Journal Prompts To Help You Get Unstuck


“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” 
~ Corrie Ten Boom

Good Morning, Lovelies!

If you read my post yesterday you’ll know that this week supports us in efforts to get unstuck in our lives. I’m sure most of you already know I have a love affair with journal writing. In fact, I can’t even begin to wonder how many millions of words I’ve clocked up longhand over the years. Using writing time to help me move past a place of stuckness is a useful process that I’ve resorted to often in my journalling life. The technique was created by me deciding to define a problem in order to better manage it or determine a realistic scale on which to freak out….

In all my years of journalling around stuckness, I’ve never ended up at the freaking out stage – instead, I’ve always found a way to keep calm, to carry on, and to dig myself out of the hole. I guess that’s why I keep using this technique. Read on to find out more.

Activity:

Take out your journal and get comfortable.

You may be able to do this whole process in thirty minutes or less. Or it may take much longer.

If you’re stuck, it doesn’t matter. When you’re stuck there is no momentum.

When you begin to journal your stuckness it’s amazing how you begin to wiggle free from feeling trapped.

Defining the nature of your stuckness, and what it might mean for you

  • What is the nature of the stuckness? Is it an action you need to take, a problem you need to solve or a decision that needs to be made? (Sometimes a stuckness may involve two or even all three of these elements – if that’s the case, write about each of these aspects, in the order you think they would need to be taken.) Write as much as you need to to really define this situation. If you don’t have all the answers create a list of things you need to research or investigate.
  • Okay – here’s the scary bit. You need to ask yourself ‘What is the worst thing that can happen here?” Seriously. Go into as much detail as you can.  Write until you’ve exhausted all of the possibilities.  Really go to town and dump all your fears and worries onto the page. Once we’ve named them, we can much better deal with them. And it stops our minds racing off creating worst-case scenarios later on when we’d be better employed working towards solutions!

How do you feel about that?

  • Journals are places to download our feelings. Who can thing clearly with a head full of guff? Write down all those swirling emotions inside you that come up in relation to this place of stuckness. It clears the air.  It calms things down.  It calms YOU down. It can be a great relief to finally acknowledge how you truly feel about the thing you’re stuck with/on/in. Sometimes, we begin to find solutions right here in our feelings.  Maybe we’re scared to succeed. Maybe we’re frightened of responsibility.  Maybe we feel we have to do the thing to please someone else. Maybe we said yes when we wanted to say no. Whatever it is, journalling our feelings is the beginning of unravelling this mess!

Okay – the hard part’s done.  Once we’ve identified the issue and how we feel about it, we have begun to move from stuckness to clarity. Use any or all of these questions and prompts to keep moving you forward:

  • From what you’ve written have you already reached a decision, conclusion or clarity that can get you out of stuckness? If so, write down your findings, and then chart a plan of action. Plans are great. They give us something solid to work from. If you like creating lists, then go for it!

If you’re still not sure what to do next, explore these options on the page. Use the prompts to help you develop lists and strategies:

  • Is there an expert, resource, course or friend who could help us by giving us the guidance, support and techniques/skills we need to get unstuck? (For example, if you’re writing a book and having problems with the plot you could do a workshop, read a how-to book, or join a writing group.)
  • Can we hand the whole thing over to someone else to do or finish? ( Say you’ve been procrastinating over seven years of unfinished taxes – can you give everything to a book-keeper, or phone an accountant and ask their advice about what to do next? Can you pay your Mum or your best friend who loves paperwork, or the person from the advertisement in the paper?)
  • Can we start at a different corner of the mess?  Often we keep approaching an issue in the same way, and from the same angle. Obviously when we don’t get anywhere we end up stuck. Is there another way you could approach this? Brainstorm as many alternatives as you can, writing them all down. When you’ve generated your list then you can choose a new approach and get started. (For example, you need to get your house ready for sale, and it’s overwhelming you. Instead of starting on a big job, tidy out your kitchen drawers, go through the linen cupboard, build momentum on the easy things or the small things.  Soon you’ll be powering through the problem areas. If you’re writing a book set in medieval England and you love the idea but it’s just not working can you make it sci-fi, or fantasy fiction?)
  • Instead of choosing Option A or Option B can we choose Option F, Q or Z? How many times has it come down to what we think is an extremely limited choice? We paint ourselves into a corner thinking we need to choose between A and B when actually we could have chosen both, none, or something else. Brainstorm some crazy alternatives to your current stuckness. Somewhere in that list will be the seeds of what will grow into your solution. (For example, you are living in a share house and you don’t like one of the new housemates. You obsess about how to get them to leave. You agonise about how you will cope if they stay. Well, could YOU move out? Could you go house-sitting, get a job or go back to study that supplies accommodation, use this as the push to move interstate or overseas, move in with friends or your folks for a while so you can save money to get a place of your own? Could you sell up and go back-packing around Europe for a year, or buy a campervan and hit the road?)
  • And the craziest part of all of this – could you choose to give up on the stuckness, bin the whole thing and move onto something else? Could you finally let this idea/ situation/issue die a good death so that you can start over on something new? (Maybe it’s time to put that half-finished manuscript in a bottom drawer and write something new. Or end the relationship and enjoying being single for a while. Go back to study and change your career direction rather than stay stuck in a dead-end job.)

When we write out our problems, our brain is encouraged to find a solution.  We let the Universe know that we are done with being stuck and that our intention is to get moving again. And more than once, when I’ve begun this process, a solution has come out of nowhere. That’s the Law of Attraction in action!  Think positive. Trust in good outcomes!

