Are you interested in making some good, healthy choices for your life but feel stuck in a rut? Often it’s so hard just to start, to take those first steps. We have enough on our minds as adults in the real world; who wants to add more ‘stress’?
Even though committing to healthy choices is something you know will reduce stress, the idea of taking on a new practice can be scarier than anything else.
I suggest using the special magic of summer to overcome such hesitations. You might finally dive headfirst into the wonders of keeping a journal, for instance, even though that New Year’s resolution never amounted to anything so far.
Summer’s somehow easier, happier, calmer than other times of the year. The warmth helps, of course, and the general atmosphere of holidays. Nature bears copious fruit in this season, and so can we.
Here are a few suggestions for starting up a healing journaling practice as summer settles in.
1. During the hottest part of the day, find a cool place where you can sit to write. Spend a few minutes experiencing the relief of the coolness. Thinking about the contrast between where you are and how it feels outside in the heat, begin writing. Write from the free flowing stream of your thoughts for at least five minutes. If your pen pauses, return to the image of cool contrasted with heat and continue.
A vitally important but hard-to-grasp understanding in early journaling is that what you write is infinitely less important than keeping the pen moving. Your challenge is to go beyond thought, so you don’t want to remain slave to your brain. Your writing may become messy and nonsensical. This is perfectly fine.
2. Experiment with writing at different times of the day until you find one that particularly resonates. Do you most readily reach for your journal first thing in the morning, or after the kids have gone off to camp, or during the drowsy siesta hour, or maybe as the night wears on?
Regular journaling creates a new bond between you and your inner self. It becomes the time when you face your own truth most honestly and clearly. Consider the journaling time of day that feels best to you. What is your relationship to that hour and what makes it especially right for your journal writing?
3. Use journaling prompts to keep your writing momentum going, or tap into my 27 Days method of self-discovery journaling. Take liberal advantage of summer’s muses. Vacation travels, nature’s abundance, beach or camping or picnic fun, warmth vs. heat, and dreaming about a life of unbroken leisure are all rich sources and worthy topics.
Remember that your journaling for self-discovery is really not about the content you come up with on the page: it’s about increasing inner wealth and peace. Indulge yourself in all summer’s charms without limit: you’ll find they have much to reveal about You!
Mari L. McCarthy is The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Create Write Now, the Personal Growth Journaling Place. Mari offers counseling and encouragement to journal writers through her many online journaling resources, as well as private consultations. Mari’s teachings and workbooks center around journaling for self-discovery, self-growth, and self-healing. Her most recent publication is Perfect Health: 7 Days Journaling Heal Your Body Challenge. A free chapter is available for download.
Let’s face it, there are just times in our life when it gets and feels all crazy… deadlines at work, children acting up, scary storms knocking out towns (God bless you folks in Moore, Oklahoma)…
When the world is acting like it’s a full moon (whether it is or not), we have to develop certain sanity preserving skills such as:
1. The ability to distance ourselves from unhealthy situations and people.
2. not take anything personal.
3. to be able to just shrug, breathe, and say “f–k it”!
this too shall pass…
7. Take walks, go to yoga class, hop on your bike…
8. Connect with friends on Facebook
9. Have your sweetie hold you tight and cry if you need to…
10. Listen to Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World
And when all else fails and you just need to smile and laugh, watch The Baby Bachelor.
The prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
A peaceful state of mind will lead to less anxiety and restful sleep most nights.
How do we on a consistent basis be in that peaceful state of mind?
I suggest we keep the following in mind:
1. The past is the past. It does not have any power over us unless we allow it to.
2. The future is not yet here. Why sacrifice today by fretting about something that may or (more than likely) may not happen?
3. Find your allies! Surround yourself with positive, supportive people who love and care about you.
4. Have faith in yourself,
5. Have faith in others,
6. Have faith in life,
7. have faith in God.
8. Circumstances and other people can not hurt you if you don’t let them.
9. At the end of the day, say, “I did my best”. Breathe. It is done.
10. In the end, what is truly important? So much of what we permit worry us or upset us if just fluff. Let it go!
Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith. ~ Author Unknown
For a treat, listen to
Time To Say Goodbye Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman.flv
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
May the sun shine for you,
when people or circumstances tempt you to question yourself,
may you look beyond them and not take anything personally today.
It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes. ~ Sally Field
Tonight’s journal writing exercise is a fun one… life’s little pleasures. Not the big stuff (or perhaps the little stuff is the big stuff…), but the little things that truly make life and daily existence worthwhile.
Writing in our journals is a wonderful chance to focus on things we love.
Remember, what we focus on grows.
What we appreciate, appreciates.
Life’s little pleasures is one of those things that just makes it all worthwhile, y’know? I even have a Pinterest Board devoted to life’s little pleasures.
What little things put a smile on your face? Little things that you look forward to? Your guilty little pleasures…? Hmmm? It’s okay. This is a safe place to share.
As always (or most of the time at least), I will start my own entry and then you write too. I invite you all to comment at the end of your post to share a few of your little pleasures. It is fun to share with each other.
