Journalling- dig a little deeper..

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn” – Anne Frank.

For some reason, journalling feels laborious for many of us. Who has the time and patience to sit down, open a notebook and write down our feelings, am I right? Even if we bring ourselves to buy a journal and cultivate the habit of writing everyday, it often seems like a feat too unrealistic to fit into our routine. Either we are enthusiastic about writing for a day or two and then, we forget about journalling or we realise the amount of effort that is required and we say to ourselves, “Chuck it, I am just going to watch a couple episodes of F.R.I.E.N.D.S and I am good to go”. I have been there. But let me tell you, I am alive now because of my habit of journalling and I have stuck with it long enough to tell you first-hand, how beneficial it can be for anyone. Journalling is for EVERYONE, is inexpensive and with exceptions, one of the most trustworthy source of solutions because when you journal, you look inward to seek answers. The best part is that there is no rule to journalling and it is all about you creating a safe space for your inner expression. Journalling is not just for navigating difficult times but also for finding out what you value the most in life and help shape your goals. You can use it to track your progress, develop habits and even, understand what kind of human relationships you wish to have in your life. It is also a wonderful tool to help reprogram limiting beliefs using affirmations and positive words. You can declutter your life with it, identify inner child wounds and access your inner wisdom to guide you into total acceptance of who you are and how others in your life behave around you.

I started journalling at the age of 9 or 10 originally to cultivate a habit of recording everything that happened in my life, just because someone at school told me it was a good habit to keep a diary. As a chubby lonely preteen, I derived so much joy from sharing my daily activities to my only friend, my journal. I spared no detail! I would make colorful little doodles in it with my favorite set of crayons and I used to carry it with me to every event and vacation. It was my priced possession! During my late teens, my purpose of using a journal evolved from merely record keeping to finding an emotional release for my moody days. I would write everything I felt on a piece of paper, read it once or twice and then, tear it up and throw it in the bin. Hailing from an Indian household, journalling was my only way of seeking therapy and finding peace during my dark times. With time, I started to get creative with my journalling habits. I was a very indecisive teenager and I used to ask questions to dissect situations. From my teen years through early adulthood until this day, journalling has been my way of connecting with my inner Self. Lately, I journal to connect with my higher Self as a way to not just find solutions to difficult problems of my life but also to help connect with my inner source of abundant creativity. To me, journalling is more than just a coping mechanism, it is meditative and an expression of self love.

Today, I want to share 30 journal prompts that I feel would help many people out there. Some of these were invaluable to me during my self-healing process:

  1. What is important to me?
  2. What do I need to do to tend to things that are important to me?
  3. What am I currently struggling with?
  4. What can I do to overcome this?
  5. Why am I unhappy/upset?
  6. Why is there no peace within myself?
  7. Am I content with my life? Why not?
  8. What am I genuinely good at?
  9. What is my biggest strength?
  10. What makes me insecure? Why?
  11. What am I grateful for?
  12. What ritual/habits I wish to develop?
  13. What are my limiting beliefs?
  14. What is the thought-process that is hidden behind my limiting beliefs?
  15. Are these thoughts true? OR am I assuming them to be true?
  16. What are my true interests? What makes my heart sing?
  17. What qualities in others are attractive/unattractive to me?
  18. What can I do every day that is just for my own happiness?
  19. How can I reach my goals without going crazy? How can I structure it?
  20. Why don’t I trust that person?
  21. Is that person ashamed of me or it is me who is ashamed of myself?
  22. Is that person judging me or am I judging myself?
  23. What can I do to release my anger without hurting others?
  24. Am I sad or am I just bored?
  25. Am I hungry or am I depressed?
  26. Am I angry or just disappointed?
  27. How can I cultivate more self love in my life?
  28. How can I have more humility?
  29. What can I do to coexist with people who are not like me?
  30. What can I do to forgive people who hurt me?

I hope this helps anyone who needs it…Happy journalling! <3

Picture: Royalty-free, sourced from http://www.unsplash.com.

