Friday, December 11, 2015

Week 2 - LEARN TO JOURNAL IN 4 WEEKS

We've arrived at week #2 of our beginning course on learning to journal in four weeks. How are you doing so far with getting in the habit of writing everyday, about something?  I see in Artful Writing that some of you may have already experienced some emotional turmoil about some of our first seven prompts.

                                              "Live in peace in a time of stress"

Quite frankly, I didn't expect that the first seven prompts would elicit such a response.  When I created them, they seemed benign enough.  I certainly realize that many people, including myself, did not have the happiest of childhoods, and I am not always willing or able to discuss some of these situations with myself on a given day.  Regardless of the specificity of any prompt, if the day's prompt is too painful for you to address this early on in your writing, perhaps let it spark something that isn't.  Look for a positive thought or memory within the prompt. Think about the prompt in a different way, or write about something entirely different on that day.  The prompts are just sparks and ideas intended to get you to think, and to write about your emotions, feelings and experiences.  Being real and honest with yourself, in a way that perhaps you have never done before, truly can be one of the most cathartic and healing experiences of your life. Today might not be that day for you, or even tomorrow.

If a prompt brings up painful or hurtful emotions in you, just write about how you feel at the moment.  You don't have to respond to the prompt directly.  Too often we allow conditioned responses from our past to control our present.  We can't help it.  It is human nature, I think, to want to avoid hurt and pain.  But realistically, without addressing hurt, pain, anger and all the black emotions we hold within us, we can't ever find the light, or the peace that dwells in all of us, or go to the sunny place where we are wholly content with ourselves, our lives and our futures.  At least talking openly and honestly with yourself in your journal, you're coming to grips with this turmoil on an adult level, with adult responses.  Sure, you may cry a river of tears when it all comes pouring out the end of your pen.  I love a good, healing cry myself. It helps me.  But if now is not the time, make a mental note to address how you feel right at that moment on another day.  There have been many nights when I have journaled about an emotional situation in my life, that I cried the entire time I was writing. But afterwards, my heart seemed healed somehow.  Maybe not fully or completely, but at least part of me came to grips with some of it.  And hopefully that day will arrive for you as well.

My best advice to you:  Just keep writing. Keep thinking. Keep exploring the real you...you know, the one you know is inside you that you are secretly hiding and you're not letting her fully out in the open.  How can I improve my life?  How can this cleansing or purging of thoughts and emotions benefit me in the long run?  You will ultimately benefit emotionally and spiritually by addressing these deep and personal issues.  Everyday is not a big emotional day. We want you to just write, the good with the bad, along with lighthearted, creative writing that frees your spirit from the societal constraints that are placed upon us in our daily lives.  Hang in there if you're already having trouble. It gets easier, I promise.  Something just resonated within your soul. You poked a smoldering fire that has been simmering in there, likely for a long time.  It's not going to go away, but you can plan to address it later, when you're more prepared to handle it.  I and we, are always here to provide you with emotional support and encouragement when you need it. Never be afraid to ask for help. So far, the members of Artful Writing are showing their willingness to be supportive and offer encouraging words and some sage advice to those of you who are facing some difficulties.  Lean in. Listen. I believe encouragement and support from others is a viable and important tool in a healing arsenal.

I'm excited to present your prompts for this coming week.  This week, we're going to address how to explore a little more deeply within yourself, how to cut this into manageable chunks of thought process time through the aid of lists and brainstorming, and have a couple of more inane writing prompts, just to get you in the habit of writing.  You don't have to start at the first prompt, or even follow the prompts exactly, or at all. Just write.  But consider really responding to some of these prompts this week. 

As always, if you have some raw journaling from this week you don't ever want anyone to read or see, consider collage options or arting over the words, leaving something to peek out or remind you of the writing.  Keep clipping & putting powerful or emotional images into your "envelope" just for this purpose. Put a hashtag on the lower corner of your journal perhaps with a keyword. Consider magazine images that represent the emotions or feelings you had, or how the writing made you feel.  You could even art over this particular day's writing entirely, and feel safe that your private thoughts are secure.

Find this week's new prompts HERE.  Enjoy the journey.

Happy writing!

ARTFUL CHICKS
~Betty


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