When I was at school I hated writing. I hated english especially because we read books about Shakespeare and other ancient people. I’m sure they are important to history, but they weren’t for me.
For as long as I can remember though, I’ve loved thinking. I’ve loved examining ideas, questioning the status quo, chatting with people, sharing stories about life and doing what I can to become a better person. I’ve always loved life and strived to get the most out of it.
Little did I know that one day my strong dislike for words, and my love for reflection would collide.
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He is a lot older than me. I first met this profound man when I was 19, unsure of life, where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. I had no real vision for my future and was enjoying my rebellious stage a little too much.
I was encouraged to meet with him by friends, just to chat and see what he had to say. I can chat and I like to talk I thought to myself, so I went with it. I met him and we had a lovely time discussing life, sharing stories and being as real and honest as I could with a beautiful grey haired man three times my age and whom I was meeting for the first time.
As I talked and he listened, he encouraged me (insisted) to start journaling and getting down on paper everything and anything which I was feeling and thinking. It didn’t have to be pretty it just needed to be put down on paper.
He likened it to having a crap actually. He said your writing for the day needed to be three things: private, regular and timed. He said you don’t sit on the toilet for hours do you? He said you don’t poo and wee with an audience do you? And he said you poo or wee only a few times a day don’t you?
At this point, I thought he was a little weird, but I was also a little inspired. He was talking with so much passion and vigour for an old man and I fell in love with the permission I was given. Permission to be open, honest and vulnerable…with myself.
And that’s what writing does for you. That’s how reflecting on our world changes us and holds a mirror up to everything that is going on for us. It’s scary and intimidating, but it’s wonderful.
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My meeting with this sage altered my thinking and set me on a new path. Everyday (or mostly) for the next few years I would journal and write. Not for an audience or applause, but to help get out the crap in my world. As I did, I found hidden gems that seemed to appear out of nowhere, giving incredible direction for the next stage in my life’s adventure.
Something extra happens though when you share what you are learning publicly. When we gain the courage to share with people what is happening in our world we build community. We find like-minded people who we can connect and grow with. We discover a strength about ourselves and an inbuilt ability to brave that we never knew existed.
It’s the single most reason I’m doing this writing challenge. Because for the last 7 years since being married my journalling and writing has stalled. It’s kinda gone dormant. I realised over Christmas that I needed to awaken the inner writing beast again to help work through my life and discern what I think and believe about stuff, but also to help figure my world out and create the future I really want to wake up for.
In some ways I know I’m pooing in public, but I’m hoping it’s not very much. Sometimes I write things that kinda seemed good at the time but when you look back you search for the nearest hole to crawl in to.
And that’s the point.
The point is that we are able to see ourselves grow, to have opinions, to have view points, to discover our stance on certain issues and share those with one another. When we do, we find comrades, mates, and other flawed people just like us, trying to figure stuff out on the run and make the most of what we have.
Of course, if you are needing to sort through a major event that is deeply personal or has caused you and other people a load of trauma then be wise about what you share in public. But still, write it down for your benefit. Write it down for your soul to discover the healing and direction it needs.
I dare you…write or journal for two weeks about your life. Use it as a reflection tool and see what you discover about yourself. Give yourself 10 minutes every day and see what happens.
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I didn’t like english at school, but I did love to talk and examine life. Now, I have discovered an appetite for both, and I love it.
It’s opening up doors in so many ways, and I’m finding freedom that I haven’t experienced in years.
And remember, an examined, thoughtful life is better than the alternative: floundering and being swayed by the pressures of this world. You owe it to yourself to at least have a look.