On MLK Day: Perspective

If there’s one lesson I take from the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it’s about how great the world could be if we would each take a bit of time to think about life through the lens of another’s perspective.

On the date we celebrate his birth, I invite you to learn more about the journal-writing technique called ‘Perspective’. This writing tool happens whenever you change the point-of-view. Maybe writing it from you in the future, you in the past, you in the third person. It becomes a tool for understanding when you write it by changing who the author is.

For example, I get to teach this one as a guest speaker for a high school sociology class near me. We talk about writing about what life would be from the viewpoint of a different gender. What it might have felt like to be an American at different milestones in our history – depending on where you came from or the color of your skin.

To try a Perspectives write today, just take a moment to think about the point-of-view you’d like to understand a bit better. Sit for a moment and reflect on the feelings, emotions, lessons, opportunities, challenges. Then write. Finish with a reflection write to process the overall experience and any insights.

Perspectives is just one of 18 amazing techniques I teach during Journal to the Self workshops. Learn more on the Workshops page (online and in-person session). Or, same page has info if you prefer to sample first, try a free technique; or let’s schedule a no obligation phone call to chat about how I can support your own change journey.

 

Clustering: On ‘Thesaurus Day’

Happy birthday Peter Roget (inventor of the modern thesaurus)! Okay, I did have to look this up. But I love that it’s a thing.

In honor of Peter’s love of words, I’d invite you to try the Clustering technique in your journal today. Clustering is a quick and simple technique that tricks your left (thinking) brain into taking a break, so your right (scenery) brain can write. This is consistently one of my students’ favorite techniques and they always get delightfully surprising and useful insights, in a fast and fun way.

Try it out. As a prompt, use whatever word inspires you in this year 2020. Or try:

My Priorities 2020

Write your word in a circle in the center. Then branch, doodle and scribble all the thoughts that emerge. As some point, you’ll just feel done. When that happens, review the diagram and describe in words the story it tells. Do the branches relate? Or contradict? Are there lots of short branches? Or a few long ones? What are the arrows, underlines or notes in the margins telling you? Note whatever trends, themes, insights you notice.

Now go back and skim your doodle again, as well as the words you’ve written to describe it.  Write a short reflection: whatever observations, surprises or ideas you have. This might be an emotional feeling, a sense in your body, or the seed of an idea you want to follow up on.

Clustering is just one of 18 amazing techniques I teach during Journal to the Self workshops. Learn more on the Workshops page (online and in-person session). Or, same page has info if you prefer to sample first, try a free technique, or let’s schedule a no obligation phone call to chat about how I can support your own change journey.

Today’s the Twelfth Night – An Epiphany!

Count 12 days from Christmas, and you land on – January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany. In religious tradition, this is the date the three wise men finally completed their journey. The word roots mean ‘manifestation’ (as in the three kings manifesting their quest to see the baby Jesus). But the word also means ‘an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure,’ according to Merriam-Webster.

What an amazing prompt for your journal. This year I had the pleasure of seeing the Public Works version of Twelfth Night based on Shakespeare’s play of the same name at my local high school. Talk about being blown away – and also inspired to discover! The theater director reminded patrons of the ties between the Twelfth Night story, and the concept of an epiphany.

Enjoy a special rendition of ‘Eyes of Another’ presented by the members of Public Works in Central Park to get started. For a writing Springboard, try:

If we’d open our hearts to each other’s beat…

When you’re ready, try a Perspectives write. Write about your own beat from the point of view of someone else (like your best friend). Or jump into the shoes of someone special and write about their beat in the first person.

Here’s to the year ahead!

Perspectives is just one of 18 amazing techniques I teach during Journal to the Self workshops. Learn more on the Workshops page (online and in-person session). Or, same page has info if you prefer to sample first, try a free technique; or let’s schedule a no obligation phone call to chat about how I can support your own change journey.

 

Photo from Amazon.com.

Find a Balance for 2020

Happy New Year! This quiet time of year, plus a fresh start calls us to think about what we want to make of the next 365 opportunities ahead. It’s a great time to take a snapshot of the different elements of your life, assess where you are, where you want to be, and action steps to tune up the areas that need attention, or tame the areas that feel overloaded.

