about living better.

Explore at Your Own Pace

I’m passionate about this method and genuinely believe in its potential to positively impact lives. However, the best way to see its value is to try it yourself. Incorporate it into your routine at your own pace and see what changes it brings to both your journaling and your overall well-being.

Your Next Steps

Are you ready to elevate your journaling into a more effective tool for self-improvement? If you’re looking for a way to not only understand your thoughts but also act on them, my new journaling method might just be what you need. 

Pop your name and email in to download the journaling steps that will move you from insight to action.

heart and soul Journaling

Finding Freedom through Surrender Journaling

Surrender journaling is a path offering a unique blend of introspection, release, and transformation.

Unlike traditional journaling, which might focus on the day’s events or future aspirations, surrender journaling invites us to let go, to release what we cannot control, and to find freedom in acceptance.

Today I want to talk to you about my experience with the liberating practice of surrender journaling and outline practical steps to integrate this method into your daily life.

What is Surrender Journaling?

Surrender journaling is a reflective practice that focuses on the art of letting go. 

It is about acknowledging our fears, anxieties, and the facets of life we can’t control, then consciously deciding to release them through the written word.

This method contrasts with conventional journaling by its emphasis on emotional release rather than mere documentation or planning. 

Surrender journaling serves as a gentle reminder that not all burdens are ours to carry and that there’s profound strength in vulnerability and acceptance.

The Power of Letting Go

The act of letting go can be transformative. Surrender journaling taps into this power, aiding in the alleviation of mental burdens and promoting a sense of peace. 

This practice encourages us to confront our inner turmoil, not with the intention to solve it on the spot, but to acknowledge its presence and then set it free. 

This process can lead to decreased stress levels, enhanced mental clarity, and a deeper connection with our inner selves.

Steps to Effective Surrender Journaling

Surrender journaling involves more than just pen and paper. Here are some steps to guide you:

  • Creating a Safe Space: Begin by finding a quiet, comfortable spot where you feel secure and undisturbed. This space should invite openness and reflection, setting the stage for honest introspection.
  • Setting Intentions: Before you start writing, take a moment to set your intentions. Ask yourself what you wish to release or understand better. This focused mindset primes you for a more purposeful journaling experience.
  • Embracing Honesty and Vulnerability: Write freely and without self-judgment. Let your fears, disappointments, and uncertainties flow onto the page. Remember, this journal is a private sanctuary for your thoughts; there’s no need for filters here.
  • Practicing Gratitude and Acceptance: Amidst acknowledging your struggles, make room to note what you’re grateful for. This balance fosters a healthier perspective, recognizing that even in chaos, there are glimmers of hope and joy.
  • Reflecting and Releasing: After writing, spend a few moments in reflection. Some find it helpful to read their entries aloud or to meditate on the words written. Consider closing each session with a small ritual, like taking a deep breath and imagining the weight of your worries lifting off 

Surrender journaling is not a quick fix but a journey towards self-discovery and liberation. It requires commitment, patience, and an open heart.

As you continue to practice, you’ll likely find your relationship with surrender evolving, leading to deeper insights and greater emotional freedom.

Personally, surrender journaling offered me a path to unburden my soul and embrace life’s unpredictable tides with grace and resilience. By committing to this practice, I took significant steps towards emotional well-being. 

Remember, the act of letting go first feels impossible. But in time as you commit to being consistent with this practice you will see and feel the benefits that surrender journaling in all aspects of your life. 

For more posts about journalling click here.

The poem featured in the image of this blog post is from ‘A Strong and Fragile Thing’ musings in reflection of the wisdom and wonder found in the natural world.

Journaling Therapeutic Writing Prompts

23 Journalling Prompts to Uncover Your Hidden Strengths

In the quest to unearth hidden strengths, one of the most powerful tools at our disposal is reflection. If you are seeking to navigate the rich landscapes of your inner world, you’re in the right place.

