On the journey of finding myself, I realized how little I knew myself. I was a daughter, sister, friend, wife – fragmented into these many roles, these labels that were all a part of me. But underneath those labels, who was I?
I remember, in a moment of despair, tearing up a photograph of myself into pieces and sticking them down randomly to represent the fragmentation that I felt within. That was one of my lowest points, around 12 years ago.
As I struggled to put those pieces together, the thing that helped me the most was writing. More specifically, writing morning pages – a practice I picked up from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. She recommends writing 3 pages, longhand, first thing in the morning. No thinking. It’s not a journal or a diary or any creative or literary masterpiece. It is, quite literally, a dump – a brain dump.
All the gunk and junk, the rage, fear, anger, hopelessness, despair, blocks, criticism, whatever it is – just vomit it on the page. And then stick those pages into an envelope or a folder and don’t look at them again.
Writing my way back to wholeness
When I started this practice, all I had was rage, despair, and hopelessness. For a long time, that’s all that I wrote. And then, one day, there was a small crack in that darkness, a tiny pinprick of light. Towards the end of one of those morning page rants, I wrote something about forgetting the way to my heart. The next day, a memory from when I was younger made its way on to the page. After that, there were more tiny insights that came up within the pages – memories of how I buried myself, hid pieces of myself, denied my yearnings. All of those tiny little pinpricks through the darkness helped me to slowly start to find my light. It still took me a long time to accept some of my yearnings, to fully embrace some of the mysterious callings of my heart. But it is from that practice that I started to knit myself back together again.
There’s a lot more to spirituality than simply focusing on healing and energy. It’s not simply about love and light. It’s also about confronting the darkness within us, what Carl Jung called the shadow self, accepting it, working through it and bringing it up into the light. It takes work and time – it’s not a linear journey – you spiral in and out through it, but as you walk this winding road, the fruits get more plentiful and sweeter.
I’ll be sharing more about the shadow self and shadow work next month. Sign up for my monthly letters if you’d like to stay in the loop. You’ll also get cool subscriber exclusives, access to the growing Wanderer’s Library, and a monthly oracle card reading delivered straight to your inbox on the first Saturday of each month.
There are so many small healing process which we can adopt to stay good and regular writing is definitely one of them . Loved reading this post and this is worth following also. Keep up the good work
Yes, that is true, Anindya. There are a lot of tools that we can use. Writing is one of the most accessible, I think!
That was a great way to find oneself. What about your earlier advice of painting?
I used morning pages long before I painted. I was a repressed artist for a very, very long time. Plus, I think writing is a lot more accessible – lot of people get scared of painting and art, sadly. Now, I use both writing and painting as ways to get in touch with myself and for self exploration and enquiry.
There’s a lot more to spirituality than simply focusing on healing and energy. It’s not simply about love and light. It’s also about confronting the darkness within us— this is so very hard, and so very true.
Yes, it sure is hard! I tried wishing my dark side away (I’m sure a lot of us have), only to learn that it really doesn’t work that way. You have to put in the work to integrate the shadow self.
Oops! did you get my comment? 🙁
No, I didn’t! 🙁
I agree that writing is cathartic and that it helps folks cope with difficult circumstances. Thanks for sharing.
You’re very welcome!
I have read The Artist’s Way and the morning pages is what I did too, and it helped me tremendously, in not just unburdening myself and my thoughts, but also getting into the habit of writing.
I am happy you could find your voice, find yourself and move out of the darkness. So many of us find it difficult to put the jigsaw puzzle together and wither away along with time! 🙁
The Artist’s Way is a lovely book, isn’t it? I’ve been thinking of redoing it again, soon! The thing with the darkness is that it is a recurrent theme, at least in my opinion. There are times when it seems all consuming, and at others, we are able to move past it quicker. But yes, at times it can seem almost impossible to put the jigsaw pieces back together.
I guess all of us have atleast been in this phase my dear at some point in time and the journey ahead had not been easy but truly eventful. I could relate to every world you wrote dear.
That’s true. Most of us go through such phases. Glad you liked the post.
Writing sometimes brings out those odd feelings and forgotten memories that our subconscious manages to hide.
I like reading about your personal journey and how you overcame the past. Would like to know more about shadow work. I haven’t heard this term before
Yes, it often does! Which is why I keep harping on about writing!
I’ll be sharing more about shadow work next month. It’s not easy – but it is very rewarding!
Confronting what bothers us is the most impressive and important thing to do. Kudos to you.
I like the idea of a writing dump on the morning. I will try it, it just may be the thing for me.
Thanks for this post. Loved it.
Do try it, and let me know if it helps! 🙂
I write as a kind of therapy after suffering a massive stroke, it helps occupy the time as well as keeping my recovering brain active#blogginggoodtime@_karendennis
I hope you feel better soon! xox
I can definitely relate. Great post. Writing does help in more ways than we realise.
It sure does! Thank you for dropping by!
