How do I keep a record of how I am moving on in my own journey? First of all, I wrote a book, The Feisty Woman’s Guide to Surviving Mr. Wonderful, that details my healing journey and the similar journeys of other women who are moving on with their lives after a pain-filled un-engagement, separation, or divorce.
To help me continue this journey, I started journaling. Both words come from the same French root meaning “daily.” If we want to understand our daily journey, the best way is to keep a journal most days. Mine has helped me to continue my healing, to release my negative thoughts, feelings, and memories and to let go of the pain, to forgive, and to move on with my life. It has been just as valuable to me as was the writing of my first book. And yes, another one is on the way as this feisty woman and others continue their journeys, all with the 12 laws of karma directing their recoveries.
So ladies, I now offer a few of the pluses of journaling for me and possibly for all feisty ladies everywhere. Maybe a third book will come out of this writing.
1. It detailed the beginning of my healing journey. My first journals, long ago destroyed in a healing service (a bonfire), would have scared me if I were to read them today. I was so upset, hurt, and angry about my unengagement and I lashed out in every way that I could—on paper. Better on paper than in reality, for sure. I never reread them. They were just too filled with rage, hurt, and gloom and were totally depressing. The day I burned them, I could feel some of the anger rising from my heart with the smoke and flames. I placed the journal ashes in my garden. You should just see my flower garden today. Wow! The flowers are blooming in all their glory, sort of like me, I think.
2. The journals provided me a safe means to release my feelings, thoughts, and memories. As I started to write, many things emerged into the light that I did not even remember. I could write what I wanted to say or exactly how I felt. I could curse, scream though my words, or just cry with no judgment at all. Still, it hurt like hell. I eventually realized that this break-up had been a long time coming; I was just ignoring the inevitable. As I wrote, I decided that it was much better finding out sooner than later, which would have been worse, I am sure, because I would have been that much more invested in my emotions, my time, and my support for him. All of this, I came to realize, was wasted energy for me. It took me a long time to realize this, but the writing in my journal led to my letting go of Mr. Wonderful and all of the things that I never received from him: total love, support, and encouragement, to name a few. Did I mention that he never complimented anything I did? Today I spend my energies on my friends, family members, and people who generally appreciate all that I do for them. Sounds about right. They also let me know that I look really snazzy in a new outfit.
3. Many things have since appeared in my journal writing that I have now worked through and have been healed from, namely a divorce, deaths in my family, and loss of any sort. As these often-forgotten subjects of my sadness came up in my writing, I thought that some of those memories were long buried. Sadness begets sadness, I think, and there they were. My journaling has been cathartic, cleansing, and curing in so many ways as I dealt with the hurts and grief of my past. I wrote about those events and released those thoughts and feelings on paper. Those written words allowed me to “let it rip,” to say and feel whatever I wanted, and that is just what I did. It was okay to hurt but never to let it consume me. I soon realized that the time for that was past. Forgiveness for the losses and the sadness was my very own therapy, especially when those losses sometimes hit me late at night, a time way beyond the hours of any therapist. I just got out my pen and wrote in my journal until I fell asleep. I felt so much better the next morning and never reread any of my entries. I let the words absorb my grief and those words allowed me to “let it go,” long before those words were used in any hit song!
4. I like to help people, as we all do. Journaling helped me heal the bruises and bumps of my life. But no partner, including my Mr. Wonderful, should ever need as much help as he did. He was the neediest person that I had ever met. My needs were always secondary to his. Today, I help those who need and are grateful for my help, but most of all I have helped myself to become the kind, compassionate, thoughtful, and loving person that I have always been. I came to love myself again. Who could ask for more than that?
5. I energized my own voice and became a true feisty woman once again. It did take time, though, for me to embrace the great life that I already had. For this reason, I started a “gratitude journal” and every night I write down five things that I am thankful for. The entries range from a beautiful sunset, an email or text from a friend, to a great chocolate bar, to a kind word from a stranger, or a pleasant drive home from work (that can be a real accomplishment, to say the least). Some days I can write more than five things; others days five great things will be a “stretch.” What a great way to end my day!
6. Research says that journaling can lower your blood pressure. We all know that stress is ever-present in our lives and contributes to the high blood pressure numbers that afflict so many people I know. It also contributes to a lack of sleep, weight loss or weight gain, cranky moods, and poor concentration, just to name a few side effects of stress. Studies show that for many people, stress is worse in the evening. I imagine that we “pilers” accumulate stress throughout the day without letting some of those stresses go. (Just “brush it off” as one of my friends says, while making a sweeping motion on her shoulder. I am trying to do this, with slow progress.) Journaling in the evening can, I believe, be perhaps the best way to lower this stress. By adding five items to that “gratitude journal” every evening, you can be writing your way into healing. I also practice my very own deep breathing exercises to calm me down. A cup of tea may help as well.
So, feisty ladies, be healed and transformed through your journaling. Offer forgiveness. Allow your pain to pass. Allow yourself to be the feisty lady that you have always been. The world needs more women like us!
Get out those blank journals and start writing right now, feisty ladies.
It works for me and can work for you.