In this blog post my aim is to inspire you to embark on a journey of self-exploration that promises to unveil the reservoirs of strength lying dormant within you.

At the end of this post you will find a link to twenty three prompts that will help you to tap into your deep knowing and discover the strengths you did not know you possessed.

Unlocking Your Hidden Strengths

“Your strengths are not just the things you’re good at, but also the obstacles you’ve overcome.”  – Oprah Winfrey.

This quote reminds us that our true power often emerges from the crucibles of challenge and adversity. It’s in the moments when we’re tested that we discover the full extent of our resilience, creativity, and tenacity. 

However, the bustle of daily life can sometimes cloud our perception of these internal victories. It’s essential to pause, reflect, and engage in practices that bring these strengths to the forefront of our lives.

The Mirror to Your Soul

Journaling is not merely a practice of recording daily events but a profound exercise in introspection and self-dialogue. It’s a vessel that transports us through the layers of our consciousness, guiding us to revelations about our inherent capabilities. 

When we journal, we engage in a dialogue with our inner self, asking probing questions and uncovering answers that have always been a part of us, waiting for the right moment to emerge.

The Journey of Discovery

Embarking on this journey requires courage, honesty and an open heart, as it’s not just about celebrating our strengths but also confronting our vulnerabilities. It’s in acknowledging our fears, hopes, dreams, and challenges that we begin to see the outlines of our true potential. 

When you write, I encourage you to look for the gold in your failure, mistakes and shortfalls. Rather than dwelling on missteps, look at depths of character, virtues and emotional intelligence and way of thinking. This perspective transforms every misstep into a chance for personal growth, highlighting the inherent strength and adaptability within you.

Your Companion on the Path

To aid you in this journey of self-discovery, I’ve created a special freebie: a guide filled with carefully crafted journaling prompts designed to gently peel back the layers of your consciousness and reveal the hidden strengths within. 

A Gift for you

‘23 Journalling prompts to uncover your hidden strengths,’ is more than just a document; it’s a portal to a new understanding of yourself.  By engaging with these prompts, you’ll not only uncover strengths you were unaware of but also your passions and aversions will become clear.

The First Step to a deeper connection

“Every journey begins with a single step, and the path to discovering your hidden strengths starts with the willingness to explore.” – Lao Tzu.

These prompts are your first step towards a deeper connection with who you are. Don’t rush through them. Spend time reflecting on each one, allowing your thoughts and emotions to flow freely.

This mindful approach will enable you to uncover insights and understandings about yourself that may have been hidden just beneath the surface.

Let these prompts unlock you.  Download them now and discover that you are stronger than you know.

The poem featured in the image in this post if from ‘A Strong and Fragile Thing’, musings in reflection of the wisdom and wonder found in the natural world.

heart and soul Journaling life lessons

Solo Steps: The Power of Personal Breakthrough

In life, every individual encounters moments that are pivotal to personal growth and transformation. These moments, or personal breakthroughs, are akin to reaching a new summit in one’s inner life.

Drawing inspiration from the poem “Because I Am Scaling an Inner Summit,” this blog post delves into the essence of personal breakthroughs and the role of journaling as a tool for personal growth.

Understanding Personal Breakthroughs

A personal breakthrough can be described as a moment of clarity, a sudden insight, or a profound realization that leads to significant personal development.

It’s like a lightbulb moment that illuminates a path previously shrouded in darkness, providing direction and purpose. These breakthroughs often occur during periods of adversity, reflecting the poem’s theme of overcoming internal struggles to reach new heights of self-awareness and understanding.

Journal Prompt:

Reflect on a time when you experienced a personal breakthrough. What were the circumstances leading up to it, and how did it change your perspective or approach to life?

The Role of Journaling in Personal Growth

Journaling is more than just a method of recording daily events; it’s a powerful tool for introspection, self-expression, and mental clarity.

Through the act of writing, we can untangle complex thoughts, explore emotions, and identify patterns in our behavior and thinking that may be hindering our growth.

