When you think about how to write a book, what comes to mind? A huge insurmountable project? Something that is achievable, if only you knew how? Yeah, it’s easy to write a book? What?
Just take a few moments to think about what it means to you to write a book and how you feel about that question.
If you have been reading my recent blog articles, you’ll know that I recently received a bit of a shock when I was told that I had osteoporosis and a couple of compression fractures. After spending 16 days in bed, with 11 of them without my precious doggies, I started to think about how could I help other people who learn about this to understand how it is manifested and how to sort through the mass of information to make some informed conscious choices.
My core mission is inspiring people to find themselves and have the courage to write a book so that they can encourage others to know what is possible for them. Was the Universe having a laugh with me I wondered? I certainly found a different way to end the book that I am currently editing – Rude Awakenings. It was supposed to have a happy ending… Although I have changed the ending, I do see it as a new beginning, albeit painful right now.
The dietary changes are playing havoc with my system, but hey whats not to love about detoxing and rebalancing your body? Like the book, I’m dealing with my health, one chunk at a time.
As I was journaling it became so apparent to me that I had to write a book. I have a working title which is Osteoporosis and Me. I’ve already fleshed out a few chapters and actually quite excited.
Writing a book may seem a purely creative endeavour, however, to get to the writing bit you have to plan it and to get to the publishing bit you have to edit and do lots of other stuff like book covers and marketing. All of these aspects of getting your book published require that you use your brain in entirely different ways.
The first thing to consider is how to make any ‘task’ easier.
I’m a project person, so I break all of my big projects down into mini projects with milestones. As I get a part done, I can congratulate myself, and I can take myself off to do something else to take me away from the project. This means for me that when I come back, it feels fresh new and exciting.
We naturally chunk information up, down or laterally so that we can make sense of it. Some of us by the nature of how we like to learn, need to have a big picture before tackling the detail, while others hate the big picture and want lots of detail.
This also applies to your ideal reader. When your reader is searching for meaning in your words, they will chunk up, chunk down and chunk laterally.
By chunking up, you can distract the conscious mind and speak directly to the unconscious mind. Your unconscious mind has all of the answers just waiting to be unlocked. If your book is designed to get your reader thinking and to reflect this is a good technique to employ.
The chunks of a book are:-
Here you are looking at creating a detailed outline. An outline by its very nature is a long list of stuff that makes up your book, broken into smaller pieces, with milestones which makes it easier for you to write around them.
Using a chapter framework means that each chapter is subdivided into sections, which guess what makes it easier to write. You will write your first, draft usually in chapter chunks and then leave it before you start on your edit in earnest. Here’s a video here where I talk about one part of that process.
In this chunk, we also create an editing plan which gives us smaller tasks to do. Also in the editing phase as mentioned above, you are looking at how you can chunk your writing (up, down and across) so that you can connect to your reader’s learning style.
Let me leave you with this if you have tried chunking and it is still not producing the right book, or you find yourself procrastinating, check first if this is the right book. If it is, then, consider what else is getting in the way? If it is not the right book, go back to the planning stage and consider what your core message is and who you want to read it and why? There are more questions and if you want to explore, connect with me and let’s chat.
A few mornings ago I missed my journaling. I’d woken in the small hours in pain and thought instead that I would get some water, a cup of white tea and read.
After wrapping my back with castor oil and clambering back into bed, it did cross my mind to write, but the desire to read was greater, and so I succumbed. What would I write anyway? I hate this f***ing pain. It’s not that I felt angry, wearier, I wanted some time away from my thoughts, I wanted to be wrapped in the arms of peace. Soon I was asleep.
After a healthy breakfast and checking my diary, I knew I had time to be with myself and create the space I needed for my first client of the day.
Once I’d spoken with my client, I had a cuppa and a small piece of raw chocolate Srummy Yummy.
To my knowledge most people love chocolate. What’s not to love? My favourite is not Terry’s Chocolate Orange, although I understand why they are so popular and have scoffed a few in my time… Before I moved to the healthy side.
You will have noticed that at Christmas the makers of Chocolate Orange market the product heavily. It is a time when sharing a slice of your life and special moments with your loved ones are on your mind. A time when you might want to indulge in something naughty (chocolate naughty…).
Between Christmas and New Year is when most people decide to change their lives. Spring is another time I think that we do something similar. Today is the start of Chinese New Year and the year of the Earth Dog. I wonder if this is a time when people also set intentions and declutter their lives?
What are your intentions for the coming month or year?
And even like me when you are not feeling quite so chipper. Some of those decisions include leaving a partner or job, maybe doing something outrageous and possibly following long-held dreams.
Take a moment now and consider what are those dreams?
When life is feeling a bit challenging, I think that this is when journaling is immensely helpful. As is taking time out to reflect. I call these chocolate orange days. Days when nourishing your soul becomes your priority. And here is why.
Chocolate in this context is raw chocolate, not the sickly mass produced stuff that is offered up as chocolate. Made from the cacao bean, it is really a nut and as the name implies, is chocolate in its most natural form. Raw chocolate is loaded nutrients just what you need when you are not feeling yourself.
For a chocolate orange day, you need delicious, nutritious food. Which might include raw chocolate and why wouldn’t it? It is a great food to nibble as research shows that chocolate boosts serotonin and gives us that feel good factor.
Orange is a colour that makes me feel good. I love orange; it fills me with warmth, energy, happiness, creativity and communication. Just what you need for a day of journaling and reflection. Orange is also the colour of the sacral chakra and is an important emotional centre. When you think of orange and the sacral, consider how you can open yourself up to nurturing and start to use this intuitive connection with your soul.
Orange also reminds me of autumn and the trees awash with colour just before they let them go. In this sense, you will also be letting things go ready for new growth.
