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Finding Your Inner Wisdom

Text by: Christine Pethel

This morning was just another day, like yesterday, and every day before that.

The alarm blares at 5:30 a.m.
I hit the snooze button and roll out of bed.
Stumble to the bathroom and bump into doorframes the entire way there.
Shock myself with a splash of cold water.
Brush teeth. Take shower. Get dressed.
Eat food.
Feed dog.
Grab keys.

And on my way to the front door, I catch a glimpse of myself in the long, hallway mirror.

"I'm not half bad," I think, "dressed in my slim, navy pantsuit, black chunky heels, briefcase in hand. I have a high-powered job, one that many women would do anything for. I have money in the bank and a well-styled apartment. I went to school for many years, earning a well-respected degree. I have a close group of girlfriends and a wonderful husband.

"But then why do I stare at myself like this every morning? Standing here wondering if every day could be better spent doing something different. Wondering why on the outside I look put together, but inside I felt colorless. Did I choose the wrong profession? Did I miss my 'calling' in life? What does my future hold? Do I really want to be doing this for the rest of my life?"

But I don't have the answers. I never do.
So I walk out the door, just like I do every other day, and go on with life.
Feeling empty.

On one particular morning, as I sat staring at a yellow legal notepad on my desk, I felt the urge to write, and to write a lot! But it wasn't the type of writing that was part of my usual routine… legal briefs, memorandums, instructions for my secretary, or articles for the monthly sales report. This was random, unorganized, and uncategorized writing. Jumbled words on a page. Haphazard thoughts that flowed from mind to paper, without any judgment or analysis. Love, pain, anger, and frustration poured onto the pages. Questions, annoyances, praises, and blessings streamed out of my subconscious… until it all came out, until I could write no more.

© Jessica Ceason Photography

What also started to emerge were my dreams — manifestations of my inner fantasies and visions of where I wanted my life to go. The thoughts that normally swirled through my head all day were actually starting to make sense, and I was feeling more alive than I could remember ever feeling. I was receiving answers, as I started to sort through the rubbish in my head. And after I was finished, it felt like I had just taken the trash out. I felt clean.

I tried it again the following day. This time, though, I woke up extra early in the morning to do my writing. I really wanted to start my day with that same clean feeling. Not as many thoughts came out, but I still had loads of nonsensical musings. I didn't stop. I kept writing.

It wasn't long before a feeling of lightness came over me, as if the huge burden I had been carrying every day was now being lifted. It was a new feeling, and I welcomed it.

I began writing in my Morning Journal (as I now call it) every day. I spent days learning about myself, digging deep into who I was as a person and all the things I valued and held true. I learned that I actually hated my blonde hair. I learned that the Indian restaurant I had eaten at four years ago left an indelible impression on me, so much that I had been left craving more ever since (guess where my husband and I dined very soon after that realization?). I also learned that I loved afternoon tea, reading period romance novels, and listening to teenage, pop music.

I also learned I was a pretty eloquent writer, rather than just a systematic journalist, which is what I had chosen as my profession. Song lyrics would fall out onto the page. Verses of poetry were being channeled, and I learned that all those years I chose to believe people who told me I would never be more than a backup singer were spent on falsehood. Those people were wrong. I loved music. No, I craved music. Music moved me and was a colossal piece of me. Music explained phases of my life and eventually helped create soundtracks to new ones I'd soon go through.

© Jessica Ceason Photography

Sometimes painful memories emerged, ones I thought I had buried deep down. They were scary at first, but as I learned to embrace them and work through them, parts of me began to heal and feel alive again.

I now write everyday without fail. I'm almost afraid not to. I wake early enough just to have a visit with the written page. I write three pages. Sometimes more, but never any less. If I can't think of anything to say, I simply write, "I can't think of anything to say," or repeat words like, "cold, cold, cold" or "bored, bored, bored." I have given myself a page limit because I sometimes felt myself wanting to finish early, times when I was probably fighting some difficult thoughts. Or sometimes I wanted to end early, because I couldn't think of anything to say. But the minute I pushed through it, the words just kept flowing.

My thoughts are very random, broken up and sometimes nonsensical. That's okay. I just keep writing. I keep telling myself that I'm freeing up space for the more important, and more desirable, things I want to pattern my life after. I never go back to analyze the pages. I'm kind of afraid to, for fear of seeing the type of person I used to be.

There are, however, thoughts that emerge, which need to be remembered. It could be anything from a small "to do" to a larger grand idea. Either way, I don't want them to become lost, but again, I never go back to analyze the pages. As such, if there is something that pops up I know I need to remember, I underline it and put a star in the margin. At the end of my writing, I go back and transfer my starred notes to a separate "Idea Page" in a different notebook.

Morning is the best time to write, as I feel we are still somewhat tapped into our subconscious. I sometimes crawl out of bed, wrap a blanket around me, and lie out on the couch with my back propped against the armrest. I gaze out through the glass door at the morning dew and foggy mist, as the sun is barely beginning to make its appearance. It is then I pour my heart out onto the pages.

My days are different now. As I catch glimpses of myself walking out the door to my newly acquired dream job, I always take the time to reflect on what my life was like before and what it has become today. I say a prayer of gratitude for having the wisdom and courage to look inside myself, to clear the clutter of my every day brain, and to have the opportunity to learn about my goals and aspirations. I now know what I want out of life, and all because I took the time to ask questions. Big questions! And I dug deep —really deep. I am now wiser for knowing myself better.

© Jessica Ceason Photography

Don't wait to start a Morning Journal. You can come from any walk of life. Whether you are overwhelmed with the day, or completely content, there is deep wisdom that comes out onto the pages. Find that wisdom that is in your soul. Clear the clutter in your head, and ask the deep questions. You will be all the wiser for it.