Updated: Jan 13
I might need to admit at this point in my life that I'm a self-development junkie. I love to grow, improve and evolve as a person. So, when I started feeling overwhelmed with my newer identity of entrepreneur and small business owner, I turned to guidance from a mentor. Johanna recommenced I try journaling for 30 days straight, answering the question, "Who am I?" Always up for a challenge, I accepted, feeling it was time to channel my energy in a different type of constructive manner.
Since early November, I had been feeling uncomfortable and anxious, and not just in my mind, but physically unsettled and agitated. My throat felt clogged with hesitation, wanting to say something but not knowing how. My stomach was constantly flipping and dancing with nervous butterflies worrying about my finances, professional life, and who I was becoming. I had only every worked for someone else my whole life.
These feelings and this process of "moving through" emotion and another layer of who I am is a familiar place, but usually it happens on a wilderness trip. This time I was in the front country with more distractions. I knew taking action, believing in myself, and staying connected with supportive people were my answers to come out the other side.
So, here's what I committed to doing. Journaling for 30 days in a row as my higher-self. No negative comments. No answers related to others or any relationships. No repeat answers and no skipping any days, otherwise I had to start over.
Holy. Ok, I got this.
Thankfully, I'm not a newbie to journaling. It's been a part of my life since 6th grade, when I wrote about my first boyfriend. I've always loved how journaling has been a judge free zone. A place where grammar and punctuation don't matter. A place to track and organize myself, when I lost a birds eye view of my life.
By doing this 30 day challenge, I hoped to shed another layer of my old self. A snake skin that was ready to wriggle off and decompose so I could step into a new version of me. Without being so uncomfortable and anxious.
I knew only writing about myself and never repeating my answers would be a struggle, but I could feel it was going to help me and that I would ultimately finish.
Here we go.
I decided to write every morning before meditation so that it was done first thing (good choice). I started deep right away with, "I am brave, strong (inside and out), Woman, and of nature." Dang. And I still have 29 more days?
As the days went on...
"I am more than what my mind thinks."
"I am willing to walk through the confusion."
"I am abundant as fuck."
"I am healing."
I am shape-shifting."
"I am a seeker of tiny moments in nature where things are quiet and still."
"I am in a cave seeking refuge from the options of the outside world."
"I am forgiving myself as I go."
"I am sinking into contentment."
"I am no longer justifying my decisions."
I continued on, unclenching my jaw and shoulders, reminding myself that I am nature (not just a part of it), capable of anything, and incredibly proud of myself - not for what I've accomplished, but who I am without it.
Halfway through I hit a rough patch and started to feel sorry for myself. Old thoughts flooded my mind and nervous stomach flutters returned. I reminded myself to not freeze, overheat, or believe the bullshit that sometimes swirls in my head. I was going to keep flowing.
Overall, answering "Who am I?" for 30 days actually helped lower anxiety and cleared mental clutter. It wasn't hard for me to remember to sit down and write but sometimes it was hard to answer the question. I noticed my physical symptoms subside, I slept better, and I could clearly see my future and feel my potential getting stronger. It's not that everything is perfect now, but whatever I was moving through in these last couple months desired my attention and compassion and I'm really proud that I decided to sit and write each morning. And not push or power through but to be kind towards myself and go inward.
I don't journal everyday but I keep one close whenever I feel I need a mirror. Going back and reading old entries gives me time to reflect where I've been and helps orient where I'm going. I'm thankful for the experience and guidance from my mentor, Johanna.
Do you have a daily journaling practice? Winter is a wonderful time to pick it up because of the natural stillness. We're encouraged to sit with ourselves and contemplate who we are in the darkest time of the year. That way, when spring arrives we can bloom and flourish.
Happy winter and cheers to who you are becoming. :)