How to use writing to know yourself better

Writers write for many reasons and in many ways. 

I use writing as a process of self-awareness and self-discovery. 

What do I mean by ‘writing for process’? 

  • It is free flow unfiltered writing 
  • It is simply writing what is within you, your thoughts, emotions and voices
  • It is a journey deeper into self
  • Its allowing the thoughts in your head to be written down unfettered
  • It is simply getting everything that is circling and thrashing within to come out
  • It is about writing to reveal
  • It is writing to become aware of what is going on within me that maybe getting in the way
  • It is writing through ones heart, not head.  So that the way becomes clearer and is less interfered with my human needs and limitations.
  • It is writing as a channel for the best version of self to come forth
  • It is writing to become aware of the next steps to take

It is a way of:

  • Connecting with who I am
  • Of Understanding me better and what makes me tick
  • coming fact to face with my own falsities
  • Revealing parts of me that have been unconscious

It is where there is:

  • No set destination
  • No pre-determined outcome
  • No parameters
  • No timeframe
  • No formatting or editing 
  • No right or wrong 
  • No spelling correction 

My head gets so full.  Thoughts thrashing around.  Which way is up? Sometimes I don’t know.  I feel engulfed by my emotions and feelings.  Where am I in all of this?  So much internal noise.  It keeps me stuck constrained blocked and confused. 

Where am ‘I’ in all of this? How do I find ‘me’ in amongst the distraction?  I know the space I seek.  It is within me.  It is a still point in my centre.  Not a human physical centre but a place within me, from which all comes forth.  It is a centre, a portal a way through to my eternalness.  It is the place from which I connect to me, the planet, to creative source, to soul as spirit.  It gets clouded by the chitter chatter, the busyness of life and by my own ignorance. 

Whilst I do my best to ignore its existence it is the place that the answers lie.  It’s the way.   It’s the point from my which I live.  Its where I listen and hear the whisper of the universe, its where the guidance awaits.  I just need to be stop, be still, listen, receive and act. 

How do we reach this place?  For me writing as a process takes me to this place.

  • Create the space so you won’t be disturbed
  • Gather your tools
    • laptop (I suggest you don’t use a laptop, if you want to turn autocorrect and spell checker ‘off’)
    • pen and paper
    • canvas
    • whiteboard
  • Turn off your phone and laptop (if you are not using it)
  • Remove all distraction
  • Light a candle
  • Create a sacred ritual for communion

Whatever works and simply ask …

  • What is it that needs to come out?
  • What is it I need to hear? 
  • What is going on within me? 
  • What can’t I see? What do I need to see?

Ask the questions and wait.  It may take a while for words to come.  But be ready for when they do.  You are the scribe of your heart and head.  You are the channel from which this comes forth.   Allow.

You may need to build trust with yourself.  This can be a vulnerable and intimate process.  Be gentle don’t force build trust.  Hold the compassion for yourself.  In some moments bucket loads will come out , in others maybe just one or two sentences.  Whatever comes is right for that moment.

So ask, listen and write.  When it stops simply ask “what else?”  and repeat the process.  You are entering another layer, going deeper in.

And repeat, layer after layer, deeper and deeper in to that still point.  Your centre from which your creativity, your inspiration, your delicious way comes forth.  ‘She’ is there waiting.   

When you seek an answer go inward.  Write your way.

It’s about reading to review and gain insight. 

By writing it out what will be revealed to you? 

What to do with what is revealed?

  • You can read it back and take out the pearls.  Take them. Review. Reflect.  Leg go. 
  • Write a new script, one from your heart.
  • You can burn it through ritual and let it go with gratitude
  • You can rip it up and throw it out.
  • You can use it as a guide of what to look out for.

If you choose to read it back, do so with compassion.  The truth is within if you want to hear it.  You don’t need to keep the writings.  It’s about clearing your head so your heart can be heard.   Judging what you write will only block the process.  You need to create a safe and nurturing space from which you can hear the voices in your heart. 

Then ask yourself these questions

  • Who are these voices? 
  • Is it your voice or that of another? 
  • Is it an old parameter? Lens? Filter?
  • Is it an outdated condition that is in the way? 
  • Where are my limitations? 
  • What stories am I telling me about myself?  About my life? 
  • What am I playing like a broken record?
  • What new voices/ scripts do I need to write now?

Work with your words.  Move through the process.  You will arrive at a new place.  A place of less resistance,  a place reflective of who you truly are. 

Writing for process, to move through, to clear, to gain insight can take you deeper into you. 

It is about connecting with the unconscious within and bringing it to light.

The threads of life

What free-form weaving has shown me about life

It is all about the foundation.  A steady, reliable and solid foundation enables you to create and build.  It lays the ground work upon which you grow.  Your foundation must be steady.  There is no room for cracks or a missed thread.  When weaving it is all about layer upon layer upon layer.  Each layer dependant upon the other to settle and become part of the foundation.  You can’t skip a row or decided half way to stop.  Each layer, each facet plays its part and must be in place before the other can commence.   There is no place for bells and whistles in the foundation.  Keep it clear.

