We all get down sometimes. Life has many challenges and a grey winter day does not help me transcend them.
Lately, I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed and these are the hardest times to find self-compassion and inspiration. When I have so much to do or so much to cope with, I feel so many emotions that I want to run away from. Feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, fear around uncertainty, frustration that things aren’t exactly the way that I want them to be. Then when I get tired and uninspired, I get down about feeling uninspired.
At these times, I feel like I just have to go through the motions but this is a tricky balance. I really believe that “if you’re going through hell, then keep going.” But is it just me or does hell often feel like you’re standing in quicksand or wading your way through molasses? So how do you keep going? How do you keeping moving through the molasses without getting completely exhausted?
Luckily, there are a lot of things that we can do. The polar vortex is back and we all need some inspiration so I’m going to post strategies regularly over the next couple of weeks.
STRATEGY 1: Journaling – uncensored, totally judgment free
Journaling is a great way to stay in touch with where you’re at mentally. It enhances self-awareness and can be an opportunity to unleash your creativity.
I’d like to introduce you to “Morning Pages,” a creative practice described by Julia Cameron in her book The Artists’ Way. This practice involves journaling for three pages each morning. You start writing and don’t stop. Don’t take time to think about what you’re writing. Just go go go. I did this daily for a little while and I did enjoy it. It’s not realistic for me to do it every day but I know a lot of people who have used it to get through hard times and it’s a great warm up for writing (or any work, really). It has been described as a “mental shower” and I think that’s an excellent description. It’s like clearing out the morning cobwebs. In truth, this is the approach I would recommend no matter when, where or how you are journaling.
Julia Cameron insists that this must be done in long-hand but many people online agree that it is also effective to use the computer. Whatever medium you choose, just remember not to edit. This is not something that you are necessarily intended to revisit later. There is no reason to edit here. In fact, it defeats the purpose. If you are writing by hand, don’t worry if it’s messy. When I write by hand, I write very lightly and quickly so it’s nearly unintelligible but this allows me to protect my wrist from fatigue and maintain a good pace.
Short on time? Three pages may not be realistic for you. It isn’t for me! I, personally, journal for five minutes a day. This sometimes turns into thirty but I’m happy as long as I’ve gotten my five minutes in. It doesn’t have to be profound either. Sometimes I just end up writing how annoying it is to have to journal…and other days I learn a lot about myself, refocus and devise plans. Either way, when I sit down to journal, I’m not striving for quantity or quality per se. For me, it’s just about doing it and seeing what happens.
To read more about Morning Pages or Julia Cameron:
Journaling… I’ll have to get back on track with this. The polar vortex can wear a girl down! At first it’s easy to think of journaling as ‘just another thing to do,’ another burden amidst all of the other items on my to do list. But I do see the potential benefits. I don’t know why things like journaling, exercise, meditation, even though they are good for me, I get into ruts where I find a million reasons to avoid them. Time to get back on track. Thanks for the inspiration!
My compassion for you knows no bounds. I spent seventeen years under doctor-prescribed ant-depressants. Shame and guilt was a constant oppressive and debilitating darkness that shut out Light and hope. Is there a darkness holding on to You?
Three years ago, having reached complete disgust with my dependency on those abominable drugs, I told my doctor I was going off them. He advised me to withdraw slowly. But typical of my nature I went off them in less than three weeks. The withdrawal effects were hell, but I persevered. It took two years to cleanse my body of those drugs.
My daughters, who are both Massage Therapists (RMTs), and Myofacial Release specialists(MFR) introduced me to meditation and Neale Donald Walsch’s book, “Conversations With God.” Those two inspirations began my spiritual re(?)-awakening and continued into 2013. In September I participated in the Hoffman Process retreat at Sanctum, North of Calgary, Alberta. That experience was not only an affirmation of my search for meaning, but it provided tools that spring boarded my spiritual enlightenment to a higher dimension.
With that said, I have to ask you: Why are you so hard on yourself? What in you is insisting that whatever you do, it’s not good enough? Your creativity is amazing. You pick up on ideas so quickly, and yet …. You are not seeing or accepting your Spirit. Your head seems to be trying to control the rest of you, trying to divert your attention from your beautiful Self – your Higher Self.
I know your blog is about shame; but it’s also about inspiration. And that’s not a head trip, or a poor me trap. Your inspiration is coming from Higher Self, the Divine You.
Journaling is a valuable element in getting out of your head. It is also the way to your heart. I have seen that in you. Can you accept that? And Be that?
Love and Light LK!
Thanks for sharing your experiences and your thoughts, Bill. I love your stories and questions. Why am I so hard on myself? In short, fear and habit. It’s the way I learned to “improve” myself and stay motivated. It can be very scary to be positive if that’s not what you’re accustomed to. I’m working hard to break this habit but it takes time. I’ll get there. Hopefully, we’ll all help each other get there.