So far you have parts I and II of ' journaling' ( "My Ten Minute Stress Reduction Cure") under your belts and I am dying to know, “how’s the idea sitting with you so far?"
You’ve really only had a few days to get used to the idea and just a couple of days to actually practice the art of recording your thoughts, (AKA-Journaling).
I want you to know that first and foremost, I’m proud of you! If this was completely new to you, congratulations. By completing this task, you also fulfilled the question I posed in a recent post entitled "When was the last time you did something for the first time?" Well my friend, you just did!
If, however, you’ve Journaled in the past but haven’t in some time, WELCOME BACK!
Looking at this from both ends of the spectrum, I suppose that would mean that some of you either found it very difficult to stay within the confines of a mere ten minutes worth of writing - OR - you wanted to poke your eyes out after only five. We can also be certain, no doubt about it... that some folks broke the rules all together. It's not that I don't trust you. Actually trust has nothing to do with it. What I’m talking about is our basic human nature that comes… oh, shall we say, just a little "bent?"
All of us come hardwired with a side of ‘wrong doing,’ thank you. It’s obvious when we realize that it’s nothing we’ve ever had to teach our children now is it? In fact, it comes rather natural to all of us and it comes from the very day we were born. Don't agree?
Well that's Ok. This blog isn't a dictatorship. We can all have different opinions. After all... That's what makes the world go 'round. Of course, it just so happens that mine are right!! Ha ha... sorry, but that was too wide open not to jump in. Ok, a stand up comedian I'm not, so let me give you just one little example about being born with a bent toward brokenness.
Let's say we take an average, adorable, well-behaved 2-year-old and put them in a room that has been child proofed to the max (safety first). Next, as an experiment, let's take and place an object there that we simply just don’t want this child to touch.
This object must be nothing special. Nothing that would draw our unsuspecting little munchkin to it. That would be considered stacking the deck in my favor. This object is nothing more than an ordinary do-dad, picked to represent something they'll be told they can't have.
Just for the heck of it, let's also stack the deck in the favor of those who disagree and throw in a few brightly colored, glittery objects into the mix. Actually, since I'm feeling rather cocky and safe in my convictions here, let’s also bring in boatloads of toys and throw them all about. Now, tell that child "you can go and play with anything you want... ANYTHING at all—just don't touch THIS" (the "THIS" being the object of our experiment).
If you have children, or if you have spent really any time with them at all, you know what's going to happen and you WOULD BE RIGHT! That sweet child is going to make a fast little Bee Line Right toward the ONE THING... THE ONLY THING they were told they couldn’t have! It’s not like we've had to teach this little tyke to do that…it just comes rather naturally now doesn’t it?
Call it what you will, but it’s always worked that way in every childcare situation that I've been involved in and as I eluded to in previous articles, (though I'm not a child care expert)… I once ran a certified home daycare business in addition to raising my own, two, spunky little angels Kaggin and Brittany; a mere 15 months apart.
This scenario, unfortunately, follows us throughout adulthood, (albeit a little more sophisticated); it’s there still the same! Oh, you bet it is and while you may not be a natural-born journal monger, when I told you that you could only write for TEN MINUTES, NO MATTER WHAT. Well, for those of you who rather enjoy the idea of writing, I wonder how many of your journals have entries longer than ten minutes worth simply due to the fact that idea was that you weren't supposed to?
I mean I 'suppose' it's possible you COULD have been ever so slightly influenced by the idea of going a touch further, simply because I said you shouldn't; although I NEVER would have sunk so low, or have been smart enough to have even thought of planting such a twisted and devious subliminal suggestion like that. I mean, even though I am acutely aware of how difficult and challenging it can often be for folks who've never journaled, to write even a few sentences much less uninterrupted for ten minutes. But you must admit, that would have been brilliant, don’t you think? It would be a good thing actually, comparatively speaking, if some of you out there were rubbing your wrists this morning because you’ve been writing for periods of time lasting well after your timers went off.
Ah well, wishful thinking but I suppose I will always look on the bright side of things, (even if it involves a little harmless bribery and subliminal message planting to advance the greater good, LOL)!!!! I was BORN THAT WAY... but it took years of hard work to bring that side of my personality to its fullest expression and fruition.
Now, for all of you who likened this ‘new activity’ (journaling that is), to having a cavity filled... I apologize, but it gets better!
I also wonder how many of you started the week prepared to fulfill your assignment and just bailed out when the going got tough. If anyone would like to confess, I'd drop my teeth if you were to post a comment and share you experience so far. After all, a little peer 'support' can do a world of good when working towards a common goal.
SO, what are we to do next?
