It is Saturday morning, July 2nd. Just as I started to type this sentence the sun came out of a cloud over my left shoulder and far above the mountain behind me. It is a beautiful day and I can hear kids playing in the distance, birds singing all around me, a woodpecker tapping out a mating call and the woman I love showering about twenty feet away. I just shed more tears for Snuffles after re-reading my own article from two days ago.
Last year, I learned a valuable lesson about healing myself and growing and evolving. Many people, many self-help books and many counselors often recommend keeping a journal and writing down the thoughts and emotions bouncing around in our heads. I started doing this last year when I was exploring brand new depths of emotional pain and despair, but it did not help me very much.
It helped a little but not much.
I needed to connect with people. I did not want to dump and re-dump my problems on them endlessly. I did need to connect.
I also realized that many of my friends and family and loved ones had experienced similar emotional pain and trauma. They had gained a great deal of wisdom and their perspectives and knowledge could be extremely helpful. It was helpful for me to hear it and I believe helpful for many of them to share it.
Their wisdom and knowledge however was their own. I could not ‘take’ their lessons and apply them directly to my own challenges.
I had to learn to filter out the lessons I could use and those that I could not. I had to filter through the lessons I could apply now and those that might need to wait because it wasn’t the right time for the situation or because I was not ready to do something useful with an advanced lesson.
The irony is that in talking with friends and hearing their truth and their wisdom and lessons, I could not absorb enough and definitely couldn’t always make a wise decision on what to use or not to use.
Combining several things – Journaling, Social Media, Diverse Perspectives & My Own Context
I developed a process that worked for me. In retrospect it worked very well for me.
1. I would write my challenge or my pain. I held back no truth. I held back no emotional pain either. I kept it as real and as honest as I knew how.
2. I shared this writing on Facebook. At first, I mistakenly shared it with everyone. It was a mistake in that it was completely unfiltered. Some of my friends and family were not ready or in a place to hear this, read it let alone provide anything that helped either of us. I was going through a divorce and some family and friends were too close to both sides emotionally themselves.
3. I corrected this by creating a list of ‘confidants’ and only shared my truth through writing with them. I had to ween this list as time went just a bit, but for the most part this worked very well. Around the clock and around the world, I had family and friends that could choose to read my truth or not as they chose. They could respond as they chose or not as well. The result was that I received a wide and diverse perspective. I heard from people that cheered me on. I heard from people that pointed out my blind spots. I heard from people that found flaws and faults in my response to things. I valued and did my best to use all of this diverse perspective. I did not take their responses personally to promote any agenda of my own. I did not take it personally when the responses could have been interpreted to invalidate myself. Here is how I did that…
4. This was a KEY STEP! Before reading each response from people, I went back and re-read my own original writing. I needed to insure I was grounded in my own context before reading their reaction to my writing. I needed to insure I could subjectively view it through my lens and find the useful aspect of their response and not get lost in their own subjective view. Sometimes the responses were written beautifully and sometimes they were rough and raw. I needed my context first so that I could apply the loving intent in the message and not get hung up on misplaced words or emotions from their words that might not belong. As these things went, I could easily find myself re-reading my own article dozens of times. This helped me tremendously in working through my emotions and exhausting the pain of those emotions, while preparing to heal myself and rebuild with the additional love and perspective provided by my friends and family.
Getting the Dosage of the Re-Reading message Right
A year ago, I re-read my own writing every time someone hit the Like button on facebook, everytime someone commented, and everytime a reply to a reply was made. I was very hurt and in lots of pain. I prescribed myself a high dosage of Re-Reading medicine.
A year later, I am in a much better place.
After my Snuffles Article I was feeling some new pain and working through some newer hurt. I did not need a high dosage though. As I received ‘Likes’ for my article and replies, I did not go back and re-read it every time. I had other things to do, life building and business and career things to do. I had healthy things to do. I did them. I am getting better at not allowing life events to throw my life off the rails.
Just took a quick break from writing to play with a chocolate lab that came by to say hello and run through my girlfriend’s garden. Super friendly dog…. 😊
This morning after breakfast, I finally did go back and I re-read my article. The last couple nights as I go to bed, I see Snuffles on the back of my eye-lids as I go to sleep. I knew I had more work to do. This morning was the morning to do the work.
