Time’s speeding by.
I’m not so sure I can say the same about life anymore.
What everyone had hoped would be over in a matter of a few days (the pandemic), seems to have made up its mind to stay around for longer.
But what about us?
You and me who are feeling stuck, who are struggling to adjust to this new form of life.
The one important realization I’ve had the hard way is that when the circumstances around me are unsettled, uncertain and stressful, I find peace in following my routines.
With everything changed, things that we once took for granted no longer available freely, the one practice that has kept me sane has been journaling.
It’s amazing how every time I write or talk about journaling, my friends and readers react by saying its something they have been thinking of trying but have never found the time to do it consistently.
Today I can safely say that writing in my journal is one of the practices that have helped me become who I am today.
Someone who is in love with herself and believes that she has got her back.
I am a completely changed person.
Earlier, most parts of my mind were occupied with the thoughts of how bad I was. I always looked at myself as a monster who deserved to be unhappy. I’d shame and blame myself for everything happening around me and to me.
I was my harshest critic.
As expected, it added to my pain and sufferings, manifold.
Soon after my divorce, while grappling with single motherhood and battling depression my journal entries talk about my craving for a romantic relationship.
The longing to be in love. To be in a relationship that could rescue me from the hurt of loneliness, the yearning of a companion and the solace of being held, of being listened to.
To feel the calm, understanding, the reassurance of someone saying that they’re right here, they’ve got me.
And there was no one to make me feel so.
I have written about that phase in my post, Finding Love, Again!
Today, I want to share with you the real practice that helped me achieve that transformation because this practice has helped me survive in this pandemic when things have been rather rough in my personal life.
I have spent the past year reading, learning, grieving, healing and connecting with people who have suffered childhood trauma like I have.
It has been a bumpy road like every path on way to healing is.
There are days when I feel energised by my findings.
I feel at peace with the understanding that I am worthy of love, peace and all good things irrespective of what happened in my past.
I have moments of joy when I look back at how far I have come in my road to recovery.
And then suddenly the scene changes.
The anger, the frustration, the hurt that maybe I haven’t yet healed as much I thought I had, is back.
And the cycle rinses and repeats from time to time.
In these emotionally draining moments, when my mind returns to the old patterns of longing for love and reassurance and somebody to give me devoted care, I find it in my journal.
Over the years of my journaling practise, I have evolved from writing only about my hurt and aspirations to something that has helped me transform and grow.
It is an extension of a childhood practice I cultivated early on.
My earliest memory is of a time when I was around 6 or 7 years old. It was the summer holidays and my family used to sleep on the terrace, out in the cool breeze. We didn’t have any coolers or air conditioners at that time.
It was pretty late at night and I remember developing a bad stomach ache. I mentioned it to my mother who I knew was awake. She just patted my back for a brief moment and asked me to go off to sleep. But I just couldn’t.
I then gently started stroking myself and my belly where it was hurting in the most loving and caring way I could.
I remember being the most loving person I knew to myself in those moments of acute distress (one out of pain and second out of not being given the loving attention I craved from my mother). Soon I dozed off to sleep but this practice has stuck with me.
In the days and years that followed I continued to play the loving voice, the caring touch, the understanding embrace I needed in times of unhappiness, loneliness and pain.
I did something similar with my journal.
Every night, I’d open my journal and begin by sharing how my day went, what was on my mind, what was my plan for the next day and write to myself in the most loving way I can imagine.
I write about the things that are troubling me, what triggers me, my worries, my hopes and more in a non-judgemental way. Just like someone who loves me dearly would listen to me.
It’s funny how we trust our journals with our secrets, our biggest fears and even the hopes of the future yet we seldom give our journal the chance to become the perfect friend or the perfect partner or the perfect parent we’d love to have in our life.
This practice has evolved over time but it has now grown into something that has changed the way I talk to myself.
My inner voice has slowly but surely adapted to the changed tone.
I still catch myself being critical but I am at a place where I hush it down in a matter of seconds to return to be the loving, understanding self.
I feel I am kinder to myself.
I don’t judge myself anymore or perhaps not as much as I did earlier.
I am more at peace with who I am and whatever I am doing to put one foot ahead of another.
I have learnt to love my reflection and to watch myself in a full-length mirror without my mind racing to find flaws and count imperfections like it did in the past.
It has been my driving force in the wake of the pandemic.
I have been able to survive the pangs of fear and worry as a single parent who is the caregiver of elderly parents because I have been able to recharge my emotional batteries with self-love and self-compassion.
It’s fascinating how the changed circumstances in the pandemic have shown us that everything can be lost. Our jobs, the economic stability and even our loved ones. But what shall always remain is our inner voice.
Our relationship with ourselves shall last until the very end.
It makes sense to invest the time and love in nurturing it.
Befriending our inner voice, making it the kind, the loving, patient partner we all need from time to time can be a coping mechanism that can help us swim through the happy and rough times with the same ease.
It’s a simple practice that has become a force of transformation in my life.
I have learnt how to be fully present with my oneself and to fully inhabit my inner life.
It can help you cope in a way that you are no longer looking for substances (the glass of wine or the cupcakes or binge-watching shows on Netflix or retail therapy) to drown your anxieties or to make your pain bearable.
It offers the gift of having someone listen to you, patiently.
Someone who allows you to be your authentic self without judgement or unsolicited advice.
Someone with your best interests in mind.
Someone who has nothing else to offer but unconditional love.
Someone who allows fresh air to the dusty corners of your mind making it possible for you to be fully aware of your true wants and aspirations.
Journaling helps provide me with an outlet from the debilitating anxiety that comes to visit me at the most unexpected hours of the day.
The surge of self-compassion that I feel pumping in my veins every time I write in my journal has helped me feel well in these trying times.
My journal entries are a testament of me having survived the today while recording my state of constant evolution because I’m sure with each passing day I’m becoming unrecognisable to my future self.
Gift yourself positivism in every step of life.
With a copy of my e-book: 21 Steps to Build a Positive Life
This e-book is a collection of the actionable steps you can take every day to create a more meaningful, positive existence.
The song on my mind: Ek pyar ka magma hai ~ Shor