Personally, I like a two-step process. But try just one or the other if that suits you better.

Coming out of the ‘busy-ness’ of Christmas I like to start with a doodle step, so my creative brain has some space to pause and stretch and think. I like the Balance Wheel diagram from the Chopra Center – it’s simple and useful.

BalWheelsq

My own balance wheel was delightfully messy with spontaneous doodles. One gap area really surprised me. Acknowledging it inspires me for the year ahead.

Just grab a dull colored pencil and a bolder pencil. Then go around the wheel, starting with the dull color to represent where you feel you are on that life element at this moment. Connect all the individual lines to get a background shape. The irregularity is a picture of where you are overall — some areas with a lot of attention, others with less. Now grab the brighter color to indicate where you wish to spend your energy in 2020. I like to make these lines smaller and color them in, so the overall picture is more like a star coming out of the background shape. Don’t worry about the math and science of your diagram. It’s more about areas that surprise you — such as an area that feels much lower than where you want to be. Capture in words any takeaways from the picture — celebrate the balanced areas, be curious about the unbalanced areas, notice which areas call for your focus in the coming year. Then look at the diagrams again, read your recap and write a reflection. This might be in the form of more curiosities you have about a certain area, some ideas on daily habits for the coming year or other ways to explore taking the story of your diagram into action for 2020. 

 

Now you can go a bit deeper on 2-4 life areas from the wheel. These might just jump out at you. Or you might want to mix one area with a large gap between current and desired, one that you want to celebrate and one that you want to work on. Whatever your mix, explore these areas more in your journal. Give yourself five minutes to explore each selected area. Then use the same three questions to write about each one:

Where am I now?

Where do I want to be?

What will it take to get from ‘here’ to ‘there’ – or to maintain levels current satisfaction?

When you’ve finished the questions for your selected life areas, reread them all and write one last reflection. Now take a moment to celebrate your work. You’ve set yourself up to work on the things in 2020 that really matter to you! Wishing you the best for this New Year and beyond!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Go of 2019

Whether 2019 was amazing, or you want to forget it, it’s time to let it go. There are lessons in letting go – what hurts, what’s easy, things to repeat, things to never try again. The process of mentally letting go is a great activity for your journal.

List of 100 from Journal to the Self is a great technique for this. (You can read more about this clever and trusty tool in a previous post.) Write the inspiration for your list at the top — try:

100 ways to let go of 2019

Remember the tips: Write very quickly. Number as you go. Repeat, repeat, repeat is ok! If you get stuck, just write ‘stuck’ until the next thing comes.

Once you have a list of 100, reread it all — look for categories, patterns, themes and insights. Later in the list you will probably see an overall gift of wise ideas, look beyond the actual ink on the page for the insightful meaning and lessons. Synthesize this wisdom in a brief write to capture the ideas from the list.

Now write a reflection. What are your takeaways and next steps?

List of 100 is just one of 18 amazing techniques I teach during Journal to the Self workshops. Learn more on the Workshops page (online and in-person session). Or, if you prefer to sample first, try a free technique, or let’s schedule a no obligation phone call to chat about how I can support your own change journey.

 

Photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash.

Unsent Letter: The Airing of Grievances!

Whether you’re a Seinfeld fan or not, today is a big day – Festivus! To celebrate, all you need is an aluminum pole, feats of strength, and, the airing of grievances.

I find the episode so funny. But humor aside, the airing of grievances is an effective journaling exercise, the Unsent Letter. It feels so good to let it all out. You have your say, and it’s all one way – the floor is fully your own. When you feel like you’re going to explode, just let it all out. What makes this writing unique is that you NEVER save it. Be sure to include the process for destroying your Unsent Letter once you are done. It’s part of the release process.

If you need a prompt, here’s an option:

I’ve been meaning to tell you…

Once you’ve written your Unsent Letter, re-read it. I like to do a reflection separate from the letter. Often, this becomes the source of a letter or conversation I can have that’s more productive and two-way, or it’s an insight about what’s going on in a relationship or some sort of step I can take. Then, enjoy that process of destroying the original letter.

