Meditation and Journaling – A comparative…

I finally have gotten around to reading a book I have had for 5? Yrs…’Eat, Pray, Love’ !

I was flying out the door to go on a ‘short’ business trip, and scanned my bookshelf; looking for something I wouldn’t mind reading again.  Being that my bookshelf is stocked with books of which 90% have been read, and 10%…still waiting for my return, I figured it would be easier to find one I had already read, than the alternative. This one popped out at me and I grabbed it. Not to get off topic, (clearly, I am about to) but in this very moment I type, I am finally getting the answer to a troubling question that came up on my trip. You see, I was to leave SFO at 6am and arrive in New Orleans 10:45am…short quick trip, right? Well, as never has before happened, I got to board a total of 5 planes, two of which I got to ‘un-board’ due to mechanical concerns. The short day turned into a 16-hour ordeal, and I turned into a pile of tears by day’s end. So the question from this crazy trip, that finally produced an answer in this moment – why did this turn into such a nightmare? Why two mechanical issues, with one having a 5-hr wait time for repairs????? ‘So that you may read this beautiful, moving…very moving book, Sheri.’ For 5yrs I have postponed for many a reasons…and this week, I was given PLENTY of time to get to it finally!

Back on topic – After delving deeply into this gem of a ‘transportational’ book,  I am realizing that there could easily be made the correlations – so similar in nature, between meditating and journaling. Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the book, gave gut-wrenching, honest, vulnerable account of her challenges in meditating. Sitting still for more than a few minutes before experiencing discomfort physically in her body. The dialogue she would have in her mind…which would distract her…. the usual stuff, right?! She likely might be the first to admit, that meditation challenges are not unique to her. I for one had spent a good 25 yrs avoiding my interest and curiosity to meditate, due to the reality that each time I tried…I just didn’t ‘get it’. I was fascinated with the possibilities and claim of the benefits of journaling  meditating (oh my gosh…I swear, I just read back over this and realized that I ACTUALLY typed ‘journaling’ rather than the word meditating, which was my intended word – Freudian…ya think?). Yet each time I ‘tried’…I felt like I ‘failed’. I just couldn’t do it. Couldn’t stay still. Couldn’t focus on not thinking and mind-talking throughout the entire time. Couldn’t last for more than a few…very few, minutes.  I would leave the time, feeling more frustrated than (satisfied?)… I remember a specific conversation I had with a friend whom I knew meditated somewhat regularly. ‘Show me how you do it! You sit and meditate, and I want to watch you…so I can understand what I am not ‘getting’…’ Needless to say, this didn’t work. I think it was in 2006 when I finally came to understand something about meditating, through the help of Pema Chodron in her book, ‘When Things Fall Apart – Heart Advice for Difficult Times’.  First off, let me say that if you are not familiar with her books, teachings and just her…you really must investigate. She is whom I name as my favorite author, whenever asked. 

Sidetracked, again…. Pema scatters throughout her books, not only her own vulnerabilities of ‘meditation challenges’, but the suggestion of showing compassion on yourself and your time in meditation. It seems that Elizabeth Gilbert also found this to be a suggestion that finally gave way to a different ‘understanding’ shall we say, of ‘how-to’ meditate. To give and show ourselves mercy and compassion toward something we just can’t cross over to the other side of accomplishing – this has been key for me, in my meditation practice. Where I used to shake my finger at not waking early and starting my day with time for meditation, I now allow that my time for meditating…it can happen on a bus, crowded with strangers. Where I used to negative self-talk, at my inability to ‘last’ for more than a ten minute stint…I now gratefully welcome 2 minute meditation opportunities, and say thank you to myself and the universe for providing that traffic jam, that gave way to such a rich moment. Where I used to groan at the ‘monkey mind’ while meditating, I now watch with a curious observer position, and say to that monkey mind, ‘wow…that is interesting, thank you for the opportunity to be let in on that conversation…now it is time to return to the silence and breath, and stillness of mind…’. My monkey seems to be okay with this re-direction, and I become blessed with the opportunity of calmness, grounded-ness, ‘letting-go ness’….and the much more beautiful day that meditating produces.

Somehow, it seems that human nature responds more favorably to ‘giving in to how it is’ rather than fighting to have it be ‘how it should be’, with a reward of  success. When we quit struggling for it to ‘look like this’, we oddly learn to love and accept it just as it is…which I generally find, is better than I ever could have imagined. Some would say, the struggle, when welcomed…it loses its power over us. 

