Powerful journaling when the unexpected happens
Powerful journaling when the unexpected happens

Powerful journaling when the unexpected happens

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.

  • Dis-ease – ahhhhh ease. How do we bring back ease? Think about it.
  • Dis-order – how do you bring balance and order back into your life.

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.

  • Shock
  • Resistance /Denial / Disbelief / Anger
  • Frustration /Self Doubt / Awareness
  • Depression / Blame / Victim
  • Acceptance
  • Experiment / Exploration / Letting go
  • Action / Decision / Choice
  • Integration / Commitment / Focus

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).

  • Where do you find yourself right now?
  • What resources would you need at that stage (think of the person reading your book)
  • What happened before and what was the trigger?
  • What choices did you make? How did they work out? What would you have done differently?
  • What choices or decisions are you making now?
  • What results are these choices yielding?
  • What would you have done differently at any stage?
  • How would you like to see things progress?
  • What vision do you have for your future?
  • How will you get there?

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.

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Dale Darley

Strategist, Coach, writer and author. Helping you to make sense of your ideas and personal stories so that you can create simple strategic direction and design the right products and services for your business. Mum to three dogs and a family of swallows. Life without cake is a life unlived.

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