“blue mashup” by Libby Kinna

As we take that within ourselves what is your foundation built upon?  Is it steady?  What is in it?  Review your foundation – your values, your aspirations, your alignment, your priorities.  What needs to change to enable your new life to be created upon.  Any outdated roles, beliefs, patterns and behaviours that should be reviewed?  It’s important to see what is going on in there and make the necessary modifications.

The interplay between horizontal and vertical.  Its easy to look at the weave and see nothing but horizontal rows of yarn interspersed.  What you don’t see is the vertical threads that enable the horizontal to be formed.  Known as the warp thread, it is wrapped around the loom horizontally tied diagonally across the back.   Without the warp thread, the weave cannot be woven.  There is a constant interplay between the vertical and horizontal, one needs the other.  There is no separation.  Remove one and it all falls apart. 

It’s the same with us, there is our vertical alignment from the earth at the soles of our feet all the way up and through to our connection to spirit through the top of our head.  For some this is an easy one to visual, to experience.  The other though is our horizontal alignment the direction we are heading, where we place ourselves, what was before and what is to come.  Horizontal and vertical, an interplay that forms our foundation.  The same with us, is there a constant flow between your connection to the earth and source?  Is this in tune with the direction you are heading?  Or is the direction you are heading out of alignment with you as source, as spirit?  The two need to be aligned and working harmoniously.

The weave reveals itself thread by thread.  You can’t get ahead of yourself.  It creates itself moment by moment.  It speaks to present-ness.  Full immersion is required in each weave.  It pulls you in.  The yarn thread through the needle, the needle in your hand, the only place is now, the immediate weave in front of you.  You can’t get ahead of yourself and start weaving up the top right, when the foundational layers haven’t been created.   Whilst you can have a sense, a vision of how you want it to be and work towards that you can really only work with the one next weave that is in front of you.  You must be open to this constantly changing, as you experience one colour of yarn next to another, one texture against another, the interplay between colour, texture and depth.  

Like life, you can have an ideal, a goal, a direction you are heading yet at the same time you can only work with what is here right now and be open, adaptable to changing what you work with and where it will take you.  Anything is possible in this space.  If you sense it, give it a go.  You can always change.  

Life as a writing process

8am is a tad early for attending a lecture on campus at Uni.  It doesn’t help when it is a cold wintry morning and the traffic was busier than usual on the freeway.  My body was fatigued before it even started.  With warm tea in my travel cup I walked wearily to the lecture hall.  I love walking onto Campus and this is what gets me out of bed at 5.30am on these Tuesday mornings to be here on time and taking my seat.  Ready to learn, expand my awareness and prioritise me.

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

I was doing my best to wake my weary brain, listen to the lecturer, write notes and take in what he was sharing.   This lecture is for the unit I am undertaking on Creative Writing.  I am not overly creative at 8am in the morning, so I was simply trying to keep up in a logical manner.  Listen, scribe.  Listen scribe.   I could read it back later this I knew.  Later I could re-read, highlight notes and begin to integrate what he was sharing.  It’s a process that works for me.

This morning though as I was frantically scribing, something within me (not my head) was pulling it all together like a puzzle.  What was appearing in my mind’s eye was a blueprint for living. 

What was being shared about the writing process could be approached as a way to live.

Could I ‘write’ my life, not so much as with a pen and paper (although I do feel there is something in that to explore) was the process for writing a way to approach life?  Quite delicious to ponder. 

Here are some of the pearls shared that morning:

  • Writing is a messy business, don’t look for the neat and tidy.  One must surrender to the creative force and let those words come out.  It can’t be predetermined.  Neither can life.  Life gets messy.  Be okay with that.     
  • Writing isn’t done in one straight line.  The plot becomes clearer through the writing process.  It’s not all known from the first word you written.  Neither is life.  Whilst we may head towards  a goal or desired outcome, we will experience obstacles that lead us down other paths.   Go on the path you are on, stop wishing you were on another one.  
  • Writing is of chaos to order.     You have to get in it and keep moving, keep typing or writing and the way becomes clearer.  Life can’t be planned.  As much as we want to be in control.  The nature of life is not. 
  • One must be completely present in the now moment, to be the open channel for the words to appear, for the story to be birthed.  Same with life.  Be fully present where you are.  Accept where you are.  Live here.  
  • Writing keeps moving.  Writing begets writing.  You can’t think about it.  You need to get pen to paper, or your fingers moving on the key board.   Creativity requires movement.  Life is of movement.  As much as we may want to stay put, hide or contract when its gets hard and uncomfortable we need to keep moving. 
  • Progress is seen retrospectively with writing.  I feel this is true to the experience of life.  It is important to review, to reflect and see where we have come from, what we have moved through and overcome.  Celebrate where we are now. 
  • And this most delicious piece of advice write towards what I don’t know.  What a great way to engage with life.   Live towards the life that I don’t know.  Lean into it, be curious about where it takes me, whilst I can set a course a particular direction.  It’s important to be open to possibilities.
  • Finally; to write, we must show up.  How true for life.  Are you in the drivers seat?  Or are you a passenger?