It is a day of reflection, a ‘you’ day and an opportunity to nourish yourself between the pages of your journal and reflect. It is a day to get rid of your rubbish, declutter your life, re-evaluate your strengths and weakness, change your mindset, set a vision and think about how you can walk towards it.
A chocolate orange day describes a day when…
Do you journal? If you do, taking time to read through your journal entries and seeing if you can make sense of the events that have led you to this day is always powerful.
You will, I am sure, notice some patterns.
Right now do a body scan. Look at your environment both internal and external. Do you need a chocolate orange day?
Take time out. Listen to the whispering of your soul.
Take time out for your chocolate orange day enjoy reflecting, delving into memories, embracing your discoveries, and creating the start of your ‘me’ action plan.
If you are standing on a railway track, how do you know that the train is coming? You might feel a vibration, a certain energy and hear a rumbling noise. How long you stand there and wait is your choice. Will you jump off the track in time and avoid being squashed? Or do you wait until the last minute and get away with your life by the skin of your teeth. Or worst of all do you stand and let the train kill you?
The truth is you have probably known for a while and not listened to your soul. Don’t let it be too late for you.
Right now I’m nowhere near the track. I’m listening, and I’m taking the time out. I’m journaling, reflecting and I know it is the right thing to do. I’m journaling so that I can write a book about my osteoporosis journey, or how I intend it to turn out. Which is the reversal and back to full health.
Firstly do not eat a chocolate orange, unless you make it yourself. Or perhaps some delicious gluten-free cake?
Put aside a day where you can nourish your mind, body, soul and spirit without interruption. This means being kind to yourself and doing what feels right. Prepare yourself, find some quiet space, meditate, take a bath or go for a walk. Have a nutritious breakfast and make sure your day’s food is pre-prepared unless preparation is part of what makes you feel good. Have lots of water handy and head off to a beautiful space. The environment in which you reflect will have a significant impact on your ability to connect with your soul.
Once you have rested and given yourself more time to reflect on your writing and reflection cycle take some time out again and then come back to ‘think’ about the relevant action. You have been through realisation, reaction and reflection, and now you are in a position to take appropriate focused action. Strategies can now be formed. You decide how this gets you one step closer towards your vision and you put it into an action plan.
Days like this often help us to understand where our mission in life lies. It’s a time to reflect on that book you have been yearning to write. Books are a fantastic way to reach another and inspire them to become an inspiration to another.
Connect with me if writing a book about your personal story and inspiration is something you want to bring into the world.
It’s a new moon which often disturbs sleeping patterns and mine are well out of whack. Upon waking at 1.30am, I thought about journaling and then decided that perhaps some meditation music might be better. My head was banging, and I just wanted to sleep. I tried but it wasn’t coming so out came the journal, and I started to write.
I’m journaling daily while on this osteoporosis journey as I want to remember all of the detail for when I come to write a book about it. If you are at the start of a life-changing journey, start yours too. I’m currently editing Rude Awakenings, my next book and how I wished I had not burned all of my journals when I left the ex. But I did, and luckily I have blogs and calendar entries to guide me. But why make it hard right?
I’ve decided on an entirely natural approach. The doctor doesn’t know yet because we are at the start of our relationship and I’m in the machine and going for a bone density test next week.
A friend upon hearing my diagnosis talked to me about her mum and what she had done to reverse it. She is very inspiring, and hearing stories like this give me hope.
Although trained in naturopathic nutrition (I do not practice – it’s just for me), I could not do my case study, so I engaged a nutritionist to look at my life and how this might have come about. Another eye. I had my theories, but at a time like this, I think, at least for me, you need someone who is not in your stuff and is not so enmeshed in your life.
She is another incredibly inspiring person. You know the kind that looks adversity in the eye and says here’s some curly kale now eff off… I think that was a pathetic attempt at a nutritional joke.
Yesterday, I got her report back. She kept writing; I know you know this but. I smiled, I might know it, but I’m too caught up in dealing with pain.
It was so enlightening to see my life, my mums and her mum’s lifestyles, as well as my dads reflected in my body. It all makes sense to me because this is what we are taught; to look at the bigger picture.
If only we knew this as we party through life. So much stress in my life has taken its toll on my poor body. I know about stress and emotional rubbish because my journaling has been on the same adventure with me and has helped me survive.
But here is the thing. And I have quite a few friends who are nutritionists. (I’d recommend any of these in a flash if you are interested.) They say when they work with their clients that they always seemed naffed off that they have to work on hydration first.
And that’s what my nutritionist said yesterday. I didn’t protest, despite the fact I drink lots of water already. As she explained that didn’t matter because my cells were not getting hydrated, they couldn’t get the nutrients in. They have been on dehydration alert since birth. That’s pretty scary, right?
I believe that I have this now because of a previously undetected overactive thyroid which I cured with nutrition. And because I drank high calcium water (999ppm) for a year when I injured my rib. I installed a countertop water filter so that I did have to lug water and carried on drinking it. The water filter did not take the calcium out of the water, and I was so focused on thyroid, I did not think. Doh!
I also have it because of this big picture I was talking about. Despite my great diet and exercise I was massively dehydrated at a cellular level – all of my life. All my life.
I consider myself lucky that I got these fractures, which means I am in the system and I am seeking help for something that could have been so much worse.
What I also consider lucky (you may not), is that this has called me to stop and think about my life, about the core of who I am and where I fit in the matrix.
But it is bloody hard detoxing, and rehydrating, my head is banging, I’ve hardly slept, and I am so tired. I want to cry all the time – you know spontaneously leaking eyes. I’m naffed off I can’t walk my dogs or drive my car, carry in the dog food, lug the logs upstairs, get my shopping (though I am blessed for such good friends) and a million and one other things.