Journal Prompt:

Write about a recurring thought or feeling you’ve noticed in your journal entries. How does it influence your actions, and what steps can you take to address it?

Embracing the Journey of Self-Discovery

Each breakthrough, whether big or small, is a step forward in understanding oneself and navigating the complexities of life.

Again, the poem “Because I Am Scaling an Inner Summit” encapsulates what the journey feels like for me.

I realized that my capacity had diminished. Simple tasks, such as washing my hair, now required a significant amount of energy. Despite my life appearing calm and manageable on the surface, internally, it felt like I was playing an intense game of “the floor is lava.” I had to spend a substantial portion of my energy navigating my emotions, in pursuit of a personal breakthrough.

Journal Prompt:

Imagine your life as a mountain you’re climbing. What does the summit represent for you, and what obstacles do you need to overcome to reach it?

Nurturing Resilience Through Reflection

Journaling not only facilitates personal growth but also fosters resilience. By documenting your experiences, thoughts, and feelings, you create a personal archive that can serve as a reminder of your strength and adaptability in the face of challenges.

Journal Prompt:

Look back on a difficult period in your life and write about how you navigated through it. What strengths did you discover about yourself, and how can they help you in future challenges?

The Summit Awaits

Personal breakthroughs mark our progress as we scale the inner summits of our minds and spirits. Journaling, as a companion on this journey, provides a space for reflection, learning, and preparation for the next climb. 

Take your solo steps with courage and conviction, knowing that some things can only be won by one. That’s you. You are the one that must climb to the summit.

Your breakthrough may be just around the corner.

The poem featured in this post id from the collection ‘The Remains of Burning’. Available from bookstores worldwide.

For more journal prompts click here

Journaling Therapeutic Writing Prompts

Exploring the Struggle to Articulate Inner Turmoil.

As hard as it is to admit it, sometimes words fail. 

The inability to effectively communicate the depth of emotion we feel or truly recount what we have been through with its layers of complexity and multiple subplots can be disheartening. 

How do we speak of the death of a loved one, the journey of fighting cancer, or the pain of abuse? We find ourselves on an ineffable path, grappling with the challenge of expressing our inner turmoil. 

The Weight of what cannot be said: 

Unspoken experiences can  weigh upon our hearts and minds. It’s not that we lack the desire to talk (although at times, talking may be undesirable), but rather the challenge of  expressing the inner turmoil we face. Speaking about our struggles can sometimes heighten stress, anxiety, and a feeling of isolation. There is a fear of being misunderstood, particularly when we ourselves are unsure of how we feel. 

The Limitations of Language: 

Often what we have been through defies easy categorization in which words can encapsulate. The nuanced and intricate nature of our internal struggles hinder effective communication. Words prove to be too weak, shallow and inexact. 

For me, experiencing this conundrum (not having the words) was extremely perplexing. Words are boxes, with neat bows. Words are anchors and ladders and doors. Without them there is no way to organise my thoughts, no way to get from a to b, no way to release the myriad of things that crowd my mind. 

Consequently, I developed an intense thirst for them—an insatiable desire for poetry, analogy, and metaphor. I wanted to unearth a means of expressing the seemingly inexpressible.

Exploring Expression: 

Led by my inner turmoil I took up pen and paper like my life depended on it (because actually to me it felt  like it did.) Instead of trying to find the right words (because I came to the conclusion that it was in fact impossible) I settled for first noting down the story as I experienced it. I then played with different points of view. I asked myself, ‘how would someone who understood exactly what I experienced and how I felt about it tell the story?’

This practice allowed me to gather the intricate details—those seemingly insignificant wounds that intertwined with larger pains—that hindered my self-expression. Throughout several years, I filled numerous pages, slowly uncovering the sources of my anguish and uncovering the words that came closest to conveying my unique journey.

This practice, although sometimes disordered and chaotic, is called restorative writing or journal therapy. 