Lectures start back this week, so whilst it is possible I will begrudge the alarm going off at 5.30am I am curious to be placed once more in an environment that feeds my soul and nourishing my mind.   

How could you ‘write’ your life?

Thanks to my lecturer Alan Hancock.

The empty suitcase

Photo by Tucker Good on Unsplash

This was the part she dreaded. 

She felt the fear rising from the pit of her stomach.  Thud! It landed in her throat.  For a split second she couldn’t breath.  Fear disabling air from entering her lungs.    Air unable to enter her lungs.  Constriction.

“Get a grip” she scolds herself.  “It’s not as if we’re never coming back”. 

The empty suitcase lay there on the floor.  Open. Empty.  Terrifying.

“Argh!”

Around it lay pile upon pile of clothes.  Neat and tidy.  Waiting.

They could be waiting a while. 

It’s a common pattern.  The joy and delight for Beth always comes in the planning and pulling it all together.   Then slowly as the days to departing begin to creep upon her, so to the dread.  Like the slightest wisp of air against her check.  Apt at keeping herself busy she is the mastermind at distraction.  Years of well tuned practice has ensured Beth the ability to distract herself when the slightest tremor of fear appears.  Best to ignore it and get on with things, the motto.  Well trained as a child to dismiss her feelings.  Now however she has been slowly learning that this is not so wise and definitely not healthy.  Its been taking time but slowly and patiently she has been changing her relationship with her feelings.  Instead of clamping then down tight, like an airtight lid on a container, she is now allowing them to be.  Practice.

However there are many times when she doesn’t catch them, like now. 

“Argh geez” she exasperates.

“I don’t understand my problem”. 

“I should be enjoying this.  It should be exciting. I should be revelling in it. But I am not.

For this she felt bad.  Ungrateful.  Which only compounds her experience.

“Okay take a deep breath”

“We’ve got this”

She put her hands on her stomach and consciously takes a slow deep breath.  And waited.  Waited for her hands to rise slowly suggesting the air had reached her diaphragm .

Nothing. 

“Okay this will take some time”.

Once more she took a deep breath and allowed the throat to relax.  Air began to trickle down, like rain on a window.  

Not quite to the stomach but closer.

“Once more” she whispered to herself.

She closed her lies and allowed herself to lie on her bed, amongst the pile of clothes.  Resting her hands gently on her tummy she took a slow deep breath. 

This time her hands raised slightly.  She could feel the movement.  A sign of life.  Without force, yet with consciousness, she focussed on her breath.  Each inhale and exhale resulting in a deepening connection with herself.  Expansion. 

Her throat now relaxed, her heart rate slower Beth welcomes the release. 

Her bed a welcome place of refuge.

She feels the warmth of the sheets under her body and the comfort of the pillows for her weary head.

Love would lay here.

So she does.

She allows herself to doze off.

When she awakens a shift has occurred.  A common experience for Beth.  Sleep a way to integrate and heal.

“Okay so lets have another go”.

This time paying attention to what is going on within her, Beth looks at the empty suitcase.

“Why do you frighten me?”

She looks at the clothes surrounding it.  Waiting patiently.

“What if I get you wrong? What if I pack you but you work out not be right?”

“What if I don’t pack you and wish I had?”

The pressure was rising once more.

“What if you are all I will ever have?”

“What if something happens and everything I ever own will be what I choose to put in you?”

A quiver in her heart, a welcome sign that she was on the verge of learning something else about herself, that had previously been out of sight.  She knows not to push it.  Simply breathe, allow the feeling to move and explore what comes.

“And what if what is in the suitcase is all I will ever have?”  Beth asks herself.

“I can’t pack up my life.  I don’t want to.  I have done this before been forced to pack my life into one suitcase and flee.  Not in this lifetime. Yet the feeling still sits in the recesses of her soul. Don’t make me do this again. Please.  It hurts.  Deciding what to take.  All I see is what I am leaving behind.   More is left than taken.  How can I do this again?”

Packing up my life in a suitcase  pressured to make the right decisions in a split second.  No I won’t let you do this again.  You must stop. 

“Oh my, my precious one.  Is this how you feel?  Oh goodness”. 

Beth embraced herself to soothe this wounded one within her.  “I had no idea”.

“Sorry”.

“This is not what is happening here and now”.

“I feel your terror however it is not now.  Come and rest, allow these feelings to come into my heart, so together we heal.  Our heart”.

Gently, gently now.  She will tread.

Aware of this unlocked trauma within her Beth will undertake this process with care.  Each item she picks up and places into her suitcase will be done with gratitude and love. 

She will be gentle and kind.  Knowing that when she reaches her destination if she needs anything she hasn’t packed she will be able to find a solution.

Packing her clothes, she realises, is a symbol of packing up who she is now.   Putting who she is in a suitcase as she departs.  She nows within this however, that what she unpacks at the other end will most likely be a different being to the one who departed.   Who boards the plane will be transcended by the one who returns. 

For this my love is the joy of travel.  Transformation.  Expansion.  Growth.

Short creative fiction by Libby Kinna 2019

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