Lots of love, Nicole ♥ xx

Sometimes the Knight doesn’t wear Shining Armour

“He dug his heels into his horse’s flanks and sped down the path. He heard the others call out behind him, but he ignored them. He was sure Karl and Johan and the others would have searched the rosebush and that entire area carefully enough; there was nothing to learn there. But he wanted to get to the hunting lodge, to find Prince Grigori and punch him in the nose for losing Petunia, and then make certain that her sisters were alright. And then he would find Petunia, and he would bring her home.”
~ Jessica Day George, Princess of the Silver Woods

And then there’s this:

“Attitude is something that comes to your rescue when you’re looking for help from external sources.”
~ Sachin Kumar Puli

It’s been a big week for many after a big, big year. The energies of change related to 2013, the resolving of old patterns from before 2012, the Mercury retrograde and the pull of the full moon have all been at play.

This week I’ve watched a friend end up on her knees in business; emotionally and physically burned out, fast running out of options, her finances a mess and her self-esteem in tatters. She’d thought to sell two years ago, and got a good offer.  I told her to take it and run but she thought she could get more money if she waited. Then the market changed, cash flow got tighter and things have gone downhill since. Now, suddenly there’s a way to solve her problems. A competitor has offered to buy her out with a cash settlement, and she’d walk away debt-free but with nothing in her pocket. She thinks she might stay and try to trade her way out of the mess…

Image from EKNews

Image from EKNews

On Tuesday a client I hadn’t heard from for years called me, hysterical. He wanted me to tell him what to do. He has just lost everything – family home, family business, cars, furniture, artwork, the lot – in one foul swoop as banks and creditors closed in on him, even as he was promising one more deal, just one more thing that might pay off into the future and save the day. His wife hadn’t even known they were in trouble. Her parents want to step in and help them, but the bailiff had already locked the doors and seized their assets. They were too late. And it was too late for me to give him options from which to make any kind of decent choices. What an awful feeling for both of us.

And then I received a call from a woman with two young children, caught right in the fire zone in the Blue Mountains. They’d been told to evacuate at a town meeting, and a fireman had just knocked on her door asking her to leave, but she wondered if she put a ring of salt around her home, said protection prayers and asked the Angels for help would she and her babies be safe?

It got me to thinking on some advice my grandfather gave me when I was very young, in the form of a story.

Up in the mountains it began to rain. And rain. And rain. A weather bulletin was broadcast over the radio and television stations, warning the families in the valley below that a flood was coming, and they must evacuate their homes.

“Don’t worry,” one man told his worried family. “God will protect us.” They stayed put and prayed to God for help.

After an hour a neighbour came to the door. “We have a truck,” the neighbour said. “Let us help you load what we can carry and we’ll leave the valley together.”

“It’s okay,” said the man. “You go on ahead. God will protect us.”

The neighbour shrugged his shoulders and the truck went on its way.

By nightfall the river had broken its banks and soon water was up to the front door of the house. A boat came past and a loud voice yelled out, “Rescue Boat. Come aboard!”

The man stood in the window with a torch. “We’re okay. God will protect us.” He refused to get into the boat. Instead he and his family prayed.

But the flood waters kept rising. Soon the man and his family had to clamber up onto the roof to stay dry. In the early hours of the morning a helicopter came and a searchlight illuminated the family on the roof, flood water swirling all around them. Once again the man waved them off. Again the family prayed.

The water kept rising, and the whole family were drowned.

Up in Heaven the man angrily confronted God. “Why did you forsake us? We prayed to you. We believed that you would help us!”

God shook his head. “I’m sorry. I tried my best.”

“But you didn’t protect us!” the man said.

“No,” God replied. “You didn’t accept my offers of help. I sent out broadcasts to warn you of the dangers so you could help yourselves. Then I sent a truck, and then a boat and finally a helicopter…”

Sometimes the Knight in shining armor doesn’t look like our idea of a hero, or offer our idea of a rescue or solution. The Knight offers us a lesser deal, or they drive an old bomb of a car, or they have bad manners or body odour.

Sometimes we don’t get our dream outcome. But in holding out for that improbable dream and not facing the reality of our situation, we overlook the tangible options in front of us and end up in a worse mess.

Sometimes what turns our life around or that gives us our lucky break comes disguised as hard work, a lowly start, or something that looks quite ordinary.

I’m glad to say that the woman with the young children packed up her babies and her cats and drove out to safety. At last report her home is also safe although she needs to stay in an evacuation centre for now. Her saviours don’t have wings, and they’re not buff young semi-naked men off a fire-fighting calendar, although I know they do exist.

Her Angels are disguised as ordinary heroes from an out-of-town rural fire brigade. To her, they’re heaven sent, and an answer to her prayers!

Don’t leave things til the last minute. Especially when you’re facing trouble. Know that help comes in all sorts of forms, and many unexpected ways. So look around. Be open to options. Be ready for action. Be prepared to say yes, and for your Knight to be nothing like you’d imagined.

When you first get that feeling that there might be a problem, that you’re out of your depth a little, or that things aren’t going so well, take action.  That clunk in the car might only need a simple bottle of oil, but if you leave it you’ll need a whole new transmission. Asking for help and looking at alternatives allows others with more skill or knowledge than us to give us options and actions we might not have been able to think of ourselves.

Sometimes the thing we hang onto too tightly is not worth the precious things we risk by that hanging on.

Today I’m holding you in my thoughts and prayers, and wishing for you the best of outcomes, no matter what your current situation.

Love and hugs, Nicole xx