Despite this tough old experience, I’m in, I see such positives, and I’m a fighter. I refuse to go into some sausage factory where they give me drugs and send me home. I want my body and my life back.
It’s a new moon today and tomorrow is the Chinese New Year – the year of the Earth Dog. I’m focusing on what I want to manifest and setting good intentions.
New moons as the name suggests are all about new, birthing and starting over. I always look to see what sign the moon is in so that I can glean some more information. This is a great website with the kind of thing that I am talking about. New moon solar eclipse. Read it and pick out something that resonates and yes start journaling. Just let your writing flow.
In this article I was hit with – this represents a turning point. How very apt. So many ways to go, but the turning point is taking control, breathing through, taking good action and allowing everything to flow. I’m planting seeds. What about you?
Same website, different article – the year of the Earth Dog. Similar routine read and reflect, but now consider the bigger picture, your year and how you want this to be. Words that stick out are grounding and finding balance. This thing called osteoporosis is a body out of balance, so this as a focus is perfect. As well as the reference to a gentle fun loving vibe, I’d like some of that.
And what about this? ‘Even if it doesn’t feel like you are doing much, the work laid down in 2018 is going to set you up for many years to come.’
What are the foundations you want to lay? What are the intentions that you would like to set?
As I’ve said before, if you are at the start of a massive awakening this is the time to start journaling and getting your thoughts down ready for your book. We are not given these challenges to keep us small; we get them so that we can learn about who we are and what we have come to Earth to do. We are here to learn, to embrace love and in my case to serve. We are learning to fly so that we can teach others to be inspired to spread their wings too. Write a memoir with a difference, set your intentions and do it.
Despite how unwell I feel, just at this point, please do connect with me if you want to write your book. We’ll have fun sorting the ideas out, planning, writing, editing, publishing and all of the stuff in between.
PS: I left my dogs out as I talk about them so much anyway, but consider how loyal and loving they are. You want some of that too, don’t you?
PPS: I’ve got so much more to share as I write my way into my next book. This is bizarrely exciting.
February 2018 and my focus is firmly on my health and journaling. Without my health I have nothing and without journaling, for me at least there is no clarity.
I’m journaling every day, although yesterday, I couldn’t write, it was a day of letting go and not focusing on this condition that I had been told I have. Osteoporosis doesn’t sound like much, but it is devastating for some. Think about this, your skeleton holds you up, or ‘puts you in good standing’, it is at the core of your existence. Or consider that bone is a matrix, which means womb or mother – the centre of your creation.
What if someone told you that the centre of who you were was not functioning?
I don’t know if everyone looks at things as I do, but I need to know how things work, why things happen, how to change and challenge what is going on and to consider things from many angles. Reading, writing and journaling do this for me.
Right now this is what I am doing. Another me project.
I started with writing some letters to people I needed to communicate with on a soul level. I put pen to paper and didn’t say I want to write to this one or that one, I just started with what emerged from my journaling.
Then I wrote a love letter to me. Then I had a brainwave. For that read a not so clever idea right now…
Love letters to me seemed like a good idea until I had to sit and think about writing them all. At first, there was one for the full moon, and then I thought, what if I wrote one for every day of February. I soon realised that although I am forever grateful for my amazing journey into self-love, a letter a day was exceeding the goals and bounds of desires for this month. Plus I didn’t have the energy. I’m tired and in pain and that takes lots of self-love and rest.
I did spend some time in bed in agonising pain, dulled by meditation, medication (natural) and sleep. I dreamt some odd things. I thought about intimacy and would love ever find it’s way to me? I was starting to explore the matrix of my being more and more.
Because it is February and so many peoples focus is on love, I, of course, did wander into flights of fancy. After several days in bed dreaming that my true love’s heart might be pierced with Cupids bow, I fast came to the conclusion that this February would (and should) be more about melting my fears for my spine health rather than the deluge of Valentine’s cards that would be coming my way. Or any romance for that matter.
At this point, the only man I will be asking to be mine and my valentine is Ferdy Dog, my ten-year-old Vizsla who has been with me since he was 18 months old. So cute and just as cute are his sisters Marley Moo and Angel. There is something rather fun about watching these three mad dogs play around as we have family time. Where we live is Europe’s only natural desert, we are surrounded by hills and dry river beds which give them plenty of running which I hope maintains their heart health, among other things. I hope that they continue to enjoy good health from all of the good life and fun that they have.
I’d be pretty surprised if he (Ferdy Dog) did send a card covered in red love hearts or some Chocolate Roses. Not that I would thank you for the sugary candy even if they were served with ice cream as I try my hardest (read my life depends on it) to eat a healthy diet. The funny thing is my neighbour sent over some alcohol-infused cherries and strawberries. I tried a few and decided to be strong. It’s funny isn’t it, our view of how to cheer someone up. I’d probably send a card, someone else flowers and yet another chocolates or wine. That’s our connection with comfort and love I guess?
Luckily while he (the friend) was here, he lugged some logs upstairs for me, so if the promised snowstorm or freezing rain arrives, I will be toasty. I’m feeling excessively cold and my body temperature is low, I’ve figured that my body is working amazingly well and conserving its energy for the vital work it needs to do. Trying to stay warm indoors is tough at this time of year, and I often get more comfort being outside and feeling those gorgeous rays on my face and gazing up into the beautiful blues that create a canopy over my world.
It’s quite bizarre how the weather here changes, one minute it is summer, then winter; we are sometimes fooled into thinking that spring has come early only to find we are still in winter. Making sure that I can stay warm and take advantage of the natural heat outside are part of my regime. And anyway we need natural sunlight for vitamin D production. Although mine might be wonky?
After being trapped inside, I found myself with cabin fever. You’ll know it when you feel it – you have to get outside. I could hear the birds singing and I wanted to fly free, just as they were.