Embracing the Mystery and Complexity:

Despite finding therapeutic relief through journaling, there are certain facets of my distress that elude precise articulation, and they may continue to do so indefinitely. This

This is both a humbling and liberating realisation that enables me to accept the limitations of language, while simultaneously granting me the freedom to embrace the  indescribable nature of my experiences.

Mystery is often overlooked. However it  allows us to cultivate a humble recognition of our limited knowledge, and to remain open to the vast possibilities that lie beyond what we understand.  It is through embracing mystery that I am able to release myself from the unending quest of finding the right words.

If you can relate to the struggle of being unable to articulate inner turmoil, know you’re not alone. Acknowledging the weight of unspoken emotions and the limitations of language is a good place to start. 

After that, you may find it helpful to bravely pick up a pen and write your own story over and over until you feel some kind of release and an ability to embrace the mystery and complexity of what you are experiencing. 

For those who feel they may benefit from some assistance, a writing tool to help process pain and loss, you can grab ‘The Remains of Burning Therapeutic Journal’ here. It includes a series of reflective writing prompts to help readers navigate suffering. The prompts within firstly focus on expressing painful emotion (finding the words) and slowly nudge the reader towards new hope.

Well wishes to you my friend as you go where no one has gone before – into the depths of who you are.

Poetry Book
heart and soul Journaling

3 ways deep writing helps to mother teens.

I’m a mum. Those of you who are mothers know what that really means. My kids are teenagers now. Again, those of you who are parenting teens understand what I really just wrote. For those of you who don’t, I’d explain but I can’t  do the impossible. There are some things you know not to even try.

Nothing and Noone could prepare me for mothering teens. No matter how many times other mums said things like ‘it’s a rollercoaster’ or ‘get ready for the ride of your life’ or ‘don’t get whiplash’ still I could not  understand the emotional white-knuckling that was ahead of me.

I have smart kids. They all do well in school. They all know an idiot when they see one and know not to follow. However, they are also doing what all teens are meant to do – need mum less. Gone are the nights when we all naturally gravitate together, now they choose snapping friends over sharing family time. They make their own plans and express their own minds. They are creating their own lives. 

This means things around here are clunky. Schedules clash and expectations crash on the regular. The opportunity to be overwhelmed presents itself daily. Choosing my battles makes its way onto my ‘to do’ list multiple times a week. Collecting plates, cups and bowls from random places throughout the house is a sport (how does one eat and shower at the same time?) Navigating technology and their unquenchable thirst for it is a grief unique to modern motherhood that I must learn to process. Writing deeply is more important than ever.

‘Deep writing is the retrieval from regular life or sense of self beyond motherhood. It’s a way to reach into and explore all that we cannot explain.”

Beth Kempton

Here are 3 ways deep writing assists me in motherhood. 

Deep writing aids deep rest.

Caring for the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of another human is deep work. Resting well is the only way I can do it. According to professionals, there are seven kinds of rest: physical, mental, social, spiritual, sensory, emotional and creative rest. Writing for restorative purposes is a way to access five of these kinds of rest by quieting the mind, finding purpose, escaping sensory overload, expressing authentic emotion and taking time to appreciate beauty in any form. 

This is how I do it. 

Find a teen free moment. 

Pop in air pods and play relaxing instrumental music.

Inhale for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4 (do this until you feel ready to write).

Write the words you need to read. Write the words that allow you to lay down all that weighs heavy upon you (burdens, worries and concerns) Write the words you wish someone would say to you. Write to nourish your soul. 

Deep writing is a way to practise self compassion.

Like most mums, if I do not process feelings of being misunderstood, unappreciated and undervalued in a healthy, calm way, I’ll end up taking it out on my family.  Deep writing is a self-care practice that allows me to acknowledge and celebrate all I have done for my family that may go unrecognised. Instead of being tortured by Mothers guilt (it’s a thing), I take it to the page.

This is how I do it.

Find a teen free moment.

