We made it to a New Year, but the events of this first week have already taught us that we are still living though some wild, ever-evolving times. Greater unknowns make elevated self-care a necessity. Last week I wrote about three lessons from 2020 that can help you achieve any goal and I hope you are still setting some while you build in flexibility. This week, I want to offer you a powerful tool for self-guidance, no matter your aspirations or pain points.
One of the most meaningful ways I've found to cultivate the right mindset in moving forward tactically on my goals, whether they be in business, health, or relationships, is to focus on my successes while making time to slow down for evaluation and adjustment in my areas of growth.
(To be totally transparent, this practice has been tough for me to do this year because I've been nursing some substantial heartache over the loss of my biggest partnerships and the majority of my business. Pretty much devastated actually, to watch five years of gritty ass hustle poof overnight into the COVID storm. I've hardly shared about it all beyond a few sacred souls until now. Anyway, I digress. Nothing like some hardy grief to get you all in your feels and lose focus, which is exactly the inspiration for this post.)
So, I share for a reason, which is that the other day when I was in a slump of depression and anxiety, I sat down to do some journaling for a needed shift. If you don't journal or you're not even sure why you are reading this because you're not much of a (blog) reader--I'm flattered-- I'll save you 3 minutes of your life and suffice it to say: start journaling. Twenty to thirty minutes daily or even just a couple of pages a few times per week. It's life- changing, without exaggeration. But, please read on because I have some pro tips to guide you in a helpful exercise and, should you choose, a letter for you at the end.
So, there I was, writing all the things that were happening inside me and after I got my mental mess dumped on the page, I found myself entering a more neutral space. New perspectives began to emerge. It was a slow ascent at first from my petty self-pity and frantic fear, to justified judgment, a sprinkle of ego-tripping, and topped with a heap of helpless worry when suddenly I discovered... a new willingness to let it be as it was. Surrender. Then a willingness to ask for clarity and not only patience to wait for the answer, but guidance.
It may sound anticlimactic, but this moment of willingness brought so much relief because it gave me the courage to begin imagining, neigh intuiting, some of the real steps I need to take to move forward. Not just moving forward in the moment to regulate my emotions, but in my life-- in the months and years to come to begin rebuilding. Rebuilding.
Maybe this makes me one of those naive baby business owners, but rebuilding from scratch after 5 SOLID years of 60-80 hour weeks is something I've been resisting and crying over for almost a year now. That shit hurt and also gives me even more respect for those who have more skin in the game.
Willingness became a key to acceptance and insight and oh-my-gosh a moment of peace! Yes, peace, which when the vision you've worked toward for 10 years disappears overnight, can feel irretrievable or at least freakishly out of reach (like that baby in the surreal old David Bowie movie The Labyrinth. If you haven't seen it, you should.)
Where am I going with this?
The bridge to them is in making space for a stronger connection to your inner sage, which can be accessed through a simple 5 step journaling technique. These steps will help you gain clarity, peace, belief or whatever intangible mental state you need to achieve your personal and professional goals. Intangibles don't sound sexy, especially when we're talking about crushing some tangible goals, but honestly mindset is everything.
With more free space in my mind, I started to recall all of the times I'd overcome big setbacks. I started to recall my wins and their correlation to practicing the spiritual and holistic health tools I've built my life around. It made me feel transcendently better.
Suddenly, and by suddenly I mean after 20 or 30 minutes of frantically scribbling like an emo preteen before cell phones, I was centered and found myself writing more gracefully. Without thought my words began flowing from my pen and a tremendous amount of peace and love washed over me. I know it sounds cheesy, but I'm serious.
Something released. I wasn't writing as myself to but to myself. It didn't feel like me and this was medicine for my soul. So here are the five steps to uncover your own inner sage. Below that, I've shared my letter in hopes that it lifts you up.
Your letter might sound very different from mine. You may not even resonate with a "Higher Power." If you have strong faith faith, write from that or maybe it's not about divine guidance at all for you right now. Maybe you need to write to yourself from Courage or Persistence or Forgiveness or Confidence.
The point is to write using the following these steps:
1) Give yourself permission to get real cozy and plan to spend some time, at least 20-30 minutes or more, but no less. Remove distractions. Set a timer if you have to. Protect this time like a sacred date with yourself. Write, don't type. Writing is a multi-sensory process and this is important here. Make it a thing if you want with tea or coffee and a blanket. Maybe light a candle or some sage if you're into woo-woo energy cleanses like I am.
2) Don't pause to plan what you're going to write. Just show up and empty your thoughts, whatever they are. If you don't journal regularly, after 5-10 minutes you might feel like you're done. Keep going. If your hand hurts, shake it out and keep writing anyway. A little hand throb is nothing compared to dissociation, despair, or confusion.
Stream of consciousness is the only goal. This is where the magic is.
3) After you purge all of your petty, random thoughts you'll notice that you feel calmer. Now, you're ready to ask yourself what you need. The willingness to ask is an invitation for guidance. You may be surprised by the clarity of your own wisdom after a brain dump.
4) Once you know what you are in need of cultivating, or at least where you are feeling stuck, you are ready to step into that space. Channel it. Channel creativity, or healing, or focus and write as if you are that thing you seek. Use your wins in that domain to fuel your intuitive guidance.
5) Try not to edit, judge, or direct the the words that your hand wants to write once you've asked the question. Just let it flow and remember that no one is going to read this unless you want them to. When you're done, DON'T read it. Get up and move. Shake it off. Go for a walk or stretch or dance. Celebrate showing up for yourself. After some movement, then come back and read it. You can even burn it if you want.
It's not about what you wrote, it's who you become in the process.
Seriously, do this. Just try it.
Do it now or schedule a time in your calendar to actually do it soon.
Your future self will thank you.
As promised, here is a letter from my higher self:
You are in a time of intense growth and transformation. Again. Do not be afraid to begin again. You don't need to let fear overshadow the joy and peace available to you in this time.
When you think back to past stages of yourself, appreciate the growth not in spite of the failures, but because of them. Savor the unique essence of you the way you would an innocent child.
You are living your childhood dreams. Forgive yourself for not knowing how to feed those dreams so they would grow to meet the new paradigm you stepped into. Growth is nonlinear. Consciousness is ineffable. Enjoy the journey of uncovering your path as it presents itself. It was made for you. You were made to navigate it with wonder and curiosity, not rules made from rigid certainty. Trust the call of your dreams. Your purpose is bigger than you.
It's safe to question as long as you're willing to live the questions with integrity and compassion. You need not even define yourself in relation to the past, except to serve as a reminder of how powerful you are when you let love and joy lead you.
Let authenticity be a light when your path grows dark. Trust that each time you fall, learning to stand in the momentary pain is a gift that will also bless others.
Let stillness and kindness be the soil for this new seed of awareness to take root. Serenity is unfolding. Like the ancient tree whose leaves die with each season, let the growth of your new limbs form the shade for other aching souls to rest in your grace. Growth is not planned, but realized through truth. Theres is wisdom in your being.
Have faith in yourself to hear the answers from a grace greater than you.