One of the things that I love about living here is the number of birds that find their way to this area. At the moment the winter birds are here, hiding in trees, but you can certainly hear them singing their happy morning tunes at dawn. Soon my family of swallows will arrive and start the business of producing babies. I’ve thought about leaving them some bird food but figured that they have been coming here for years and know where the best insects are. It seems obvious, they need, like I do, food from natural sources. However, I’ll know when they are here because I will see them swooping under my terrace and start leaving deposits in an array of colours.
Last year the nest fell and all of the babies died. I cried. It was devastating. The sadness seemed to stay and each time I went into this space I wondered how the parents must be feeling. This malaise was soon lifted as I began to see the nest being reformed. Little by little it was rebuilt. The matrix, the womb of swallow creation had been reborn. Their nest rebuilding gives me hope that my matrix will be rebuilt. They have done just as nature prescribes. A good lesson for me.
I read somewhere that when birds come to stay it’s a gift and I certainly see it that way. No time for the February blues when you know an extension of your family is about to arrive.
This osteoporosis news and journey everything feels a bit like Groundhog Day, as I keep researching, journaling and reflecting. How did this happen? That’s my recurring Groundhog moment. This will soon change, it is changing, as I start treating myself nutritionally and looking at ways to bring my body’s biochemistry back into balance – reform the matrix and the core of my existence. I guess it’s like planting seeds and spring bulbs and waiting to see them grow and flourish. Or in my case, my bone health improve. So no ice skating for me for a while!
With nutrition on my mind, yesterday morning I was pondering toast (oh no – but gluten-free), my usual hot porridge and everything breakfast or pancakes made with pea protein covered in raw chocolate sauce. Right now I know, nutritionally dense with the odd lapse is the way to go. Sadly my usual weekly bout of family baking is on hold as it is a bit too painful to stand over a hot food processor, no matter how easy it is to use. Strange isn’t to have to think of how to use your body differently while you cook, wash and no I am not cleaning – I’m lucky that I have a lovely cleaner who helps me out. I’ve become so much more conscious of how I move and sit.
I love to learn and as you can see I find my mind focused on journaling, nutrition and reading books from my vast library. All of this reading is giving me food for thought – no pun intended. And as you can imagine because I have gorged myself on all of this reading, I’m now at that stage where it is all a blur. Last night every article I bought up I heard myself saying yeah, yeah, yadda, yadda, blah, blah. Time to stop, reflect and integrate it all, methinks. That’s where my trusty pen supports me.
The time for congratulations will come. In fact, when I have compared my 2016 blood results to the current ones, I am congratulating myself for things like thyroid health – in this category I am rocking. There is something very special about being given a project – in my case – healing the imbalance in my bones matrix and creating milestones along the way. Congratulations go a long way to keeping you on track, motivated and inspired.
So this February my focus is on health and journaling. As I always say journaling, writing and words have the power to heal. Start your journaling now if you find yourself where I am. Your writing will help you to make sense and then you can decide what do with your wise words. I hope that you will write a book and help yourself to heal and inspire another to start their journey.
If writing a book is on your mind and you have a powerful personal story that you want to birth into the world, please connect with me and let’s explore where this might take you.
You wonder what I mean by life smacking you in the face, or you might be right with me nodding your head. So do you journal? Have you tried to get into the habit of putting your pen on an open page and just writing? What if you’ve tried and it just won’t come?
Well, even though I write every day, there are times when I look at my many journals and think – get lost. The truth is though when I pick one of them up and just start, I am always amazed by what comes out.
The last few weeks have been for me a smack in the face. When you look at x-rays and you are asked do you want the bad news or the bad news, naturally you ask for the bad news…
However, let’s rewind.
Because I write, walk and reflect, I have spent many hours pouring my heart out in my journal, learning about who I am and finding clarity for all kinds of things.
So I listened and looked within.
What I knew was that evening I would be writing and writing and a bit more of the writing stuff. I knew I would get answers, I’d see stuff that I needed to know about. Leaping out would be aha’s and deep divine inner wisdom.
The full moon was on its way which is a great time for a declutter and letting go. Several letters were written and some goodbyes said. Then I wrote a love letter to me. I could feel my soul expand and while the pain did not go, I could feel it saying hi thanks for getting to know why I am here.
So when the bad news was delivered, I cried, but I was calm because I knew I could and would find a way to learn, reframe and find a way forward.
Let’s take a look at some of the stuff I knew would help me.
As you write in a journal you become more aware of what is really going on around you. When you reflect on your writing you see things more clearly. I find that when I am confused about something, it’s best to write down what I am thinking, ask some questions, leave it for a day and I usually find the answers come to me the following day or whilst I am walking the dog.
Once you have journaled and the words are on the paper, they are out of your head and subsequently, you no longer worry (or worry less) about them. There is something cathartic about writing and getting it all out that really helps to let things go.
Often when you are having difficult times with life and others, it can be really helpful to write down what the issues are. Hold the conversation, looking at all perspectives on paper. Then write what you would really like in an assertive and affirmative way. Two things happen. One you have already had the conversation so it’s easier the 2nd time around and two because you have had time to reflect you can really consider your language and think about what you want from the conversation, without blame. This works both in conversations with yourself and others.
When you write in a journal you will start to see repeated patterns of behaviour or types of conversations that seem on an endless loop and are never resolved. As you read and reflect these become more obvious and allow you to make more conscious choices. You’ll certainly start to see if you are on the right life path.
When you write you will start to notice that your vocabulary increases – the same as when you read. The way in which you write and think develops before you know it, your inner voice awakens. As you scribble solutions form. Life, problems, questions to all kinds suddenly become apparent. Not only that the way in which you solve problems evolves.
What about these?
Currently, I have a book in edit, but I know this osteoporosis journey will develop into something as well. I have a journal just for that, alongside the others, to record what I do and how I am feeling. We all need inspiration for our personal stories and a reference point for when we come to write the book.