Release. Feels better!

Unsent Letter is just one of 18 amazing techniques I teach during Journal to the Self workshops. Learn more on the Workshops page (online and in-person session). Or, if you prefer to sample first, try a free technique, or let’s schedule a no obligation phone call to chat about how I can support your own change journey.

 

Seinfeld aired on NBC. Image from festivusweb.com

Lessons from Stillness

The longest day of the year is here. Today is a reminder of the power of the stillness. The quiet of the winter manifests as an eruption of spring. One is not possible without the other.

What can you learn from the stillness?

This is a great Springboard for your journal. Just write the prompt and follow your pen. Don’t forget to finish by re-reading and jotting down a reflection.

Springboard is just one of 18 amazing techniques I teach during Journal to the Self workshops. Learn more on the Workshops page (online and in-person session). Or, same page has info if you prefer to sample first, try a free technique, or let’s schedule a no obligation phone call to chat about how I can support your own change journey.

 

 

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels.

Capture Time Past…to Jump Forward

Capricorn season is upon us – the sign of discipline, resourcefulness, and practical ambition. Time to get things done! Horoscopes may be unscientific, but I always seem to get just the inspiration I need. The traits of Capricorn set us up for the can-do spirit of a New Year. And what a fantastic time to move forward, based on what’s happened in the year just wrapping up.

What a great prompt for your journal — a Time Capsule of the year just past. Get cozy and recall the highlights, as well as the lessons learned in the year just past. Scan photos, emails, calendar notes, whatever prompts your memories. Once you have a recap, write a reflection.

An outstanding launching point into setting priorities and defining goals that really matter to you in 2020. Time Capsule is just one of 18 amazing techniques I teach during Journal to the Self workshops. Learn more on the Workshops page (online and in-person session). Or, if you prefer to sample first, try a free technique, or let’s schedule a no obligation phone call to chat about how I can support your own change journey.

Trust your intuition: What are your rights?

The Bill of Rights was finalized 228 years ago today. At a personal level, what are your rights — how do they impact your hopes, visions and dreams? If you listen to your intuition you may realize it has a lot to say.

Here’s a way to listen with one of my favorite Journal to the Self techniques, List of 100. (You can read more about this clever and trusty tool in a previous post.) Write the inspiration for your list at the top — try:

I have the right to…

Then use all the pointers: Write very quickly. Number as you go. Repeat, repeat, repeat is ok! If you get stuck, just write ‘stuck’ until the next thing comes.

Once you have a list of 100, reread it all — look for categories, patterns, themes and insights. If you are like, me your thinking brain will tire out somewhere around item 50. You might have a few humorous items thrown in around then too (our intuition is clever that way).  Later in the list you will probably see an overall gift of wise ideas, look beyond the actual ink on the page for the insightful meaning and lessons. Synthesize this wisdom in a brief write.

Now write a reflection. What are the overall lessons, messages, themes you observe? What are your takeaways and next steps?

List of 100 is just one of 18 amazing techniques I teach during Journal to the Self workshops. Learn more on the Workshops page (online and in-person session). Or, if you prefer to sample first, try a free technique, or let’s schedule a no obligation phone call to chat about how I can support your own change journey.

 

Image by skeeze from Pixabay.

Celebrating special people thru a Character Sketch

Most often, a journal write is private, just for your own use. But some journal writes can be a gift to others — like the Character Sketch. Today is ‘Christmas Card Day’ in honor of the first card being created in England back in 1843. It’s a great prompt to try a new journal writing technique.

The essence of a Character Sketch is pretty simple. Just call to mind someone special.

Use someone on your greeting card list as inspiration!

Take a moment to envision this person — with all of your senses, emotion and imagination. Then write. When you are done, complete with a short reflection.

This is a great tool when you want to understand someone a litle better — and often the takeaway of who they really are to you, and what the relationship means to you are words that are beautiful to share.

Character Sketch is just one of 18 amazing techniques I teach during Journal to the Self workshops. Learn more on the Workshops page (online and in-person session). Or, if you prefer to sample first, try a free technique, or let’s schedule a no obligation phone call to chat about how I can support your own change journey.

 

 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.