It’s hard to hear what you’re thinking.  Most of us run around with a million thoughts (or so it seems).  Things I need at the grocery, what time to be somewhere, the gas in the car, how my shoes feel, what he really thinks, that’s a good song . . .  Not to mention dealing with whatever is in front of you and what comes next.

There are a lot of thoughts going on under all the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life.  It’s difficult to know what they all are.  But these thoughts are important. They color everything we do, whether or not we’re aware of them. I sometimes see it as a running commentary: “Oh, that worked out well.  That didn’t play out the way I thought. I wonder if I can do this.” The really scary thoughts, though, are buried down deeper, under all this chatter. Things like I’m no good or people don’t really like me.

Of course, they are not true. Certainly there’s something good in me and there are people who do like me. But these thoughts have been around a long time.  And their roots run deep. The thing is that once they’re revealed, once you face them and really hear them, they lose a lot of the sting.  You can see them for what they are.

One really good way to get at these thoughts is to write.  I call it journalling, but you may call it Morning Pages, like Julia Cameron (or Writing Practice as Natalie Goldberg deems it.) Writing longhand, 3 pages of whatever is going on in your head.  Julia suggests the morning because it’s a good idea to get all that out before you start your day. But also because it tends to be quiet and there is less activity in your brain.

It does take time.  Sometimes you need more than 3 pages. And you need, most of all, to feel safe doing this.  Know that this is for your eyes only.  No one else need read it.  You must have a certain amount of trust to pursue the mining.

It’s about allowing yourself to be completely honest. To be able to say things like, “I’m not sure I really like him.”  Or “Doing that really makes me feel good!”  Perhaps, “I didn’t handle that well.  She pisses me off and I reacted too fast.  Maybe next time I’ll try to think first before I speak.”  You might also try to explore why you felt the way you dind when someone reacted to you.  The more you can partake in this monologue, the deeper you can go, the more you will learn about yourself.

Talking to someone else, especially a credentialed person, definitely helps.  But most of us don’t feel compelled to seek that kind of help.  This is free and doesn’t entail a lot of effort on your part. I believe that thinking doesn’t work because you can think yourself into circles. Writing is the key.  Nothing beats seeing it for yourself, on paper.

Some of those floating thoughts in my mind tell me that I have so many things I need to take care of.  When I take the time to write them down, I often find it’s really more like 2 or 3 things.  The others being easy, part of one of the two or something I can do tomorrow.  Saying it out loud can be powerful, but nothing gives more clarity than the written word.

You have little chance of changing a situation and zero chance of changing others, but you can change yourself.  And deep knowledge of yourself is how you do it.  Writing is the key to unlock your secrets.  It there anything more valuable than understanding yourself?

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