For the investment of a journal or a pad of paper and a pen, you have a confidante who will not criticise you, tell you what to do, call you names, think that your ideas are nuts or any number of things. Your journal is a reliable trusted friend for you to share your innermost thoughts, ideas and emotions.
PS. If you don’t already own a journal, get off your bum and buy several. Start writing today. You never know where this adventure may take you. I hope it will take you into the realms of writing a book or a blog to share your experiences so that you can inspire others to know that there is a way through this thing called life.
When the unexpected happens, I always without fail turn to journaling. I say it time and again, journaling, writing and words have the power to change lives.
Two weeks ago, I’d just emerged from the shower; the dogs were dancing around me, I was singing and playing with them on the way to get some clothes. I reached over and heard three loud cracks. You know the kind the ones that a chiropractor may make when adjusting you. They always sound worse than they really are. Air moving and allowing the synovial jell to move into place – or something like that.
Except this hurt… a lot, I swore, and I cried, and then I remembered to breathe through it. I swallowed some painkillers and called my osteopath. Driving to her clinic my thoughts were, this is good right; my body has made its own adjustment. How clever am I??
My mum has osteoporosis which was discovered in her 70’s, and since then I’ve become obsessed with my spine health. The question I always ask is ‘is my spine straight?’ What I mean by this is it how a spine should be, spines wouldn’t work if they were dead straight.
Back home I carried on as normal and dealt with the pain. But I was pleased that I had another appointment the following week.
My journaling started to change direction. I can tell you as a long-term journaler that I am never surprised when my pen goes off tangents. This journaling malarky is very enlightening.
What came up were initially three words, unloved, unappreciated and unsupported. They looked negative and ugly. I separated the un from the other part and thought about where I was loved, appreciated and supported. Then I went back to the ugly words. I wrote letters to others, a love letter to me, I reflected, and I discovered patterns and ahas.
Then I reframed. I was loved, appreciated and supported. I started to write, and this was incredible. My heart swelled with the love that surrounds me.
We forget the good stuff when the shit is going on.
Look at other words disease and disorder. When you are told you have a disease or a disorder what happens? Your mind goes into some kind of freefall. Take the dis off.
The way I see it osteoporosis no matter how freaking painful right now, is not a disease or a disorder, it is an imbalance in my biochemistry.
We know that there is a mind-body connection, so it is not a surprise to me that these three words (love, appreciation and support) directly correspond to the thoracic spine and probably other areas. And when I consider my life’s experiences and response to those it makes sense. When you look at events, you can see triggers. But of course we forget these, and that’s why journaling will surface them for you to deal with them.
It’s not like someone has you naked on a cold floor and chained to the radiator screaming and beating you until you open your eyes to your pain, yet it can feel like that.
Why do we resist going to the roots of what is causing us pain?
Personally, I didn’t know that I was, I was looking elsewhere at other things. I was focusing on learning how to love me, and I found myself in a place of inner peace and contentment. Which bizarrely makes what I am going through so much easier.
We have to learn our stuff in incremental steps.
After the second treatment the pain escalated and I went to the doctor who looked and said your spine is curved to one side, and there is a bulge, off you go for x-rays.
A few days later I find out why.
I have been at home dealing with a) the news that I have spinal compression fractures and osteoporosis in my thoracic spine. b) pain c) emotions.
Each day is different.
Many of you reading this are on other tough journies. Some of your experiences are incredible. I cannot imagine what it must be like to live some stuff or to be in a country ravaged by famine or war. We find ourselves, where we find ourselves and the human spirit is strong and wise.
Writing is so immensely powerful at a time like this. I’ve researched and journaled my socks off. There is always so much more to learn about ourselves when we open our souls to the pen.
Journaling through the Kubler Ross change curve
I am reminded of the Kubler Ross change curve – which is used in change management and grief.
I have added a load of other words, but you get the drift.
This also makes me think about your stories.
Look at your experiences and journey and if you are thinking of writing a book, go through these stages and break it all down. Write, scribble, use post its or talk on your phone (record your thoughts).
I’ve started a separate journal for this journey (top tip). I like different places to write, and something tells me that journalling about this daily has a purpose.
I wonder how fast any of us moves through this when faced with ‘something’.
Or what kind of people stay stuck in each of the stages? Or why they do?
Or what you call on to support you to help you to move forward?
We are all different.
I kind of feel I have whizzed through this and clearly still exploring as I work with my doctor for the bloods and stuff that I can’t do myself and my amazing nutritionist who will guide me with her strong, powerful wisdom and remind me to breathe and no dogs on the bed.
I am also focused and dedicated to the task ahead.
I never realised how much I want to be alive and to help others with their personal journies and to support them to get their stories out there.
There are so many people in pain and denial, and they need to know that if others can get through things they can. They need useful information and wisdom to find their way.
Journaling will help you find answers
Keep writing and journaling guys it is so powerful to understand you and to help you to get your message out to whoever needs to hear it and that doesn’t have to be the world it could be your family and friends.
So wish me luck with the hairy hounds who will no doubt be demanding treats and licks.
PS: I am very interested in your comments about how you deal with things for a series of blogs – please PM me, you can be quoted or remain anonymous, but I would love to hear your stories and to support you as well.
When does a piece of writing go from being a piece of writing to a piece of writing?
Don’t be. We know that first drafts are often considered rubbish. Every writer, who has ever been honest with themselves will tell you that they feel the same. The truth is that they are often not rubbish, they are in fact pretty good, and as a piece of writing, they just need a bit of tarting up.
Don’t believe me?
Stop what you are doing and write an article, the first 1000 words for your next chapter or a blog. And if you absolutely cannot write, remember this writer’s block is rarely about writing, it is often something else that is going on in your life.
