Our physical surroundings may change and our perspectives may evolve, but how does one prepare for spiritual growth? For those of us who are avid journalers, we will frequently explore the challenges and obstacles barring our success and our wholeness. For novices, journal writing can be a dynamic tool to unlock deep-seeded fears that have become obstacles to our own serenity and happiness.
Journaling is a powerful tool in deepening one’s spirituality, to be certain. And yet, to continue to grow spiritually, the concepts of acceptance and surrender come to mind – acceptance of the new “place” we find ourselves in, and surrender of yet another part of ourselves that no longer serves us.
If you’re looking for a way to gain greater peace of mind and serenity in your life, I’d like to introduce a combination of writing techniques that can open you to new opportunities and give you a new sense of inner freedom.
Before beginning the journal writing exercise, I recommend finding a quiet place for a brief meditation. You can choose a sacred word that resonates with you as a mantra, or simply sit in silence for fifteen minutes.
Turn to a blank page in your journal and write down what you believe is preventing you from moving forward in your life. Fill in the following sentence: “I fear _______” If you cannot isolate one, feel free to write a few lines, filling in the blanks. Some clients have inserted words such as “being disrespected,” “being unloved,” “living alone,” “failure,” “being unworthy,” or “the unknown.” Choose the fear that evokes the greatest emotion in you. By naming the fear, you take the first step in any healing that needs to occur.
Now, write a few sentences about WHY you have this fear. Where did it originate? What makes it feel overwhelming? What type of emotional reaction do you have? Is it a “real” fear or something you cannot explain. The important point is to explore your emotions and the value you place on being trusted, alone, needed, attractive, healthy, responsible, loved.
Once you have described the issue in detail, proceed to another blank page in your journal and begin a written dialogue — with yourself, God or someone close to you – further probing the underlying reasons for this fear. A client completed this exercise and wrote the following:
ME: Dear God, I realize that fear of the unknown is preventing me from taking on this new assignment. I feel secure in my current job. This new position would be a financial and emotional risk for me. I would be away from home more often and it involves learning new skills.
GOD: My child, never forget that I am always with you. You are in the palm of my hand – loved, safe and secure. You will always have whatever you need.
ME: The downside of not taking this new job is that I will not be growing as a professional. And, I know that spiritual growth comes with all change.
GOD: You are being provided an opportunity because you have been successful. Change always involves some discomfort and struggle with the new learning. Whichever choice you make, remember that you are mine.
Using our journals to name the issue/obstacle at hand, explore the emotions and events surrounding that fear, and writing out various scenarios through dialogue are powerful tools to use when we are feeling stagnant or challenged by fear. A tool that can be used throughout our spiritual journey, it can be a powerful exercise in gaining clarity, direction and surmounting inner obstacles.