Thank you for continuing to read Journal for Wisdom Wednesdays!
Every week I will continue to post a journal prompt on Wednesday to help guide us towards our deeper wisdom. Don’t worry, I’m pretty new to all this spiritual hoo-haa too, so I’ll be doing the journal exercises right along with you.
Even if you don’t love to write, I urge you to give it a try. If we want something we’ve never had, we have to do something we’ve never done!
Intentional journaling is a fantastic way to discover your truest self. It’s also an amazing tool to help guide us towards a future full of possibility. It reminds us of what’s important and helps to destroy all the muck we bury ourselves under day in and day out. So give it a try to see what you can dig up!
The Assignment: Discover a Deeper Gratitude
This week, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’re going to explore a deeper gratitude. It’s easy to write what you’re grateful for. We’ve all done it. I’m grateful for my family, my children, my home, my job… You know. The same old topics.
But what about the negative aspects of your life? Can we be grateful for the things that aren’t easy to be grateful for? Can we find the light in a very dark tunnel?
What could we possibly learn from life if it wasn’t a struggle?
Instead of writing a list of things you’re grateful for, write a list of things that happened in your life that you still struggle to cope with or that you consider being negative events. For example:
I got divorced
I was in a car accident
I was bullied as a child
My father was an alcoholic
I had a miscarriage
Go deep. What past experiences cause you pain?
Now, challenge yourself to find something about these negative life events you can be grateful for. Something like this:
I got divorced – If it wasn’t for my divorce, I would never have found the courage and desperation to start my own business. I am so much stronger and more independent than I ever imagined I could be.
I had a miscarriage – After my miscarriage, I discovered a beautiful community of women who supported and guided me through the pain. I met my best friend there in my support group!
My father was an alcoholic – Growing up with addiction made me a strong person who is able to fully understand the importance of helping people who struggle with addiction. That’s why I chose to be an addiction counselor, a job that I love.
Sometimes it’s very difficult to find gratitude for what may be a terrible event that happened in your life. So spend some time on this.
Think of it this way: These events may have caused you suffering, but where did they lead you? How did the direction of your life change? What did you learn? How are you a better person now through your experience?
You can’t really say, I’m so grateful I got hurt in a car accident.
What you can say is, Because I was in a car accident, my life had to slow down significantly. I was forced to really think about what’s important and how I really want to spend my days.
Does anything about your newfound gratitude surprise you? Do you feel any sense of gratitude now towards this list of “negative” life events? Why or why not? Imagine none of these things ever happened to you. What kind of person do you think you would be then? Would an important part of you be missing?
Choose an event on your list that has affected you most harshly. Circle it. Read it. Say it out loud. Write about it, if you want. Allow yourself to go back to that time. This can be quite painful, as the brain is not able to distinguish the pain of a memory from life in real-time. But if you think you’re ready, allow yourself to feel it.
Now, speak to yourself as if you’re another person, a wiser one. Give yourself permission to move one. Speak as though you’re talking to your younger self.
Say to yourself, It’s okay that (whatever happened to you). You are better now. You are stronger now. It has caused you a lot of pain but you’re ready to begin letting it go. If it wasn’t for __________, then ___________ would not have been possible.
I know this part of it feels weird and awkward but I ask you to do this because speaking your pain and acknowledging it out loud is a really important part of accepting it and moving it on. We may think we’ve gotten over it, but if all we do is think and never actually speak it, the pain will often come back to surprise us.
After you complete this exercise, report back and let me know how it went. Did you discover something new about yourself? Did you feel enlightened? Was it a form of release? What did it open up for you?
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Comment below! Share as much or as little as you like about this experience. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!