Let it flow. It is when it flows from the heart that you get the pure essence of what you are trying to say.
Ok. It may be messy, clunky, not your best piece, but the truth is you got it out and now you have something to work on, and that is good, right?
But you may wail, how do I make it into something worthy?
Reflection. Silence. Nothingness.
Your desire to fiddle and meddle is strong when you want a perfect piece of writing or a perfect something. I can remember going to a painting class my impatience destroyed my painting. I will admit it was a pretty dull landscape and my full attention was not in the class, but even so, I fiddle and to much hilarity, it was seriously binable. Don’t let your writing suffer in the same way.
The magic comes when you leave well alone and go and do something else. In those other moments, connections are made. Sit in silence, go for a walk, meditate, breathe in emptiness and wallow in nothing. For any kind of writing, I get my best ideas in silence.
The seemingly aimless activity of doodling or scribbling allows you to go into a meditative state. Even better colouring a mandala with a keyword or message written on the sheet is a powerful way of unlocking your unconscious. Try it and keep a pad of paper by your side, you will get lots of aha’s while you create colourful patterns.
I love delving into a good bit of fiction when I am writing as it allows me to explore ways in which others write. Losing myself in the art of story and fantasy is delicious, as is a bit of trying to work the plot out. In fact, I am somewhat obsessed with reading because I want to know what happens next while guessing what the twist is. This helps as my mind is allowed to escape from what I am penning and explore.
While cogitating on your novel challenge myself to a bit more creative meandering. Bring to mind your ideal reader – what do you know about their characters, culture, where they live, eat, do, wear, what systems and processes they have in place, how they communicate, etc. Then let go.
So that’s the creative meandering over, and it’s time for some work.
When you come back to your writing piece, read, reflect and rewrite. Look for repeated words, long sentences, ways in which you can bring your writing alive. Don’t settle for what you have, know that alchemy is about transformation. When you remove the elements that don’t work, add in words that sparkle and take time to ponder, the dots will as if by magic join together. Use something like Grammarly which will cause you to stop and think about your writing with its helpful comments like ‘you have a squinting modifier’ or ‘a dangling preposition’, and it will certainly tell you that you have overused words.
You have to be your best critic because if you don’t, someone else will.
Persevere, it will be worth it. However, remember there is a time to let go of being perfect and publishing. Being a critic is one thing, letting go of critical judgement is another. Critique, do your best, publish and learn. Yes, you will miss something. Yes, the Grammar Police will spot a no-no. But here is the important thing – you wrote, you reflected, and you brought your writing alive in the best way that you could. Congratulations.
Writing is a muscle, and the more you do it, the better you get, and like those pretty yellow shoes that you fancy, not everyone will love it.
If the writing bug is calling you and you would love to be a part of a group where we cover, journaling, creative life writing, plus memoir and personal story come and join The Writing Zone. In the Writers Lounge, you will be supported and have lots of fun.
PS: There are mandalas and writing prompts galore in The Writing Zone.
Let’s get February off to a great start with these writing prompts. Writing prompts are a brilliant way to think about where you are and where you would like to go. I’m sure that if you have a planner you will have already sat down and thought about your intentions for the month. If you haven’t perhaps a little detour through these writing prompts and the ones at the end of the blog will help you to find some clarity.
This month the theme is love. That can be love for you, or for another or for something that you do. Whatever it is, do or be it with love. For me, my focus this month is self-love and appreciation.
That’s it, February is the month of love. Love yourself, write often, enjoy the month and remember to spoil you every day.
If you’d love more of this writing stuff, if you have things you want to get out of you, find your writers voice and maybe even write a book, connect with me or join The Writing Zone. Once you enter the Writer’s Lounge your pen will never be the same again…
The magic of a blue moon arrives today 31st January 2018. If you read this today, you are in for a treat; you are in the arms of a magical time. A time when you can release and let go. If you come to this blue moon post later, it matters not; you were meant to arrive here and write your long overdue letters.
Full moons are for letting go and releasing what does not serve you. Lunar eclipses add to the potency of this release. Imagine allowing the vortex of emotions that you have been holding onto to rise forth and erupt. To then sit back and watch your molten lava flow down and away into the valley of hope, faith and love. The image I get of this is not an explosion, more of an expulsion. A little like when you might squeeze and irritating spot, which pops to allow the accumulated pus to escape.
Our bodies are like that volcano waiting to erupt.
As I sit here and write it is Monday morning, my body hurts, more specifically my spine and ribs. Just seven days ago as I was singing to the dogs, I reached over to grab some clothes, and I heard three loud cracks and a searing pain tear through my thoracic region. The laughter ended, and I screamed. Pain and hot tears of anger and frustration. Why me I asked? Actually, I swore and screamed… I’ve found contentment and a certain inner peace, life is going so well and now after all that I have been through you do this to me. Laughable really, as if there were some invisible force doing things to me. But it feels good doesn’t it to verbalise and shout profanities to God or the Universe?
Over the weekend I have written a lot. I have explored the mind-body connection between pain and suppressed emotions for the umpteenth time. That doesn’t matter, in each reading, listening, writing and reflection there is always something new to learn.
The blue moon made me think not only about the colour blue, the moon, but what big things did I still need to release and let go.
I began to write.
Where in my life did I feel unappreciated, unloved and unsupported? These were the words that loomed large in my writing and the pain I was experiencing.
Over the years I have worked hard to let go of my anger. Anger which stems from some childhood sexual abuse and later some experiences with a couple who took in and manipulated young women for sex. Anger, not feeling worthy or valued, shame, guilt, fear that others would think I was unclean, wanting others to love me even when they were not the ‘right’ people for me. My writing showed me (again) that I have been unable to create healthy boundaries and time and time again I chose to be with people who would naturally trigger the being taken for granted response.
