I’m working on some new material for a course I’m putting together for you and I’ve been exploring the idea of what makes us ‘go deep’ while we write in our journals.
WHAT DO I MEAN BY _________?
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, or you’ve taken any of my courses, you know that I have long asked you to use the Go Deeper Question “What do I mean by…?” to bring you beneath the surface of the words you write. For example, if I write, “I am afraid of the unknown,” I would ask myself, “What do I mean by, I’m afraid of the unknown?” As soon as I asked that question of myself, I heard, “I am afraid of not being in control.” And I could keep asking “what do I mean by...?” until I get to the deeper meaning of my fear (I have used this method to trace this fear of the unkown to its root fear: success).
JOURNALING TO HEAL IS A JOURNEY
Both journal and journey have their origins in the Latin diurnum ‘daily portion,’ from the Latin diurnus (see diurnal). All this fancy talk means is when we journal to heal, we are taking a journey. We go deep, to the core, and come back from the depths with a new sense of who we are.
I’ve also used the the term ‘spiral’ many times to illustrate the process we take when we spiral down into the depths of our pain. It’s not a plunge, it’s a gentle path, with a fairly easy decline to the depths. Each time we write we circle around and around our pain until eventually our heart tells us the depth of it. I believe our heart is filled with so much love for us, it would not tell us more than we could handle in each swing around the core.
But, the word 'spiral' has some connotations that I’m not very comfortable with — downward spiral, spiraling out of control, tornado, twister, spiraling… not pretty and not comforting.
But the labyrinth is neither positive nor negative. It simply is.
Labyrinths are ancient structures found all over the world. The oldest known labyrinth was constructed in Syria over 3000 years ago.
The labyrinth has only one path and you can’t get lost in it (unlike a maze with its dead ends and tricks). There are many types of labyrinths, but personally, I am partial to the classic “Cretan’ labyrinth, which I’m showing you here. It’s also called a 7-circuit labyrinth for its seven layers. (More information on labyrinths)
The labyrinth can be likened to the spiritual journey to our own center and back again out into the world. To walk the labyrinth is meant to be a form of meditation and prayer and reflects our journey through life in that present moment.
The first time I walked a labyrinth, I was worried about doing it right, getting lost, and not getting the message I needed to hear. But walking a labyrinth is a right brain task — it’s an intuitive, creative, listening journey that requires an open mind. Before I walk the labyrinth, I set my intention, which is usually to hear what I need to know. The walk to the centre putting one foot in front of the other is calming and puts me in an open state where I hear advice from my higher self — often hidden in the words to popular songs. Yep, that’s right. Once I heard “Living is easy with eyes closed. Misunderstanding all you see,” from the Beatles song, Strawberry Fields. It was, of course, a message to open my eyes and see the signs that were meant to guide me. They are everywhere.
The labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
"Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path... exactly where you are meant to be right now... And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love." — Caroline Adams (author of Creating Your Best Life)
WALKING THE LABYRINTH WITH A PEN
I’ve wondered if following the path of the labyrinth while writing would give me the same feeling of deep, meditative concentration and ‘flow’ (that state where we lose track of time, are completely focused on the task at hand, and connected with our higher selves) that I get when I physically walk a labyrinth? So, I decided to give it a try. At first, I was focused on my excitement around wanting it to work as a tool to help you to find answers on your journey. Without realizing it, I very quickly got caught up in keeping my pen on the path, following its twists and turns. I as writing and listening, but not really paying attention to the words that came to me.
I was a bit disappointed when I got to the middle writing, “Hmmmm… no answers here,” paused momentarily, then began writing my way back out the way I came. By the first hairpin turn, I realized the answer I was seeking had come to me at the very beginning of my journey and that there were answers within answers if only I was present enough to see them.
“I will never stop journaling because I will never stop searching for answers . I am a seeker. A finder of truths that make me more and more full.”
“Why do I continuously reach for perfection in a life that is filled with imperfection? Or is it? Perhaps this is perfection at its highest. Every moment I have lived, every misstep I think I have taken has actually led me closer to who I am meant to be — who I signed on to be in this lifetime. There is no right or wrong, just the unwavering forward motion that is life.”
This makes me very excited! It’s another tool to offer you for your own journey through your fears. I hope you give it a try and find it as inspiring as I have.
kathy mercure is a storyhealer, storylistener, and writer. Her life’s work is to gently draw stories from her students and help them unblock their writing, find their voice, and heal their lives. Her passion is to support women and men in realizing their true identity as a valued human being, claiming their passions, and speaking their truth as they become their most authentic selves. (Photo by EagleSpirit Soul Shots)