7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge!
“If the only prayer you said in your whole life is “Thank You”, that would suffice.” ~ Meister Eckhart
No exploration of Writing To Heal would be complete without some focus on Gratitude practice or journaling. Gratitude practice has been one of my core healing practices for many, many years now. Sometimes I keep a special Gratitude journal. At other times, I just include a list in my daily reflection and I also practice on the spot Gratitude writing when I need to focus on the positive and shift my perspective.
I’d like to share some words on Gratitude by one of my most beloved teachers, Angeles Arrien, whose book Living In Gratitude is one I come back to again and again.
“The practice of gratitude bestows many benefits… Anger, arrogance, and jealousy melt in its embrace. Fear and defensiveness dissolve. Gratitude diminishes barriers to love and evokes happiness, keeping alive what has meaning for us.”
I’d also like to share some words by Robert Emmons, perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. Yes, there is scientific evidence that practicing Gratitude is a healing tool! Emmons explains that gratitude has two key components (Source: Greater Good essay, “Why Gratitude Is Good.”)
“First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. In the second part of gratitude, he explains,“we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”
Emmons’ findings, along with a number of other researchers, suggest that grateful people may be more likely to:
- take better care of themselves physically and mentally
- cope better with overall stress and specific challenges
- feel happier and more optimistic
- have stronger immune systems
- have healthier behaviors and better health maintenance
- get more regular exercise
- eat healthier foods
- have improved mental alertness
- maintain a brighter view of the future
- feel a greater sense of connection to self, others and the world
And, writing offers a powerful way to practice Gratitude and cultivate a grateful attitude in an ongoing way…
As today is the last day of this 7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge, I am going to suggest that you take this last prompt and utilize for an additional 7 days. The practice is to simply write a Gratitude List. List everything you are grateful for today. This may include the people in your life, successes and celebrations, things you love to do, things that inspire you, things in nature that you love, etc. It’s up to you and it can be as short or as long as you like. Especially for this first list or as a returning practice, I suggest writing stream of consciousness and taking some time to list everything and anything you feel grateful for.
Then, for the next 7 days, write a daily Gratitude List. You may wish to designate a special notebook or journal just for your gratitude practice. Some folks like to write 3 or 7 or 10 things they’re grateful for everyday or just keep going. I have been in some wonderful groups where we share our gratitudes in an online group and we’d start with 1 on the 1st of the month and add one for each day of the month finishing with 30 or 31. Be creative! Create your own Gratitude practice and see what emerges!
I hope you have enjoyed this 7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge. I plan to do some more throughout the year with different themes. You may wish to take some time today to reflect on your writings and how taking this time has supported you in cultivating greater self-compassion. Sometimes just giving ourselves the time and space to be open and present with ourselves is all that is needed! I encourage you to continue to explore what has arisen here for you and most of all, I honor you for be willing to connect with and explore YOU on a deeper level!
If you are interested in continuing to explore, tomorrow is the opening of Writing To Heal ~ Transforming Our Grief, Loss & Change 30 Day Online Writing Program Co-Facilitated with Andrea Hylen. This time of year, as we enter Autumn, is one that is very connected to the feelings of loss and grief as well as transformation. We can see that with the leaves turning and falling, the cooler days coming and the shorter amount of daylight each day. In many traditions, this is a time to connect with and honor our ancestors and lineages.
I am excited to be diving into this container with the Autumn Equinox and our program begins with an Autumn Equinox Ceremony and Telegathering tomorrow, 9/21, at 3 PM Eastern Time. This will give us some time to invite in an intention for the 30 days of Writing To Heal and daily prompts will begin on 9/23. There will be 3 Teleclasses to support the journey as well as a private Facebook community group for sharing. I’d love for you to join me as you feel called to!
To learn more or register, visit http://healmyvoice.org/30-day-writing-program/. Registration remains open through 9/28 prior to our first official Teleclass. And, feel free to contact me if you’d like to learn more.
Once again, thank you for taking this journey with me to discover the healer within through self-reflection and writing! It is a joy to have you as part of The Heart Of Awakening Blog Community.
Love & light,