Journaling can be challenging. I love to journal, I am ‘fed’ if you will, by the written word and wisdom I apparently carry within, that never would come without journaling.  Yet I promise you, many a day finds me beginning to scold, ‘Sheri…you haven’t journaled for a couple of days, you need to get on it’. I am sure you can relate when I tell you that I have times where I cross out, erase and edit….and then remind myself that there is no ‘right’ word, ‘right’ sentence, ‘right’ thought. It just is. And the more often I just write, reserving judgment, the more often I reap the benefit. When I let go of the expectation of perfect time to journal, perfect way to journal, necessary results; when I give compassion and concession for letting my journaling practice be just exactly what it is – this is when I find success.

May you find compassion on yourself and on your journaling practice, enough to finally let it be, just exactly as it is!!!

In humble gratitude,



The year of bliss!!

Hello my faithful followers! Some changes are being made to WriteOn! Journaling’s website. Keep your eyes and email inboxes open!!

Additionally, I have a magnificent announcement to make:

Some of you know…and some of you, not just yet! I am licensed to facilitate #DesireMap workshops!! I could not be more excited. If you haven’t ‘liked’ my WriteOn! Journaling fb page yet, go to fb… WriteOn! Journaling and like me! Cuz I am just likeable, right? I will be sending out personal invites and creating a group and event page, once the details are more clear….You can find the begining details on my WriteOn! Journaling fb page to see what the heck I am talking about, and for ease of use… here is the post as well:

OK, so the plan is in motion. We will be hosting some easy breezy, fun 2day workshops in town over the coming year – BUT the mother of all #DesireMap retreats will be coming in early Spring (and likely every quarter thereafter)!! Plans are in the works for a weekend you WILL NOT EVER FORGET! Can you imagine…FOOD, tons of gourmet FOOD!, Wine, amazing NV wines, tastings, soul-searching and finding, hiking trips, bike rides, more wine poolside!, friends made from strangers we just met, more FOOD!!, discovering our #CoreDesiredFeelings based on Danielle LaPorte ‘s book, #TheDesireMap! I promise, it will not get much better than this! Stay Tuned for more details soon on their way!!

Desire Map Book Club Napa, CA & Santa Cruz Mountains, CA

I’ll be hosting a book club event in January 2014 as part if Danielle LaPorte’s Worlds Biggest Book Club. We will be focusing in her book, ‘The Desire Map’ and discussing core desired feelings, goal setting and gratitude as a practice. It’s going to blow you away! This stuff is
unbelievably amazing!!

But I don’t journal…

I have this amazing friend. She feels called to be a Police Chaplain within our community. Every time she goes out on a call, and I later read about the tragedy, I am left pondering, ‘How does she do it?’

She had a very difficult week, this week. Met a young girl, who in many ways reminded her of herself at the same young age. The young girl had lost her brother in a very tragic way. There was an instant connection of sorts for my friend. She felt drawn to find her a journal.

My friend, herself despises the idea of journaling and writing. Yet she felt compelled to offer this poor sweetheart a companion of sorts through writing. Yet she questioned if it would be fair to offer her a journal, if in fact this girl also despised the idea. As you can imagine, I am not the one to answer the question, ‘Is journaling appropriate for this person? This situation?’.

Imagine for a moment with me, if you will. You are 11yrs old. You lose one of your older brothers to death. You hate writing. (We are just imagining here, not sure if this is the case) Someone hands you a journal…a book with hundreds of empty, lined pages. You are hurting inside, and yet every time you open this journal, it stares back at you. Let’s just imagine you pick up a pen one day while looking at these blank pages. None of your friends understand what you go through every day. Your family was broken to pieces before the tragedy, and now shrapnel is scattered throughout the home, where once there was some semblance of unity. Coping is barely an impossibility in your house, in your own private world. You put pen to paper, and all you do is introduce yourself, ‘Hi, I am ____________.’ What do you suppose might follow these four words? ‘I am a little sister, and I miss my brother terribly’? or perhaps, ‘I hate writing, and don’t even know what I am supposed to do with this stupid thing’?…

For certain, I suppose that none of us could say what may come of the joining of the little girl, the journal and the pen. But my guess, any of us whether we hate writing or not, if we are presented with the opportunity to start….I believe that the power of journaling, would prompt us to find our own words. To share with this very private, non-judging friend. To try to makes sense of a confusing, and painful time. Poor spelling, scrambled thoughts, misaligned clarity…no matter the form, I believe the words would land safely on those blank pages. And again, my experience and belief in journaling tells me…the healing may just begin to be found.

I bless you my friend, and from the deepest parts of me, I bless and hope for this hurting family.

WriteOn my friends…even if you believe you don’t journal.

