Last week I shared about how connecting with our inner intuitive wisdom is key to healing and inner peace, especially when negotiating any chronic challenge. One of the most powerful tools I use myself and share with all my clients to connect with our inner wisdom is writing. In fact, one of the first homework assignments for my clients is to purchase a journal. While having an online electronic journal is of course also great, there is something very powerful in writing the old-fashioned way.
When we sit down with a journal or just put pen to paper, we get away from time spent in front of screens. I note in myself that just the physical act of writing in my journal begins the process of unplugging and unwinding. This is something we all so need and crave- and is essential to our overall health and well-being.
Recently, one of my clients told me that she had a journal but felt she was not a writer so she resisted writing or found herself often judging what she wrote. I shared with her that we need not use our journaling time to write stories or great pieces of literature- unless we feel inspired to do so. ? Rather, the writing I assign is called expressive writing- where I encourage my clients to write down their innermost thoughts, feelings and ideas about any challenge that is facing them. I see writing as a wonderful way to empty the mind so that we can access our deeper intuitive wisdom that is waiting for us beneath all the surface clutter and chatter.
Studies1 have linked expressive writing with improvements in mood and well-being along with decreased stress levels and reduced depressive symptoms. Other positive benefits include lower blood pressure, improved lung and liver functioning and decreased time spent in the hospital. Expressive writing may even help with post-traumatic stress disorder. Other studies show that spending 15 minutes a day writing down specifically all that you are grateful for can improve sleep quality and quantity.
So, if you are already doing this, I would say keep going! Make it a daily activity or something that you do at least a few times a week. Even fifteen minutes a day is sufficient. But don’t be surprised if you start to want to do more! ?
To support those of you that perhaps are not writing on a regular basis or feel a bit resistant to start, here is a wonderful writing process to empty the mind and connect to your inner wisdom. I do this process myself and find that it really helps me come to clarity. Many clients have experienced powerful shifts as well.
- First, make a clear commitment in your mind that you want to cultivate a connection with your inner wisdom. Your desire for this connection is key and very powerful. Remember, this is a process and by making the commitment, you are saying that you are willing to devote time and energy to this connection because it is of value to you.
- Set aside a time daily when you are going to spend time with yourself. Make an appointment and keep it, just like you would with a friend. Your inner wisdom is your most trusted friend, your greatest advisor. So, you want to show up ready to share and listen. That means without any other distractions. No phones, no internet, no beepers, no TV, no computers, no Facebook, Instagram or other social media. You would want to set aside about fifteen to twenty minutes to start and if you can do more, that is great too.
- Have a journal where you can record your thoughts.
- Choose one issue that you would like more clarity about so that you don’t get overwhelmed. Having one issue makes it easier to discern the inner guidance.
- On the left-hand side page of the journal, write out all the ideas you have in your mind about this issue. For example, let’s say that you are debating about a decision you need to make with respect to an issue. Instead of analyzing the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’- just empty your mind about all the ideas you have. Why you want to do something, or why you feel you don’t want to do something, or what your fears are about letting something go, etc., etc., etc. Write it all out. Your thoughts, emotions, and beliefs about this issue. Don’t filter anything. Write from a space of nonjudgment- just allowing all your thoughts and ideas to come up. This is the process of clearing and emptying the mind so it is important to be honest and transparent. Your inner wisdom is your most trusted friend. So, you are free to share anything and everything. ?
- Once you feel like you have really emptied yourself and feel a sense of completeness, just allow yourself to pause. Just sit with what you wrote. Does anything surprise you? Do you see anything that you did not see before?
- One of the best ways to engage your inner wisdom is to be like a student who asks questions of a wise inner teacher. Here are some questions that I find are really helpful:
- What is that I need to learn here?
- How can I understand this situation differently?
- What do I need to let go of here? What is it that I am holding on to?
- I often will directly talk to my inner wisdom and say something like this:
Inner Wisdom, please help me to see this situation clearly in the way that serves my highest good and the highest good of everyone involved. I don’t know the right course of action in this situation or even the next step. But I do know that You have all the answers I need, so please guide me. Please guide my mind, direct my thoughts, and actions so that I am in alignment with You as I move forward. Thank you for being there for me always!
- Write out any insights you receive on the opposite right-handed page. This is coming from a deeper place inside you. It may not make logical sense so don’t worry if you are not sure or have doubts. Just allow and don’t judge.
- Based on any insights you receive, you may feel prompted to take some action. It could be a phone call. It could be an inspiration to watch a movie or meet with a friend or send an email. Or perhaps you get a sense to just wait and do nothing. Or perhaps you don’t get anything but you feel a sense of comfort, like you have unburdened what was in your heart and on your mind to a trusted friend. Don’t worry if you don’t ‘hear’ anything. You may get clarity or insight later in the day, or later that week when you are most relaxed and open to listen. I believe that our inner wisdom ALWAYS answers. But sometimes the answers wait to be heard, like a letter from a friend that was mailed and received but not yet opened. In time, you can trust that things will be clear.
- Finally, stay open, and have fun as you strengthen your bond with your inner wisdom! ?