There is a lot swirling in me these days, a lot that is churning and changing. It is slowly settling in to my consciousness that I am in fact now a mother of two. That there are two little people who every day need me a lot. I am trying to find time for myself, my body, my marriage, the baby and the preschooler, my work, my home, my friends, my extended family, my country. And time keeps slipping right through my fingers.
I am often up in the middle of the night – because the baby wakes up to eat, or because the pacifier got stuck under her ear, or she rolled and startled herself – and I haven’t yet mastered the skill of falling asleep on cue, the moment she’s asleep again. It’s not just that the adrenaline from her waking cry is still flowing through me, it’s also that once awakened my soul can’t resist staying up in a silent house – something that is almost never offered to me in the daytime.
Sometimes, now, when the house is silent and I can’t sleep, I write. My body needs the sleep but my soul needs the writing. I write my check-in with myself. Where I am now. What is hurting. What is unclear. What is becoming clear. Sometimes, I just write what happened today – the moments or words I want to capture, or experience again.
I haven’t journaled like this, plain and simple writing for me, in a while. I’ve been reminded at how magical it is.
This week’s practice is my passing on the reminder: to write. Write how you are feeling, what’s happening, where you are.
You know, it’s not just subjective, anecdotal experiences of journaling that suggest it is incredibly healing. There are a host of studies that show it.
In one study, people who wrote about a difficult emotional experience in their lives for just a few days in a row, for just 15-20 minutes a day, experienced these benefits, among others :
• Fewer stress-related visits to the doctor
• Improved immune system functioning
• Reduced blood pressure
• Improved mood/affect
• Feeling of greater psychological well-being
• Reduced depressive symptoms before examinations
• Reduced absenteeism from work
• Quicker re-employment after job loss
• Improved working memory
• Improved sporting performance
• Higher students’ grade point average
Seriously, if there was a drug on the market you could take for three days to get these benefits, it would be considered one of the greatest drugs ever invented.
Expressive writing is not so well marketed because it’s free and free to all, but it is very good medicine indeed.
This week – and I hope, every week – you’ll take time to write about what you are feeling, what is happening in your life, what is murky and what is rough.
Let your pen take you where you need to go. I’d love to hear about your experience in our Weekly Practice Facebook group.