What's Your Medicine

There's so much stuff we can do for ourselves, to make us feel a little better. We can try things and become more skilled at knowing which medicine works, and when.

In the workshop I ran last Sunday we did guided writing, where I asked a question and the group had time to use writing as a way to explore an answer. It's a therapeutic experience because what comes out on paper can be a much more ordered version of what’s in our jumbled, overwhelmed minds. Or what comes out is disordered and jumbled but our minds feel clearer and more spacious afterwards.

When our conscious and semi conscious thoughts and feelings go down on paper, they sometimes surprise us. They draw out themes or make us remember things we know deep down. It is kind of a gift, someone asking you a question about your experiences and allowing you space and time to explore it. 

Outside of a workshop, is this a gift you can offer yourself? I’ve kept journals sporadically throughout my life but the habit always fell away. I think I struggled with it because I was too concerned about it being presentable or palatable to myself or my future self who would read it or anyone else who would come snooping.

Something that’s stuck a little more for me are “morning pages”. This approach is from Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way, a book about unblocking creativity. The idea is that you fill 3 pages (ideally first thing in the morning but any time is good) with freely written, unselfconscious words. It can be about anything because it’s the process not the product that matters.

It doesn’t have to be neat or tidy or spelled correctly or make any sense or be nice or rational or kind. It can be full of fear or fury or sadness or joy or frustration or excitement. You can even chuck the pages away afterwards if you want. 

Sit for a few minutes and scrawl freely. Just for you, right now. It doesn’t matter if nothing much comes out. See how it feels to try and turn on the tap. See how you feel afterwards. In my experience it's almost always better, a little more aware, a little more conscious. A little more ready to face the day.