Write about specific real life mama wins. (For example, I looked my teen in the eye and listened to him chatter on about random video game things at the most inconvenient moment.) 

Write about specific real life mama misses. (For example, I told my teen to ‘piss off and stop being so annoying’) 

Write down what you can do to turn misses into wins by extending grace and compassion to both you and your teen.

Deep writing helps me to process heavy emotions, navigate conflict and find wisdom.

Anyone with teens knows that things can be complicated. There are times when little things rock them and big things don’t (go figure). There are conversations that lead nowhere and actions that are sometimes misinterpreted. However much we don’t like it, there IS a generation gap. My kids think and say and do things differently to how I thought and said and did them at their age. Deep writing helps to clarify what should be simple but often isn’t. It aids me to look under the surface and find the questions I need to ask them rather than telling them how it is or should be. On the page I can dump personal attacks done in teenage angst and process hurt that I really don’t want to haul back. 

This is how I do it.

Find a teen free moment.

Write down what you are feeling (anger, sadness, frustration).

Write down why you feel this way (what happened).

Write down how you will choose to react based on the outcome you want.

Write down how you can help your teen move through heavy emotions and feel supported. 

If you are afraid your teen will read what you have written, dispose of the contents of your journal carefully after writing. Writing about your experience for your health and wellbeing is important, however be mindful and protective of young eyes and hearts. If you are interested in more writing tips to help you parent well and champion your child, book a ‘Write to Rise’ session with me. I’d love to support you as you parent your child or teen. 

heart and soul Journaling Therapeutic Writing Prompts

7 journal prompts to nurture your inner wild.

First, let me explain what I mean when I say ‘inner wild’. Simply, it’s that part of us that dares, that plays, that dreams and knows we were born to be free. Because life is life, our inner wild can fall by the wasteside and we can lose touch with what makes us feel alive. A ‘wilderness experience’ can wake  us up to how we have settled. We can see that just because life is good doesn’t necessarily mean we are free. 

In my life, I can look back on my late twenties and thirties and see that there were about 12 years that all looked the same. Every year, a carbon copy. You’ve heard of Groundhog Day; well, these were my Groundhog Years. Yes, I had small children at the time so there wasn’t much spontaneity going on. Lord knows when a child is in a routine so is a new mother. However, it was more than being a young mum that made these years tedious. I neglected myself; swapped my dreams for someone else’s expectations. It was only when I couldn’t fulfil those expectations that I saw how my inner wild had been tamed.

To experience the best of life, our inner wild must be nurtured. The following 7 journal prompts were created to call attention to your wild side and help you remember who you are.

journal prompts

When was the last time you felt really alive? What were you doing?

Here, try to write about an experience that wasn’t so ‘once in a lifetime’. For example that time you went rock climbing or jumped out of a plane. Look at your everyday life and identify what  things you incorporate in your week that make you feel like you’re being true to you. 

What did you do for fun as a child?

Most kids don’t ask for permission to be themselves. They move toward curiosities without a sense of self consciousness. Remembering how we played and exploring what brought us joy in childhood can re-wild us. 

Where do you want to explore?

Don’t be intimidated by the word explore. If you are like me, then the word conjures up images of fleets of sailing ships, or some overly courageous soul cave diving. To explore is simply to engage in a journey for purposes of discovery. It can be as close as your local second hand book store or as far as the ends of the earth.  Where you long to go tells a lot about who you are and what is important to you.

What thoughts and feelings arise when you read the words ‘adventure’, ‘possibility’, ‘discovery’?

If someone was to say, ‘let’s go on an adventure’, what kind of adventure do you hope they are talking about? What possibilities do you hope are available to you? What would be an absolute dream discovery? If you’re introverted, you’re probably content with a solitary adventure. Write into the above prompt with your personality and temperament in mind.

Write about your wild side. What makes you unique, daring and edgy?

