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Archive for October, 2013

I never saw myself as a writer nor did I set out to become an author. Pulling my thoughts together in what has now become a total of five books seems more like a happy accident than a specific goal.

Writing really happened when I began to understand that when I wrote things down, I shifted. Journals became a place to ‘dump’ my hurts and vent my anger; a place where emotions which are sometimes difficult to express verbally could be placed and not judged by others. Recording my ideas has allowed me to expand them.

If your brain works at all like mine, ideas appear in rapid succession and unless written down, disappear. As a result I always have a journal with me to simply capture what is in my head, imbed it on the pages and move on. These are the ideas that spawn my work and also feed my own sense of self-discovery.

In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron writes that “the pages are a pathway to a strong and clear sense of self”. It was her book that started my writer’s journey. One of the exercises within the twelve week program outlined within the book are something called Morning Pages, which Cameron refers to as the primary tool for creative recovery.

What are Morning Pages: three pages of handwritten, stream-of-consciousness writing. Yes I am aware that most of you now write with a computer and I have to share that writing longhand is different. Somehow the physical connection of pen in hand is different than pecking at keys. Stream-of-consciousness means that once you begin writing, you do not stop until all three pages are filled. At first it may be nonsense, like ‘good morning world, I have no idea what I am writing about this morning, blah, blah…’. That’s okay for at a certain point something switches and your hand starts writing things that seemingly come from out of nowhere and now you are in the ‘juicy zone’.

As I began my own writer’s journey, I kept to the habit of morning pages for over a year. Poems emerged, feelings were exposed, truths realized. I came to know me. Because I could record anything, free of the judgment of others, I had a sense of freedom rarely experienced in my outer world. In this type of writing, grammar doesn’t matter nor does punctuation. There is no English teacher staring over your shoulder assessing these things. You write only for yourself.

Morning pages is only one of many writing tools however. I no longer keep my ‘pages’, I am more prone to simply record random thoughts and ideas as they show up in my day. There are no rules in my world although serious journal writers would disagree with me.

Journal B W sketch ORIGINAL SCAN

Writing, if you choose this path, is there to serve you, no one else. Writing for self-discovery is designed to feed your soul, lift your spirit, help you to see yourself through the lens of your inner world rather than through the eyes of others. It is designed for appreciation rather than a place for your self-critic to put you down.

That said, I suggest that if you decide to take up your pen, you begin by recording everything you know about yourself, your gifts, strengths and values. As you place these attributes on the pages of your journal, you create an amazing foundation for moving forward and directing your personal journey.

Thanksgiving Day I picked up a book at a friend’s place and found the following poem by author Dawna Markova, which describes my relationship with writing:

 

Thinking Ourselves Home 

I write to fuse inside with out,

to salve wounds and broken dreams. 

I write to understand the many things no one has told me,

to stroke my moments clean,

to squeeze them into tiny mirror fragments shining with mind light. 

I write to turn my bold to ink, to fertilizer, to sap. 

I write so that my yes can feel, so that my heart can lick,

so that my soul can crawl from its hiding place and

gaze upon a mystery which can be neither solved nor explained.

I write to breathe my spirit live.

 

Final Thoughts

I write to breathe my spirit live. Even though you may not see yourself as a writer, I encourage you to pick up the pen. Do it for YOU, no one else. Do it to serve the journey, not to write a book. Do it to find yourself and to discover who you are today and who you are choosing to become, not to live in the past. Do it to celebrate yourself.

 

Upcoming Events: Living Your Strengths Coaching Circle, Saturday, Novemeber 23rd. For details go to:

http://www.roadsigns.ca/upcoming-retreats-events/coaching-circles-retreat/

 

Until next time…

 

Betty

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On the heels of Meatless Monday, I have decided that every Tuesday also requires a specific theme. In considering what this might be, two SIGNS triggered my choice. First was a conversation with one of my clients who decided that October was going to be gratitude month in her organization and coincidentally, October began on a Tuesday. Secondly, October is the month to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, surely another significant indicator.

So, this is my invitation to all my readers to begin focusing on gratitude and, just in case you don’t make time daily for this, to mark every Tuesday, from this point forward, as the day to acknowledge your gratitudes. From now on think of Tuesday as GratiTuesday (nice play on words, non?)

By the way, introducing gratitude into your life has been shown to have many benefits, not the least of which is to look at life differently and to bring your attention to all the great and good things happening in your life. Having a gratitude practice been shown to increase positivity, improve your sense of well-being and make you more attractive energetically to others. For those of you who are parents, introducing children to a gratitude practice has been shown to improve self-esteem and academic performance. Most importantly, gratitude is FREE!

To help you to get started, I have created an acronym based on GRATITUDE.

G =         Great, finding ways to notice and celebrate all the amazing things happening in your life and around you that you typically fail to notice.

R =          Respect, respecting yourself enough to acknowledge yourself for your accomplishments rather than noticing what you fail to get done; taking opportunities to model respect to others by acknowledging their greatness

A=          Awareness, paying attention to life, seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary, noticing the SIGNS which cross your path every day and which may be passing you by, pausing and wondering what it all means

T=           Truth, telling yourself the truth about who you are, activating your self-coach so as to tune of the inner critic (who does not tell the truth), reminding yourself that you are unique and that every day you make a difference in the life of at least one other person

I=            Intuition, listening to and living from what you know is right for you, embracing your great qualities and strengths and living from that place, allowing your heart to guide your actions while turning down the volume on all of life’s ‘shoulds’

T=           Team/Community, surrounding yourself with your perfect team, those who you love and who love you, those who are your fans and who see you uniqueness and celebrate your contributions

U=          Unconstrained FUN, laughter and joy and sharing this with your family and friends, engaging in activities which light you up!

D=          Daring, engaging in at least one new activity or adventure every month, taking the risk to stretch your pre-conceived notion of who you are and being successful, then celebrating your success.

E=           Environment, taking in random acts of beauty, sunrises and sunsets, the kaleidoscope of fall colors or the pristine whiteness of new snow, a thoughtful letter or complement from a friend or client, noticing that beauty lives in your environment every day.

Gratitude

Putting Gratitude into Practice:
Here’s the plan, if you dare to join me. Each GratiTuesday, post your gratitudes on Facebook, record your gratitudes in a special ‘gratitude journal’ or share your gratitudes with your family just before dinner or while tucking your kids into bed. Make it a weekly practice and have some fun sharing with others. I actually think this is way more exciting than Meatless Monday!

Until next time….

Betty

Upcoming Events:

ME FIRST Retreat: October 19-20th, 2013
Step away from the busyness of your life and re-acquaint yourself with YOU. This two day program is designed to bring you into the present, defining who you are today and who you are choosing to be as you move forward. Details at: http://www.roadsigns.ca/upcoming-retreats-events/

Living Your Strengths: November 23rd, 2013
Using the Lumina Spark Portrait, you will identify your preferred qualities/strengths and learn how to live and leverage your strengths in service of YOU. Details at: http://www.roadsigns.ca/upcoming-retreats-events/

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