By using the journalling process and daily writing, we begin to sort through the differences between our real feelings, which are often secret, and our official feelings, those on the record for public display. Official feelings are often indicated by the phrase, "I feel okay about that [the job loss, him dating someone else, my mom's death,...]
What do we mean by "I feel okay"? Journalling can make you get specific. Does "I feel okay" mean I feeling resigned, accepting, comfortable, detached, numb, tolerant, pleased, or satisfied? What does it mean?
Okay is a blanket word for most of us. It covers all sorts of squirmy feelings; and it frequently signals a loss. We officially feel okay, but do we?
At the root of a successful recovery is the commitment to puncture our denial, to stop saying, "It's okay" when in fact it's something else. Daily journalling presses us to answer what else.
Many people tend to neglect or abandon journal writing whenever an unpleasant piece of clarity is about to emerge. Extreme emotions of any kind, the very thing that daily writing is superb for processing, are the usual triggers for avoiding the writing itself.
Over any considerable period of time, journalling becomes a spiritual chiropractor.
It helps you to realign your values. If we are to the left or the right of our personal truth, the pages will point out the need for a course adjustment. We will become aware of our drift and corect it - if only to hush the pages up. The process of expressing ourselves on the pages inevitably involves loss as well as gain. We discover our boundaries, and those boundaries by definition separate us from our fellows. As we clarify our perceptions, we lose our misconceptions. As we eliminate ambiguity, we lose illusion as well. We arrive at clarity, and clarity creates change.
But not without a tantrum.
And not without a kriya, a Sanskrit word meaning a spiritual emergency or surrender. Perhaps they should be spelled crias because they are cris of the sould as it is wrung through changes.
We all know what a kriya looks like: a bad case of the flu right after you've broken up with your lover; the rotten head cold and broncial cough that announces you've abused your health to meet an unreachable work deadline. Always significant, frequently psychosomatic, kriyas are the final insult our psyche adds to our injuries: "Get it?" a kriya asks you.
Get it? You can't stay with the abusive lover.
You can't work at a job that demands 80 hours a week.
You can't rescue a sister who needs to save herself.
In twelve-step groups, kriyas are often called surrenders. People are told just let go. And they would if they knew what they were holding onto. Journalling pages round up the usual suspects. They mention the small hurts we prefer to ignore, the large successes we've failed to acknowledge. In short, these pages point the way to reality: this is how you're feeling; what do you make of that?
People frequently believe the creative life is grounded in fantasy. The more difficult truth is that creativity is grounded in reality, in the particular, the focused, the well observed or specifically imagined.
As we lose our vagueness about our self, our values, our life situation, we become available to the moment. It is there, in the particular, that we contact the creative self. Until we experience the freedom of solitude, we cannot connect authentically.
As we gain - or regain - our creative identity, we lose the false self we were sustaining. The loss of this false self can feel traumatic: "I don't know who I am anymore. I don't recognize me." Remember that the more you feel yourself to be terra incognita, the more certain you can be that the healing process is working.
Shifts in taste and perception frequently accompany shifts in identity. One of the clearest signals that something healthy is afoot is the impulse to weed out, sort through, and discard old clothes, papers and belongings.
When the search-and-discard impulse seizes you, 2 cross currents are at work: the old you is leaving and grieving, while the new you celebrates and grows strong. As with any rupture, there is both tension and relief. Long-seated depression breaks up like an ice flow. Long-frozen feelings thaw, melt, cascade, flood, and often overrun their container (you).
You may find yourself feeling volatile and changeable. You are.
Be prepared for bursts of tears and of laughter. A certain giddiness may accompany sudden stabs of loss. Think of yourslef as an accident victim walking away from the crash: your old life has crashed and burned; your new life isn't apparent yet. You may feel yourself to be temporarily without a vehicle. Just keep walking.
If this description sounds dramatic, it is only to prepare you for possible emotional pyrotechnics. You may not have them. Your changes may be more like cloud movements, from overcast to partly cloudy. No matter which form your growth takes, there is another kind of change, slower and more subtle, accumulating daily whether you sense its presence or not.
"Nothing dramatic is happening to me. I don't think the process is working." This coming from someone whom, from my perspective, is changing at the speed of light. This is a form of denial that can tempt us to abort the healing process that "isn't happening" to us. And yet it is.
When we have engaged the creator within to heal us, many changes and shifts in our attitudes begin to occur.
Changes in energy patterns. Your dreams become stronger and clearer, both by night and by day. You find yourself remembering your nighttime dreams, and by day, daydreams will catch your attention. Fantasy, of a benign and unexpected sort, will begin to crop up.
Areas of your life that previously seemed to fit will stop fitting. You may find your candor unsettling. You hear yourself saying "I don't like that", or "I think that's great." Your tastes and judgements and personal identity will begin to show through.
You may well be experiencing a sense of both bafflement and faith. You are no longer stuck but you cannot tell where you are going. You may feel that this can't keep up. You may long for the time when there was no sense of possibility, when you felt more victimized, when you didn't realize how many small things you could do to improve your own life.
One technique that can be very reassuring at this point is to use your daily writing for written affirmation of your progress. "Put it in writing," we often say when making a deal.
There is a special power in writing out the deal we are making with our creator. "I receive your good willingly" is one that reminds us to be open to increased good during the day.
"I trust my perceptions" is another powerful affirmation to use as we undergo shifts in identity. "A stronger and clearer me is emerging."
Choose affirmations according to your need. Give yourself the assurance that explorations are permissible. "I recover and enjoy my identity."