Simple tips for beginners to slip into the silence

It is the year 2020 or might I say, the year of “feeling things” instead of “doing things” and I am intrigued by the fact that the topic of meditation is still a bit “woo-woo” for many out there. Some people recognize its importance due to the various scientifically-proven health benefits of meditation and mindfulness while others practice it to temporarily escape the chaotic events of their life. As someone who is training to become a meditation teacher, I was thinking about the reasons why is it so hard for some people to meditate and the common assumptions which some people might have about the practice of meditation. In its essence, meditation is an effortless process and is supposed to be very natural and easy. It is our birthright and to meditate is to get in touch with the silence within ourselves in order to, sort of recharge our “batteries” and to enrich our daily life experiences. Today, I would like to share some simple ways for a beginner to prepare before you can transition into a state of meditation that I have learnt during my 12-year long friendship with this wonderful practice.

  1. Household chores

This is the easiest way to get into a state of meditation and I have personally suggested this to many of my friends/acquaintance who had trouble cultivating the practice of meditation. You may not realize it at first but when you are by yourself doing the dishes, folding your clothes or cleaning the furniture, the chances of slipping into the “now” moment is higher than if you were accompanied by music or other people at home. This is probably one of the reasons why some of us feel satisfied after we clean something. Without paying much attention to it, the chaos within settles down while our “batteries” are charged and at the end of it, most of us feel much calmer. For beginners who feel a lot of inner resistance to sit and meditate, performing these simple tasks can prepare you for a successful meditation session.

  1. Mindful walks

Everyone who knows me in person can agree that I am a huge fan of connecting with nature. In spirituality, we consider the environment we live in as a part of our physical body. Our environment is just as alive as we are and they highly influence us. It is not news to say that nature is bountiful and that we ARE nature. When we have trouble connecting to the field of silence and pure awareness through meditation, we can get help from nature. Taking a walk in the park with total focus on every sensory stimulus and every vibrant scenery instantly connects us to the state we would be in during meditation. Although this state of meditation, just like the one while performing household tasks, is accompanied by some background mental activity, taking quiet walks is a very good way to start meditating as a beginner.

  1. Weaken those inner arguments

We all have been there. We play out scenarios in our head and even if our lives are more or less stress-free, our mind never shuts up. Our mind loves the drama and that’s not at all surprising! If you truly want to cultivate the habit of meditating, you have to clap your hands and bow to the director so he would end the rehearsal that he keeps orchestrating inside your head. I am not saying, you have to control your mind. Let me tell you, it is going to be IMPOSSIBLE to meditate when your intention is to CONTROL your mind and your thoughts. So, what do I mean by ending the rehearsal? Over the past few years, journalling has been of immense value to me to find out the root causes of the arguments that play in my mind from time to time. I would ask questions like- ” Why do I so badly want to defend myself to that person?”, “Why do I feel so strongly about this or that?” and “Do I have faith in myself to be prepared for such a disaster when the time comes? Why am I so anxious about this right now?”. When you truly heal or address your concerns, those mental rehearsals end and you can be more at peace, ready to step into silence.

  1. Listen to drumming music

When you listen to rhythmic music without words, your root chakra is healed and that makes you firmly anchored to your body. Why is this important? When you feel ungrounded or might I say, unsafe, threatened or in a state of constant self criticism, you are energetically depleted which makes it impossible for you to WANT to calm your mind. Rhythmic music can command your mind to focus on the music. Automatically, your feet starts tapping to the music and you start nodding your head, which can put you at ease. Bonus points if you wish to stand up and really feel the beats with your entire body with your eyes closed. Your life force energy gets activated and it charges your entire body, relaxing your muscles and makes you feel more fluid or in control of your body, which is a wonderful way to feel before you sit down to meditate. After some movement, moments of stillness of a meditation session doesn’t feel so restrictive to your body and to your mind.

Picture: Royalty-free, sourced from http://www.unsplash.com.