I re-read my article in 4-5 batches. I’m not known for my brevity. I am not concise. The journey to the insight is as important to me as the phrase or sentence that contains the insight. I will never make a meme writer.
The tears came fresh again as I re-read my own article. It had a lot of sad stuff in that article. The sadness is still fresh in my memory as well.
Yet, re-reading it helped me to work through some more of it. Sharon, my girlfriend gave me a shoulder and back massage this morning too. She is an amazing massage therapist professionally. The massage helped to work out some of the things caught in my muscles and joints and system in general.
Hormones and other things from grief can get trapped in our bodies and those hormones are like toxic poison for our bodies, cortisol and other stress and grief triggered hormones are not chemicals that we need to leave in our bodies or brains.
Exercise, meditation, yoga, running, hiking, massage, tai chi, accupuncture and much more, are some of the great ways to get those chemicals released from our joints and the pockets between our muscle fibers.
The chocolate lab just came by again. He had a difficult time explaining before but this time he led me to a small pile of rabbit scat. He wanted to know where the rabbits were hiding. Unfortunately, I did not know the answer to this question, but pointed out the rabbits were not currently hiding in plain sight and he’d have to use his brain and nose to sniff them out. He took off again…
So re-reading my own writing after the feedback and help and love I received also helped me to literally cry out some more of those emotions and hormones.
The Missing Step 5
5. It is important not to let the process above become all consuming. It is important not to let the process take on a nuclear fusion that ignites and becomes self sustaining. There is only so much processing that the human brain can perform in any given sitting or attempt.
We do not have computer fans in our heads (well breathing does help) to cool off our processor. The more processing we do in one session, the less efficient we become at completing the processing itself. The longer we go at it, the shorter our foot steps become. Each step towards our goal starts to get cut in half, and then cut by 60% and 70% and 80% and 90% and then 91% until an hour of processing emotions yields us almost no benefit.
We have to take a break from it for an hour, a day, a week or a month or more. Then revisit when our processor is cooled down and ready to take a full step towards the goal again. With luck and time we will reach that goal and breeze past it.
So I took two days off, then took several large steps towards my goal today by re-reading my own writing. I feel infinitely better. The tears shed this time truly felt like they had accomplished something good for me. We cry so as not to hold in the negative. Then we cry to heal. Two days ago, I cried to avoid holding in too much grief. Today I cried to heal. I may or may not need to cry again for Snuffles and the temporary separation from my kids for an extended period of time. If I do it will be to heal more completely.
I do not need to feed the grief and allow the processing and a processor that is stuck processing to allow me to fall into despair.
The sun is still shining. As I finish this article and thought, I am working up a healthy dose of vitamin D. I am sweating out some toxins through my pores, probably some of those same toxic hormones that Sharon worked lose during her massage and some of the same toxic hormones from my brain that were released when I had a healthy healing cry and more as I finish putting the bandage on my healing wound with this new article.
I have several new business prospects I am chasing down today. Some of them are coming from a new source that my friend Mike McAllen helped point out to me yesterday. He is an amazingly positive friend and has been a great help to me and an inspiration too as he has worked like crazy to heal and grow from an injury last year and also to heal and grow his own business and career. Just last week, he launched a wonderful new service called Podcasting for Events as he works to leverage years and years of experience in the business of Managing large events and conferences through his original company Grass Shack Media and now through this new enterprise that also adds in his decade of experience as a Podcaster running a great show called the Meetings Podcast.
I met him at a wonderful conference in Ontario California almost ten years ago now called the Podcast Expo. I met a large number of current and amazing friends through that conference, and now he is working to help other conferences achieve some of that same magic through Podcasting for Events.
In his spare time, he turned me on to a handy Marketing match making type of service called Thumbtack.com and I’m using that today to work through some new business prospects that might help me achieve my own goals and not just keep my head above water, but do some of that life building I was hoping for two days ago.
I share all this to let you know and see that I am healing. I’m doing this to share how I am doing that healing in case you can use or morph any part of this to help yourself heal and grow.
I’m ready to continue making this a beautiful day. I invite you to join in and make your own beautiful day! I’d love to hear how you go about doing just that as my way is not the only way, and I definitely benefit from diverse perspectives and hope you can find a way to do the same!