Well, for the next couple of days, we have a simple plan. Easy to execute but again, not at all easy to pursue. People often ask me, 'What is the ultimate point of journaling Candace?' Well, I suppose that there are as many different answers to that as there are people who are doing it. Part of the ultimate goal for most of us, is definitely to grow deeper in the knowledge of who we really are. You know, the person you are when no one is really looking. When we choose To dig deep and find that we can be comfortable with much of what we find, this can be incredibly soothing. Better by far however, is working to change the things we find distasteful about our inner most being.
Here’s the sticky part. In order to change for the better, we must first have the guts to look into who we really are in the first place. Again, journaling is a key to this type of self improvement. When I mentioned earlier that I am a positive person,
(YES, A COLLECTIVE NO DUH IS FINE here folks)... I also said that it took years of work to bring that to fruition. Well, that came through really learning who I am. Not who others had told me I should be. When we stop striving to be what others expect and begin to welcome the person that God really intended us to be... well that my friends is where we begin to find peace and PEACE IS PRICELESS!
PEACE SETTLES WAR. PEACE SETTLES all kinds of WAR and in this case, your renewed inner peace will settle the war between the PERSONA you’ve felt pressured to present and the centered, whole and self assured person YOU were ultimately designed to be! SO, for this assignment... the timer remains the same; 10 minutes. If you are one who is chomping at the bit, be patient and next time, I promise I'll cut you loose. Others of you who have also accepted this challenge are thinking, "THANK YOU," because you’ve been struggling through five! However, this time I have a framework for you to work within. A template to follow, so to speak.
Begin as usual. Go to your quiet place. Be still, be patient and settle yourself. Then, with your journal in your lap, or on your desk and pen in hand—exhale the words “THANK YOU!" Then literally WRITE THOSE WORDS…
"Thank You." Next, just write as you have been for a few minutes, reflecting on all the things you are grateful for and then… I’d like you to save some of your time and add a few lines about what you would want people to say about you, after you’ve left this earth. YIKES! “Oh great Candace… THANKS. As if this wasn’t already excruciating enough, you’re asking us to face our own mortality... you gotta be kidding!" I know, that’s a cheery thought, right? Well, I hear you. However, I even do this exercise when teaching corporate workshops and it’s really touching every time I watch businessmen and women, CEOs, COOs, CFOs and everyone in between, begin to tear up as they really allow themselves to consider the assignment.
You see, as you begin to pen these words, you are brought face-to-face with the reality of whether or not what you hope people will say about you, closely matches the way you feel you are living! When you allow yourself to truly go there, at the end of that self discovery is a matchless reward; not only for yourself, but for those you deeply love. This prize is only available to those of us who dare to tread deeply in the waters where most won’t often go! If you truly allow yourself to give this assignment even a few minutes of your time, it will begin to change you… to the better I might add. When considered often enough, it changes us in real tangible, ultra rewarding ways. Trust me, you may try and bail on this one but I pray that you WON’T!
Once you have spent some time really reflecting on this and bringing your thoughts to paper, in reality you are creating a template for how you should be living. When how you live, begins to meld more closely with who YOU’VE realized that you really want to be... then my friend, you will begin to truly experience more than a life that consists of just going through the motions. THIS IS THE FOUNDATION OF AN ABUNDANT LIFE!!
An ABUNDANT life is lived High above and beyond all circumstances, with joy, contentment and PEACE. Something we can only achieve by asking ourselves the hard questions!!!!!
By focusing on living life this way, (generated by a new way of THINKING), you can literally take a life that was once CONTROLLED by stress and make it nothing but a distant memory. Oh, we'll still have to deal with it and deal with it daily. Stress that is. Did you read Monday's post? But, if we are living in the PRESENT; focused and working daily to live and become who we know we were intended to be—then stress can be handled with the greatest of ease.
When we live in opposition to who we really want to be, to who we really ultimately CAN BE… we are STRESSED already. From the inside out! TRYING TO PUT ON AN AIR and just going with the societal flow, isn't any kind of flow at all.
It's only through deep, self discovery that we can actualize authentic and lasting change. When this begins to occur, we find that the nails on the chalk board of our lives are being slowly replaced with the sound of our own quiet still breathing and the soothing sounds of the heart beats of the ones we love the most... including our own.
Oh and to answer the question, "What is MY ultimate goal in journaling?" Well, my ultimate goal is this:
“PRACTICING THE ART OF BEING PRESENT"—So that I can do all I can, TO LIVE A LIFE that brings PEACE; Not only to myself, but to those around me.
Until Part IV, our final installment.... remember,
The difference between ordinary people and extraordinary people, is that
The Extraordinary people are the ones who are willing to do what ordinary people won’t!
And Power On….