Journaling Through Life's Transitions

Journaling Through Life’s Transitions

A Vision Book of Words to Find Happiness after Recovering from Loss, Heartache, or the Unexpected 


There’s not a person on this earth who’s immune to change, transition, or suffering. Every single one of us have times in our lives when suddenly we are in the throes of chaos, or loss, or change of heart… and it turns our world upside down.

I know, because suddenly, without warning, my life changed. My beautiful 16-year old son came home from school complaining of a headache and a fever. The doctor diagnosed him with the flu. But it wasn’t. I found him the next morning, lifeless. The misdiagnosis was a swift and deadly form of bacterial meningitis. Sometime during the night, my boy was taken from me forever.

Nothing evokes a more profound life change than loss: whether it's the loss of someone you love,  or a divorce, job loss, a home, or your child being born with a birth defect… anything that strips away the life you thought you had.

At this point you have to make a choice: will you choose to go on living life, or will you remain trapped forever in a stifling world of grief; literally bound and chained to sadness?

There is a way to set forth on the path of recovery to reclaim your life, no matter how daunting it may feel. It just takes one step to start the journey.
           
It begins with the process of writing. The very nature of writing opens the brain and allows thoughts and emotions to form words on paper. And then… it releases them. It’s a way of emptying your sorrow from the well of your mind, and pouring your tears as ink onto paper. And for a little while, you can let your thoughts and emotions rest.
           
“But, how can I? I’m not a writer,” you ask. It doesn’t matter. The words aren’t important.
Even if you begin by writing just one line, your mind will send the words to your pen and they will flow onto paper.

It was an effort for me, too. When I began my grief journey, I could only write:  My son died and my life will never be the same.”
           
The next day, I wrote a paragraph, and each day after that I found words came more easily. There’s no magic secret. Just pick up a pen and begin with one word or sentence. Writing should just be on autopilot, even if you write senseless words and phrases. It’s the power of written expression that allows you to take a step away from the pain of living it… to observing it.

When we begin to translate our thoughts and emotions into language on paper, we detach it from our brain in order to write it down. It’s a tool of expression, and for me, it often took the place of tears. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or handwriting. This is for you and no one else.

Your journal is now your safe place to write you truth, reflect on the past and present, be angry, reveal weakness, scream, and pray.

Many people prefer to write on a computer. I urge you to commit to the written journal first. The very act of writing with a pen allows thoughts to flow from your brain to your fingertips, uninterrupted by things like spell check, emails coming in, and auto formatting.

My journals of healing
There’s another reason for this journal. It’s going to be your book of vision.

It’s where you’ll tell your story of past and present and your dreams for the future.  It’s your lifeline. It’s also a place to list recipes, poetry, photos, quotes, store pressed flowers, silly doodles, and dreams.

I treasure the journals I kept during the mourning of my son because I had thoughts that, to this day, astound me. It illuminated the development of my beliefs, documented my renewal, and highlighted my incredible “will” to survive.

Writing in your journal will provide a framework to monitor your resilience. Someday, you too, will look back on your journal and be astonished at how far you’ve come.

After awhile, an amazing thing begins to happen. You see hope rise up within your words. I began to write about more than just my sorrow.

The process of writing is a natural demand on the brain that awakens the “feel good” hormones to fuel your brain. This process is what people describe as the most important step in envisioning your future, actually feeling the feelings as though it has already happened. Experts tell us this is the key to manifesting your dreams into reality.

I soon realized as I watched my dreams come true, that I was creating a written vision board for my future.

This is your vision board, or your Vision Book, and it’s more powerful than magazine photos of other people’s things pasted on poster board. Writing is a way of clearing out your brain. It’ll become your living textbook in the healing process and the launch pad to your future.

You’re downloading your life, putting it in a file, and adding to the possibility and mounting evidence that future files will offer you peace  and happiness.

Spend at least 10 minutes consistently every day on your journal. It should be non-negotiable, like eating healthy food, and getting exercise.

Your healing begins today…not tomorrow, not a week from now. The quicker you take action, the quicker you’ll restore happiness to your life.

Start with this simple journaling exercise and soon you’ll have confirmation that you are, in fact, writing your future. Remember, there isn't one of us who has had a life without challenge or tragedy. It's the collection of those experiences that creates the true story of who we are. They are gifts from God that shape us, and when shared, can change other people's lives.

Here's what I know, healing is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. Without it, our tragedies cannot give us the gift of triumph.

I suffered the greatest tragedy a mother could imagine, and I survived in part by transcribing my deepest wounds into words. When I had lost all hope for joy, my journal helped me give birth to resilience and the astonishing resurrection of happiness in my life.

It can do that for you, too. Now open your new journal and write boldly on the first page:

"This is the beginning of my new life and the blank pages that lie ahead are filled with possibility."

Blessings to you,










Sandy Peckinpah is an author of several books (her newest book due out in April, "How to Survive the Worst that can Happen") Her first book, "Rosey...the imperfect angel" was recorded as a CD (with the voice of Melissa Gilbert, produced by Michael Alden, music by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra) and made it to the Grammy Ballot in 2009. She co-hosts a radio show, Passion By Design, on AM Talk Radio on KXRA. She is also an award winning real estate agent at Coldwell Banker in Southern California. She suffered tremendous losses, but she was inspired to use those losses as a platform to helping others. Visit her blog and website at www.SandyPeckinpah.com
Twitter feed @SandyPeckinpah
radio show: Sunday afternoons at 5:00 pm Pacific on http://krxa540.com

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