I love dreaming. I love setting goals, making plans, getting excited about the possibilities for the future.
When it comes to taking action, however, I often falter. I let fear stop me. I struggle to break out of my usual habits and routines to do something different. I let inertia keep me where I am.
I have found journaling to be the number one tool to keep me accountable and help me take positive action to move towards my dreams. For years I would have these ideas for how my life could be different, but I never did anything differently. I wanted to leave teaching and have my own business. I wanted to build and live in a tiny house. I wanted to own my own piece of land. I wanted to write and create often.
Journaling regularly forced me to confront myself. It highlighted the incongruity I was experiencing—wanting something and not doing anything about it.
That’s why so few of us actually take action towards what we say we want: we don’t actively acknowledge that we say we want one thing, then do something else. While we are usually dimly aware of this, we don’t confront it often.
Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way and creator of morning pages says, ‘it is very difficult to complain about a situation morning after morning, month after month, without being moved to constructive action. The pages lead us out of despair and into undreamed-of solutions’.
But if you turn to the pages of your journal often enough, you will be forced to confront this: you say you want X, but you keep doing Y. It will create a sense of cognitive dissonance – an uncomfortable feeling when you realise how much your dreams and actions conflict with each other.
Slowly, you will find a way to make small changes. You will come to see the absurdity of what you’re doing now and how it is completely incongruent with the life you say you want, and you will start to do things differently. You will take action.
Eventually, your life will come into alignment with the vision you have in your mind’s eye. One day you’ll look around and realise that you’re living the life you once imagined you could live.
It was unexpected, while I was doing something else, as is often the case.
I was making coffee and thinking about what I want to achieve today. I was thinking that I should write a blog post, that proper bloggers post regularly and share helpful things like ‘Five ways to ditch self-doubt’ and ‘How to get more energy in three simple steps’, and my inner creative self just shriveled up at the thought of it.
I hate the pressure I sometimes feel as a blogger. Don’t get me wrong – I love writing. It’s one of my main passions. I love putting words on the page and expressing my deepest feelings. Actually, most of my journaling is written. But I hate feeling like I should post, and like I should share something that is catchy, useful, inspiring, entertaining… because most of the time I don’t have things like this to share.
I think that’s one of the biggest misconceptions about life coaches – that they have it all figured out – that’s why they are coaches. Not at all: coaches aren’t experts, and if you come across one who claims to be, please don’t give them your money. Coaches don’t have the answers – not for you. They have the tools to help you find your own answers inside.
And that’s one thing I am good at – listening to my own answers, from my own inner wisdom inside.
As I was making my coffee, I thought, I wish I could just blog like I write in my journal: tune into my intuition and let it flow, see what it has to say. Just as I trust my intuition to offer answers in my journal, I wish I could blog in much the same way.
And then my intuition spoke. It said: you can.
I’ve been longing for more authenticity in my work. I’ve been longing to be seen more, to share who I really am, to let my guard down.
I’ve been feeling overwhelmed about how I’m just one tiny voice in a massive sea of people all clamouring for attention, and feeling like I will never be heard. Every time I open my inbox there are another 15 emails from people launching a new course or product, asking for my money. I don’t want to be one of those people, but at the same time I want a flourishing business and I want to help people. I also need to, you know, buy food and stuff.
As the face of your brand, you have an automatic advantage because you ARE inherently different. You bring to the table a unique perspective, a different set of life experiences, a distinctive personality. You are what makes your business and brand distinctive – and so by bringing more of YOU into your business and brand, standing out becomes second nature.
After doing some work in my journal I realised that what makes me, me – that is, what makes me unique – is my sensitivity. The reason is this: I have very strong feelings about things. I care a LOT about things, I am extremely passionate and opinionated, easily excited… but I seldom share this passion and excitement because I am (most of the time without even realising it) trying to construct a certain image. I’m trying not to offend people. I’m trying to remain palatable for everyone. But of course, this means I’m not really being my whole self.
While I’m busy trying to write blog posts that are catchy, my own voice is lost. I’m never going to be heard this way.
So when my intuition nudged me this morning to try writing from the soul, instead of writing what I think people want to hear, I was curious. This is the result: a piece of writing that is true and honest. Because, what’s the point if what I’m writing isn’t true to me?
This is how I want to blog: in the same way I journal. Show up, let my intuition speak, see what it has to say. Some days it might offer ‘three simple tips’ for something, other days it might ramble and make little sense.
But I am SO SICK of trying to fit into the online business world and be something I’m not. One of the main reasons I chose to grow my own business and work for myself is to work in a way that honours who I am – not to find another mold I need to try and fit into.
If I can’t be authentic in my own business, where can I be? If I can’t let my soul speak in my creative work, if I can’t just be myself in my online space and in the way I interact with others online, then what’s the point? I may as well go back to a more stable paycheque as a teacher!
Really I think this comes down to trust – trusting your intuition. Trusting what it has to share. This is all fine and good in your own journal, when no one else is going to read it, but what about in a blog post? What about online, in my business, where I’m supposed to be ‘professional’?