You may be thinking that you don’t have an ‘edge’. Well, that’s simply untrue. Your edge is being you. Many people tell me that they would not be brave enough to write or speak in front of others. For me, it’s like taking a shower. No biggy. I don’t care if what I say or write is cringe. I don’t mind appearing a fool. This is my edge. You’ve got an ‘edge’ too.

What images come to mind when you think about the words, ‘wild new ways’? 

Maybe you see yourself navigating a new city, changing jobs, starting a family, leaving home, ending a relationship, starting a business, engaging in further education, or simply stopping, being still when you have been running all your life. Write about what you see and what is calling to you. 

The word ‘wild’ is often paired with the word ‘free’. Is there any part of your life in which you do not feel free?

Firstly, it’s important to know that freedom is an ‘inside thing’. Negative thoughts and emotions can act as anchors and hold us down. Write about the feelings and thoughts you wish to be free of and the feelings and thoughts that will replace them. To do this you will need to take a good look at the narratives you tell yourself. Using this prompt requires bravery. It is hard to look at truths. However, I suggest you don’t skip it because it can really benefit you.

For more monthly prompts like these subscribe to my newsletter.

Restorative writing
Books Journaling Therapeutic Writing Prompts

A guided journal for navigating wild new ways.

The process is becoming a little easier, which is not to say that it is easy.  This latest creation required a willingness to write with more vulnerability than I did in my previous books, but hey, ageing is for becoming more courageous right?

That’s what I think readers want – courageous writing. Poetry that isn’t protective or coercive. Language that breathes and beats its fist on your chest. Authentic writing, void of the highlight reel; because we all know there is no way to speak ‘nicely’ when your mid metamorphoses. 

Metamorphoses let’s talk about that word.  According to the word hippo app on my phone (one of my many writing tools) it can be defined as ‘a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one.’ In my experience this process cannot take place on familiar territory. One needs a cocoon of sorts, somewhere away from the patterns of old. 

We may think that a cocoon is always a small, protected hide away. However, I have come to see that living through a wilderness experience is a kind of cocoon. Simply, it is a space where familiar ways don’t work and to survive you must surrender to your undoing. 

Nobody volunteers for such a task. The unravelling of life is something no one asks for. Change happens and sometimes we can’t help it. How do we unknow what has been made known to us? How do we unfeel, unsee, undo experience? Trying to do so would be to miss the point of being here. All we can do is surrender to the lesson and walk on.

Although surrender is the only way to endure the process, tools are handy. ‘Beyond the Safety of Trees’, is a tool. Use it like a spade. Through expressive writing, dig up what lies in your subconscious and explore how your wilderness experience is shaping you; even if you think you’ve walked through it. This guided journal contains 74 wilderness themed poems and 40 writing prompts to help readers navigate seasons of unexpected, and at times, unsettling change. Document your becoming, discover what lives deep in your heart and re-write your story. 

My wilderness came in the form of a story. A page was turned and I found that I had been killed off, written out of a narrative I was mistakenly told I belonged in. This made me question everything, including why I had spent most my life playing a part in my own life instead of holding the pen. Suddenly I could see, ‘Those who hold the pen hold the power’ and that is how I discovered that journaling isn’t just a way to offload negative emotion, but a life altering creative practice that requires us only to show up with honesty and embrace the process. 

And so, if you are found in an unfamiliar place, a desert of lost dreams, an ocean of grief, a hinterland of heartache, a city of uncertainties. It is my intention that the words and writing prompts in this book will bring a sense of empowerment and make you feel seen, understood, and celebrated. 

Guided journal
Guided journal
Dear Wild One, 
On the edge of a new beginning.
It’s time to undress.
For there is not place 
for high shoes and tall hats
where you are going.

You will need to be
light on your feet,
led by your heart,
alert in your gaze.

You must learn to love
not the day,
nor the night.
Both must become meaningless to you-
The moment is your prize.

For the wild wants 
to teach you joy,
independent of dreams fulfilled
free of your certainties,
despite what happened to you.
Guided Journal
heart and soul Journaling 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.