Oh, how life likes to have a little play with you…
As I ignored the warning signs, my body became a container for the poison I could not release. Outwardly, I moved on. I was doing deep inner work. I had learned to love me, my connection with my divine inner wisdom was I thought strong. Yet I continued to ignore behaviours that were unpleasant. It never seemed worth my while to engage in other peoples dramas plus I always felt that the other person was in pain and merely reflecting this back at me. Naturally, despite this, my body was drinking from the poisoned chalice.
This always reminds me of Danny Kaye and The Court Jester…
I’ve got it! I’ve got it! The pellet with the poison’s in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true! Right?
But jesters aside, take a journey through your body right now. What do you feel? Where do you feel it? What does it say to you?
We know that unexpressed emotions turn into physical dis-ease, so why do we ignore the warning signs until it is almost too late?
Then I asked where did I feel loved, appreciated and supported?
The energy was different; I realised that I had so much, so many beautiful people in my life who cared about me. In my pain, my old friend anger rose. Instead, she spoke louder, and I listened. But this time, there was another voice, that of love who asked the anger to be still and to explain her feelings and her point of view.
It will come as no surprise to learn that as I wrote and reflected, I became a witness to the shame and guilt that I thought I had dealt with. I had felt hopeless because I wasn’t able to protect myself or to change what had happened. Selfish people with undesirable motives abusing others is not new or strange to many of you reading this. We are not alone.
What we have is the power of self-knowledge so that we can change how we feel about these things and we can release the poison our bodies are holding onto.
These few days I have surrendered, asked for help, rested, explored, and submerged so that I can emerge. I have my faith that I can heal and that my body will soon cease to be in pain. Ok, it may take more than writing a few letters, like a trip to get an x-ray and back to the doctors to see what’s going on, but in releasing emotions combined with what is going on, I have the opportunity to know what else to do.
I have faith because I write and I take action. I know that with writing I can write a new story.
What needs to end? What do you need to release?
You may not be in as much physical pain as I am, you may be in more or have no sense of pain, you may have an illness or condition that is bothering you or starting to bother you.
Listen to all of the whispers.
Use this blue moon to move into a deeper part of you, explore and become aware of what is going on. Acknowledge what you have been suppressing and make a conscious decision that this must end now.
It may not be easy, but to create an ending you have to start somewhere.
If you are holding onto sludge how can you make space for something beautiful to come in? It’s as if you need to open a trap door and let it all flow out. A little like our volcano erupting to signal that something is amiss. But now more like a sluice gate opening so that unwanted waste can flow.
We find new beginnings in the space we create.
That is not to say that you fill up the space with activities, that defeats the object of making space. We create space to allow what needs to flow in to do just that. Gently without forcing it.
Start writing. Maybe a word and then five that pop up – like a mind map. Perhaps write a sentence with your six words. Then a story. Just allow your pen to take you where you need to travel.
It is in the reflection, the space that I find answers. The void is never empty; it is full of wisdom. More that it is unstructured and there are no rules or processes and certainly no chocolate cakes. The void contains all that there is to know. The key to is let go of what you have written and let your wisdom flow.
I want to dance, to move my body and to be pain-free. To dance in the void does not have to mean physically dancing, although that is a wonderful way to release. It means to become aware while losing yourself to the dance of life.
I started this morning with my first letter. Today I shall write more. I can already see with just that one letter a pattern emerging, but I am not settling with that piece of wisdom. Instead, I shall write all of my letters and see what arises.
At this moment, I see I have been driven by a desire to be accepted grime and all and choosing people that I thought resonated with similar pain and shame to mine. Perhaps it felt safe to swim in a pool of shame and guilt with other hungry sharks and for us all to wallow belly’s full in the devil’s turgid pool. Maybe there is a community in some shitty sanctimonious my pain is worse than your pain thing. Or worse still, we think because we have suffered we know how to fix others; we can all nod our heads ‘oh yes, we have been there, this is what you do.’
To be honest, right now, I don’t know.
All I know right now is that I still desire to be loved, supported and accepted and I that I have made a few erroneous trips to learn some painful lessons.
But hey ho. Now I know I can do something about it, and so can you.
Write those damn letters!
Kiss their sweet asses goodbye.
Burn your letters and wish all that burn in them well. Send the emotions and pain up in smoke and surrender, let go, let love.
This is important. You have written to let go of all that was. But what about a love letter to you? Write this last and keep it for the end of your blue moon ceremony.
I’m a big fan of rituals and ceremony. Do what feels right for you. If getting a slice of cake and a glass of red works for after, then do it. Mine will be tea and a Yummy Scrummy chocolate brownie. This is my ritual. Make up your own, always do what feels right for you.
Remember you rock baby!
I am open to releasing, cleansing and surrendering all that no longer serves me. I am open to the experiences, love, opportunities and blessings that lay before me.
I invite love, courage and guidance to enable me to reach my highest purpose and live in peace and inner contentment.
Writing, writing, writing and more writing has saved me on so many occasions. I get so much clarity when I write. The wonderful thing is that even though I have spent the weekend writing in preparation to release the poison in my body, I have had loads of insight for blogs and ideas for my monthly club (The Writing Zone). Not only that it has given me space for editing my book and ideas for another book I have on the go.
Writing in a journal is just the starting point of a massive adventure into you and all that you are and can be, and it will lead you through your soul’s story and onto writing a book. None of this is wasted, it is all meant to be, and if you can touch one other life with your words and inspire them, you have brought great value to that person’s world.
As a long-term writer and journaler, I know the benefits that journaling can bring. That’s not to say that I journal or write every day, but I do on most days, even if it is just a word.