The Cobwebs Are Clearing

For fun, I thought I would sign up for a class that would be a means of support, community and mostly (for me) accountability.  You see, I have some projects that need to get done, and they involve a lot of writing. Odd for me, I know! We are asked some questions each day about our daily writing experience. We rate how things went. When asked how my ‘creative well’ was to be rated, I started with a 3, murky with cobwebs. I don’t know if it is because maybe I am spread too thin, or because I journal regularly for my own personal well being, but I don’t easily show up to just write and get projects done. Research for hours, that I can do. Making a b-zillion phone calls, that I can do. You name it to distract me from actually doing the writing project…consider that distraction done! I tell myself,  ‘I am developing my ideas’ while I busy about with the tasks…

It’s very interesting to me the number of people in my ‘community’ during this class, that struggle with the same. We avoid the very thing we want to do, like it is the latest flu outbreak. We give negative self talk around it, meaning before, during and even after (assuming we do eventually get around to the writing). We make it quite complicated. Quite ‘to be feared/dreaded’.

All of this causes me to reflect on how many other times in my life, I have followed the same pattern. Gheez the number of times are unbearable to think about. And when I look back at the outcome of varying moments, I realize one thing that I am also finding in this workshop. There is only one step that is needed to transcend the trepidation. ONE thing! Are you ready for it? ~ JUST SHOW UP! My creative well soared to 7 just moments after the very first writing session.

Practice for a few journaling days to name 3 times that you were hesitant to just do what needed to be done. Big or small. Folding laundry, to having that confrontational conversation. Just name the event, and write the eventual outcome. List how many ‘more important’ tasks you found yourself doing. See if you notice a pattern perhaps. See if you get an ‘aha this is interesting’. Remind yourself of (most likely) how smoothly the eventual outcome went, and how accomplished you felt once it was tackled and completed. Use what you find in your journaling session to take with you throughout your day, and see if you can be reminded how worthwhile it is to JUST SHOW UP for the dreaded tasks!

Peace and love!

A look in the mirror

How hard can it be to list affirmations and intentions, with the intent to change habits or behavior in 21 days? Seems simple enough, right?

My dear cousin and I have dreams, and damnit if we are not going to see them happen! Our first of many steps – write the lists. She has hers done…and mine. Me? I have them in my head, and keep promising to get them on paper. I promise her, but it is I that suffers while they are avoided. She is already on week two, I am still here…with my excuses of ‘being frozen, don’t know where to begin, too much on my plate’.

It was suggested to me in a book I am reading, ‘Do you want your dreams or do you want your excuses? Cuz it takes a lot longer to come up with the excuses and execute them, than it does to take action toward your dreams’ – paraphrased of course in the manner I interpreted.

Someone else suggested in my monthly emails ‘you don’t even know what you want, what is enough…because you don’t know how to be satisfied. You don’t give yourself permission to be satisfied’…again, paraphrased.

I met with my ‘Financial Recovery Coach’ this week. I was pissed at how slow ‘this’ is changing/coming along. She, I am sure is struggling to not say, ‘I quit if you won’t do the work’…then she asked me a question, that when answered, it caught me off guard. ‘What is it that you want? Why are you here? What do you hope to accomplish, tell me what the reason you initially contacted me and agreed to work with me?’ It all spilled out with ease, clarity and sincerity. This is what caught me off guard. Me, with an answer to ‘what do I want?’ Because there is a lot that I want. To experience, to see, to have, to enjoy, to do. And not just about money. But the irony I found in my answers had to do with how much of my ‘wants’ in all matters, they begin with shifting this energy with money.

I have begun my list of affirmations to share with my cousin. And I let her know in these exact words, “…until I get this money energy shifted…all else will will be a waste of my energy….another business will be doomed if I already am struggling with how I handle money, a new relationship with a partner will fail as he would be a fool to hang out in such a mess with me, peace will not come when I am spending so much energy on money worries….I MUST shift this money energy!!”

Sometimes looking in the mirror, I hate what I find (figuratively). Sometimes it is what needs to happen, in order to love what I find.

I am on #7 of my affirmations. My intentions are clear. Life teaches us just fine when we take the time to listen to what we know, even if it catches us off guard! I want my dreams! What do you want?

Write it down. Keep asking, ‘anything more?’…. You might be surprised to find out what you didn’t know you know.Good luck to you my friends.

In humble gratitude,

No really, Hello!

Well here it is. I finally did it. I became a blogger. Remember when that word had no relevance? ‘Blogger’…’tis an odd word. While I am on the topic of words ~ ahhh yes, this is why…

My hope is to give insight, ideas, suggestions, comments about all that inspires me to journal. In turn, it is my hope that you too will find how powerful and incredibly useful Journaling can be during these times that we call life. Yes, some of these times are good…really good. While others leave us swimming against the current.

Each post, I hope to bring just a tiny morsel of something for your pen, hand and thoughts to feast on.

Let me know what you think. Share your experiences. Ask questions…after all…those are the juice of wisdom!