Guest Post by Mari L. McCarthy, www.CreateWriteNow.com
The year I celebrated my 50th birthday, I achieved two goals: ending my menstrual periods and going to a real writer’s retreat in Glastonbury, England. How did I do it? No expensive miracle drugs, no laser-lead surgeries. Just mega doses of journaling, my favorite gift from Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
At my diagnosis, my doctor explained to me that MS involved plaques blocking communication between my head and body. We discussed my immune system attacking itself. That certainly described me — ignoring my body, pushing, pulling, and pressuring myself for perfection. So, MS was here to show me how to get out of my own way and learn how to live.
In one of the myriad MS episodes I’ve had over the last 20 years, my right hand suddenly departed for parts unknown taking the right side of my body with it. I needed to become left-handed, like yesterday. Ah, synchronicity! Within weeks of deciding to become a southpaw, a Borders bookseller introduced me to Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages.”
Each morning, I wrote three stream-of-consciousness pages and in relatively short order got not only a functional left hand but exciting discoveries – introductions to the woman who truly lives in my body.
I added new words to my vocabulary – like trust, confidence, compassion, and respect. Even the word “fear” began to take on a new meaning: it’s fear of success that’s my current challenge as I heal more and more wounds and create a positively healthy life for myself.
As time went on, I noticed a growing passion for journaling, as I recognized more and more amazing benefits of the regular habit. Eventually, I began to work with the concept of journal writing for therapy. One day, the Universe affirmed that I was on the right track when the phrase ‘Journaling for the Health of It’ showed up in my journal. I knew then that I must spread those words. To everyone.
As I journal, I learn how my mind and emotions affect me physically. I examine my complexities and see how I’ve placed myself in dis-ease. I uncover the origins of unhelpful thoughts and feelings (from childhood, from genetics, from society). Then I choose to change, and continue to create a healthy self-relationship with loving, supportive dialogue, positive feedback, and constructive criticism.
Using a journal to find out the truth about yourself is great; using it to achieve your goals is thrilling; and using it to become whole and healthy both inside and out is just about the coolest thing I can think of!
Mari L. McCarthy is The Journaling Therapist. She’s the creator of www.CreateWriteNow.com , home of the personal growth tool ‘Journaling for the Health of It ™.’ She believes “Journaling creates space for the healing to take place.”