You gave yourself the gift of healing. My writing heals me too. It is my therapy, my outlet. Bravo for finding yours and lucky for us, you share. <3 #mg xo
So happy to see that so many of us relate to writing as healing! <3
I love this idea. I guess I use my hubby and friends as my dump but writing it down I may be more honest or real. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime ?
hahaha! I like that – using the hubby and friends to brain dump! Writing is a lot more uncensored, I think, but of course, we are all wired differently. Talking may be more therapeutic for you!
The funny thing about this is that you don’t fully understand such roles like being a daughter until you are past the role.
That is so very true!
Wow! Such a beautifully written post. Self healing is such a hard process but well worth it for sure!
Thank you; I’m glad you liked the post. And yes, self healing can be hard, but it is very rewarding too!
There is a reason they call writing healing. Your post tells me that again. Growing up, I used to write when I was torn in the various dilemmas of being a teenager. Now I write when I’m happy. It makes a lot of difference. Glad you chose to write else how would have I met you?
Yes, writing is healing and therapeutic and all kinds of magical! <3
I found his inspiring and a little close to home. Living in this world and all that comes with it really can break you from yourself and your piece was so full of heart so full of honesty that it has already got me thinking of using my art to regain myself. Your writing is open and you can tell you have a lot of spirituality and philosophy driving your style. A really touching read.
Thank you so much. I’m so glad this post inspired you to use art to regain yourself – it does work beautifully! I often combine written journaling and art journaling to work through stickier emotions and feelings.
I 100%agree writing is an amazing healing process… ?
I started journaling (again) about a month ago. I write every now and then but getting back into the practice of writing every day (or every other day) has proven (again) to be so beneficial to me. It’s a stress reliever but also a way to work through my thoughts or just get some words down on a page. I’m finding that my journal is also a place I can be completely honest and completely creative. Thank you for the post!
I keep returning to journaling again and again. When things are going well, it sometimes falls to the wayside. But I’ve always come back to it. It’s where I find my peace and my answers.
Writing is an amazing healing process and a great stress reliever. Keep writing. I love it. It’s my passion.
It is! I do slip up from my journal practice now and again, but I always return to it. It’s the best form of self-therapy, along with art journaling!
I really like what you said about there being more to spirituality than healing and energy. It is about the yin and yan. The light and the dark. If we focus on only one side we miss out big time. The dark is usually where we don’t want to go but in fact, it is often where the gold lays. Thanks for your wonderful sharing!
Yes! It did take me a while to come to that realization. Because the love and light is so much more “attractive” than the dark and unknown. But there is so much richness in the unknown, that it would be a disservice to ourselves to not delve into it.
Thank you for sharing something so personal. I write morning pages too. It’s incredibly therapeutic.
Yes, it sure is!
Hi Shinjini, I’m glad you found such healing in the morning pages – I tried them myself a while ago but didn’t stick to it, maybe I should start again! Looking forward to hearing more about the shadow work as this is something I’m keen to learn more about xx
I have to admit I find it hard to stick to morning pages too. But I do keep coming back to them. Even if I don’t alway do 3 pages. 😉
I love to write. Sometimes (actually a lot of the time) it can be hard work and it has only been recently that I’ve started to write about me, for me. The healing and acknowledgement of self has been life changing.
Writing truly is life changing!! It’s one of the most powerful, magical tools that we all are so lucky to have!
writing and mindfulness were a huge part of what dragged me back from my deepest despair. I am so glad you began to see light papering and that you shine that on us by sharing your words xx #mg
Both are so important, aren’t they? Mindfulness is becoming a big thing for me. I’m also looking at more ritual and intentionality as ways to connect deeper and navigate life in a more heart centered way.
This is a brave post! kudos to you to open up and share the experience and how you coped with it! Kudos for trudging through and upwards! Tearing up the photo and putting it together – there is a beauty to your angst too 🙂
I look forward to reading about your shadow work & learning too.
Thank you! Beauty in angst – now that made me chuckle! But I guess that is true. 🙂
Writing without an agenda allows what is bothering us to bubble up to the surface. It is good therapy for the soul.
I had never thought about writing randomly- but I see the immense benefits of pouring out one’s mind. Thanks for this soul stirring post
Loved reading your post and I think I’m going to start morning writing too.. I’m so glad I came across your blog.. going to bookmark it for my regular reads
Thank you so much! xx
I wont say I am an avid journal writer but i do write sometimes and it does help 🙂
Such a lovely post Shinjini. Interesting to know about the brain dump first thing in the morning – need to try that. I can so relate to the sense of hopelessness and dealing with the darkness within. How beautifully you have described about the shadow self being like a spiral and not a linear journey. I’m curious to know more. Your blog reflects a lot of beauty and creativity. Keep spreading your light!
This is intriguing and much aligned to my thoughts .. I am always interested in dealing with our emotions and reactions in a spiritual way that makes us feel at peace and connected. Following your works now.
I could totally relate to this post!