The belief that you cannot write stems from childhood. Can you remember being told you couldn’t or shouldn’t write? What about rushing in to share a story and no-one was interested? It’s such a shame isn’t it that we lose our confidence to write and get connected to our soul’s voice and story.
Journaling is private and to be honest there are not any rules, just your way of doing it.
But let’s go back to the belief. Like most belief’s this one about writing and journaling will as I have said started in childhood, where some unthinking person voiced an unfounded opinion which went onto to shape our self-image and belief. Like a tightly wrapped ball of wool, it can take years to unravel the mish-mash of patterns imprinted in our subconscious.
The fabulous thing about journaling is that nobody needs to know what you write or how you write it. You have permission to leave the inner critic on the park bench sipping cold tea and eating mouldy sandwiches, it’s the best they deserve.
Journaling is a wonderful way to flex your writing muscles, get to the heart of who you are and begin a potential journey into telling your story. Before you freak and think that you cannot write a book, consider this – start with your journal, enjoy that and then consider where to go next. I know many a person start with a scribble and eventually publish a book.
There are many reasons for keeping a journal. It may be that wish to simply record the day’s events and to find an outlet for ‘stuff’ which did not make sense at the time but which through journaling and writing you have been able to gain some understanding. You may wish to use your journal as a way to record information for a book that you always wanted to write; your journal will enable you to keep an accurate timeline for events. The purpose of this blog is to invite you to start your journal writing so that you can use it as a way to raise your self-awareness and make positive changes in your life.
This morning I wrote this:
We lived, we loved, we existed. Sure there were good times. That I do not deny. But beneath the surface was a seething rotting mess. This letter is my last communication with your dark soul. You are a part of something that I am vanquishing from my body and from my soul. I thank you for the love, the laughs, the presents and the pain. Your pain was not mine to absorb, yet I did. I absorbed it into my being and became responsible for it. I wanted you to be happy, more than I was. But wanting happiness for others while we self-destruct seeps through the membranes and destroys us.
I wrote it with nothing in mind, I allowed what needed to be unlocked to flow free. It is only a part of a mountain of pages I scribbled. I’ve found my writing zone and my way. Now I invite you to find yours.
Journaling can be easy, consider these points.
Decide where do you want to write? In bed, the lounge, conservatory, your office, in your favourite comfy chair. It is important that you find a place that you feel at ease, which relaxes you, and enables you the comfort and space to begin to write. When you are in the right space and that includes headspace your writing will flow.
When do you want to write? First thing in the morning? Last thing at night? In the evening after dinner?
Once you have decided that you will journal then you need to decide how you would like to journal. There is more than one way to keep a journal.
There are lots of different kinds of notebooks and journals on the market, some are beautiful, others are very practical. You can buy some great journals from your local supermarket for not a lot. I love beautiful journals and the quality of the paper is important to me. It wasn’t always this way – I used to buy cheap journals and over time this changed.
You might even want to use a different notebook for different parts of your life. E.g. Day to day events, people, food and body etc. I know people who find it hard to journal and when I have suggested that they keep a pile of different journals by the side of their bed and pick one according to their mood, they have found it much easier.
Pens, I have a huge collection of pens, pencils and highlighters, and depending on my mood will depend on which I use. I feel a little like Pauline with her pens (League of Gentlemen), one of her sayings that still tickles me is “Everything I know about people I learned from pens. If they don’t work, you shake them. And if they still don’t work, you chuck them away. Bin ‘em.”
I used to use journaling software because I wanted absolute privacy, but I missed writing with a pen so although I was able to record my deepest feelings, it didn’t quite give me what I wanted. But if this works for you, you can use WORD or Evernote which you can password protect. The most important thing is to choose some software that suits you.
For scrapbooking, I like to use an artist book. I collect pictures and words from magazines and newspapers which resonate with me. Then when I am in a creative frame of mind I simply start to create pictures’of where I am and what I want in my life. I might also scribble or doodle. Alongside the pictures, I will write whatever comes up.
With Smartphones, there are lots of opportunities to be able to video anything you want to say and capture. This adds an extra dimension to your journaling. I often find that when I am walking with the dogs that stuff comes to mind which I want to record. When I listen back later I can make sense of it in my journal. Got something you need to say to yourself and no paper or pen; get your phone out.
What else needs to happen to help you to write?
Instead of worrying about where, when, how or why, just start. Write anything and trust that your writing muse will come along and take over.
If you need a prompt, you could start with a question and see where it goes.
Or bring an event to mind and ask yourself:-
Before I start to write I sit in silence, sometimes closing my eyes and focusing on my breath. Sometimes I will meditate. I have a Proteus light and sound machine, I’m subscribed to Zen12 or I head over to YouTube. You will be amazed how once you start how it all flows and the most important thing for me is that even if it is only one sentence, it’s a start.
When you write about your day make sure it is absolutely true, write what you think, feel, hear and see. This is your truth and not a made up world. You may cringe, laugh or cry when you read it back. That’s the point; it’s how you felt at that time. As you know yourself better, you will see repeated patterns of behaviour in yourself and others and that’s when you can start to make changes.
Begin journaling today, who knows where it will take you? You may, as I have said, find stories in you that you must write and share and writing it a book might not be that far away.
It doesn’t matter that you haven’t recorded the last 20, 30, 40 years, today is the perfect day to start your journaling and your journey into yourself.
The bottom line is to remember, there are no rules and to find a way to make this awesome tool work for you.
Writing is a wonderful way to get your stuff out, it is cathartic, helps to release stress, ignites your creativity and provides a way to reflect on events so that you can make changes happen.
The Writing Zone is a monthly club where you can get yourself into the writing zone and explore you and your writing.
You will begin to discover hidden thoughts, emotions, lost memories and repeated patterns of behaviour which may not be serving you well. Through the guided writing exercises, you have the chance to go deep within and to look out with fresh vision.