Ready to start? I know I am! Let’s see…
1. The sound of the birds singing as I sit here on my back patio writing in the early evening…
2. The smell of my roses interwoven with the honey suckles that are in full bloom right now this wonderful May evening. I am breathing the intoxicating fragrance now as I write this…
3. Going for a walk and saying hello to the friendly neighbors (I live in the South and everybody is so nice and friendly here)!
4. Being out in public and enjoying the babies and toddlers (I remember when my children were that little once and it makes me happy to remember those precious days)
5. Knowing I have a great dinner planned for my family (I love to cook)!
6. My back patio garden.
7. My first cup of coffee in the morning.
8. When we first turn off the light, melting into my husband’s arms and resting my head on “my spot” (his shoulder) that is just right.. and falling asleep…
Your turn, Dear friends. I am not by any means through with my entry. This is a really fun one. Enjoy and remember to share a few little pleasures on your list with all of us by commenting in… don’t be shy now…
Much love and peace to all of you. I am so glad we are sharing a sweet sliver of this life journey together.
When you are tired from the day,
when you feel daily life is getting in the way
of your dreams…
When you want to say “enough is enough”!
or,” I don’t want to play today…”
Today comes anyway, so what is one to do?
I say, say “hey!” to the day,
I’m gonna get out of my own way,
and do what I am meant to do! Umh-huh
“What is that?”, you ask (as if you are absolutely clueless)..
but deep down in there, where the real you resides…
is a knowing.
And you know what to do with this day and the next,
you just have to do it,
forget about the rest (as in the excuses and the “someday” dreams of the mind that wishes and yearns but does not act)…
You are thinking about this, and I know you are…
If not now, when?
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. ~ Ambrose Redmoon
I used to teach these two lovely ladies once a week at 6:30 in the morning. Every week, they would show up like clockwork, them and them alone. My morning class went from that of a general open level setting, to a very friendly, and personal semi-private – to the point we carried our friendship off the mat, and out into the world. Every now and then, when the weather was terrible, or someone had worked too late the night before, I would receive a text that said, “Sorry, Aryn. Today we’ll be practicing sleep yoga.”
Now, they were just letting me know they were going to sleep an extra hour, and they would see me at my next class, but in the realm of yoga – sleep yoga does actually exist. Yoga Nidra is a style of yoga that helps you glide into a sleep like state, by means of guided meditation. By concentrating on our breath, and following the instruction of a Yoga Nidra teacher, Sleep Yoga can helps us, simply, let go of the stress and tensions of every day life.
Benefits of Yoga Nidra include: Improved concentration and focus, a clear mind, and improved performance at work and in other areas of life. According to The National Sleep Foundation it also helps improve menstrual problems, and even helps relieve post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD).
Personally, I love yoga nidra. It is something I do at least once a week to help ensure I am getting the amount of sleep that I need. As the Dalai Lama said, “Sleep is the best meditation.” But remember, sometimes meditation is the best way to get a full nights sleep.
I’m Aryn, a mother of one born in Ohio, living in California. I love ice cream, but I don’t eat it and couldn’t even if I wanted to, and I hate popcorn. I love carnivals and summer, the beach and ocean, I love yoga and to live every moment the best that I can with my family, and I really, really love to write.
You can find Aryn at her wonderful blog Weekly Adventures. Ordinary Girl.
or she is quite active on Twitter at @ArynYoungless
A special note from me to to Aryn:
From the very beginning of my blogging journey (about three years ago now) you have been there. You are someone I can always share things with about my writing, my yoga practice, and life. Thank you for being a guest blogger here at The Warm Milk Journal and
most of all,
thank you for being my friend.
A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world. ~ Leo Buscaglia
I invite you to think about your significant other… focus on how blessed you are that they are in your life.
Then just write what you appreciate about them.
What we appreciate, appreciates!
What we focus on grows!
Who does not want more love in their lives, right? What is more important when it comes right down to it, hmmm…?
Okay, so my journal entry may look like this. I will begin, then you do your own. Deal?
What I love about my husband is:
1. his optimism
2. his kindness
3. his rugged good looks
4. his smile
5. his flexibility
6. his ability to put up with silly me!
I will continue in my private journal so that you may begin your own entry…
*note: if you are not married or in a relationship right now, you can write about the qualities that you appreciate about your ideal partner (in present tense with feeling as if they are in your life now).
Love has no desire but to fulfill itself. To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving. ~ Kahlil Gibran
A rainy evening invites jazz music, red wine, and contemplation…
As the rain falls down, I feel happy about my hard-working day and thankful of the fatigue (from this day) that has lifted,
the relaxing evening with my family that is beginning,
the chicken that is baking in the oven,
the sweet cat that is always at my side,
I am also thankful for my teenaged daughter who is working so hard at school and plotting her future…
My husband who is always close by with his support and love (but gives me my space to write and dream…)
In this moment,
I am thankful to have my health and many exciting things that are opening up to me in the business world…
God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?” ~ William A. Ward
whether it is raining or not where you live… what are you thankful right now? What will be in your bedtime prayers and journal entries tonight?
I think sharing with supportive people is a powerful thing so please feel free to comment in here…
I am thankful for…
Cheers and much love to all of you!