What if I really leaned into this?
What if I trusted my intuition to share worthwhile content and messages, not just for me in my journal, but here, on my blog, in my business, with others?
What if my intuition doesn’t just have something that is necessary for me to hear, but for others too?
What if I really let this be my compass in my work?
The advice we are given is that we have to find a way to stand out, that people are more distracted and busy than ever, that unless we write something catchy we won’t get their attention.
But what if I just write what my soul wants to share, regardless of whether or not it gets multiple pins? What if I trust that being authentic, speaking from the heart and sharing my truth is enough?
I like to offer some kind of free guided journaling or prompts each year, and 2017 is no exception.
I thought long and hard about what would make this coming year one of growth, awareness and expansion. Finally I settled on this: Journal Into You.
What is Journal Into You?
A year of guided journaling and prompts, using monthly themes.
Each month we will explore a different theme that builds on the one from the month before. By the end of 2017 you will have learnt more about yourself and your life, connected with the core of who you really are and expanded your ideas of what you are capable of.
If you combine the growth from these prompts with the 2017 Magical Yearbook, you will end 2017 having achieved some awesome goals too!
There is one deep journaling prompt per week. I wanted to make it doable so that people didn’t feel overwhelmed with the amount of work involved. Also, the prompts ask you to explore in depth and may take some time to complete, so allowing a week per prompt means you can really get into the good stuff.
The themes are as follows:
January – Beginnings
February – Healing
March – Acceptance
April – Passion
May – Truth
June – Power
July – Success
August – Focus
September – Courage
October – Action
November – Faith
December – Fulfillment
Note – the themes may change or change order as we progress through the year, but this is a rough guide for now.
The prompts are designed to get you journaling in a variety of different ways – written, visual, even online if you feel like it. I’ve tried to keep them open enough that you can interpret them however feels right for you, while still being specific enough to guide you through a year of growth.
What you get
A beautiful, printable 2 page PDF each month
Weekly prompts centered around the monthly theme – that you can cut out and stick in your journal
Interesting quotes to guide your journaling
Tips and ideas for how to interpret the prompts and face the page
Inspiring notes and thoughts on our theme
Encouragement to keep you showing up to your journal and to help you grow
Access to a Facebook community to share ideas, journal pages, tips and get inspiration from others
How to get it
I’m offering this for free because I truly believe in the transformative power of a creative journaling practice. I know first hand how much impact a regular, in-depth journaling practice can have on your life, and I want that for you too.
I’d rather be honest and authentic and disappoint some people, than to exhaust myself trying to keep up the facade of perfection
– Crystal Paine
I haven’t written anything for a long time.
You see, I’m feeling restless. I’m feeling a bit lost, while paradoxically feeling clearer than I have in a long time.
I can sense a change in the air. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m giving birth in about ten weeks – eek! – or maybe it’s a greater change coming about in general. In thinking about my business, I know I want to make some changes moving forward – but then, I also know that changes are coming in my life as a whole, in who I am and how I live.
Whatever it is, I know that things are shifting for me in big and little ways.
I can feel the old falling away and the new beckoning me to move forward. For me, the old looks like:
Worrying about what others think
Trying to please everyone
Hiding parts of myself and my life
Trying to portray a certain image or brand
Overwhelm, confusion, being stretched too thin
Trying to fit myself within a specific box (or in business terms, niche)
Competing and feeling not enough
Fear that others will not like who I really am
Trying to do things perfectly, correctly, by the book
These are not things I’ve consciously chosen to do in the past – in fact, I’ve actively tried to avoid most of them. But now that I stop to think about it, on some level, these things have still been present in my life. They show up in the way I censor myself on social media, in the way I’m afraid to step in front of the camera to make videos, in the feelings of stress and the procrastination that follows, in the loss of interest in my work, in the deep sense that I don’t have what it takes to write a book, in feeling stifled when I think about my business.
But when I think about the new, the ways I’m being pulled to move forward, I feel such a deep sense of lightness, ease, relief and excitement.
The new looks like:
Sharing more of my life in my work – that means writing about things beyond journaling and creativity (such as motherhood, simplicity, tiny living, self care, introversion, sensitivity etc)
Letting myself be more vulnerable, more easily seen – sharing more of my fears, my imperfections, my mistakes – and my face!
No longer listening to the business ‘experts’ but rather allowing my own inner compass to guide my business
Simplifying, getting rid of things that don’t bring me joy – including possessions, beliefs, digital clutter (unfollowing, unfriending, releasing)
Trusting that I still have a lot to offer people even if it doesn’t clearly fit within an obvious brand or niche
A deep sense that my soul is guiding me forward in just the right way
A knowing that in sharing who I am, vulnerably and authentically, I can help others to heal parts of themselves and shine brighter in their own lives
An acceptance that I can’t please everyone – that people will unfollow me, unsubscribe from me, maybe even lash out at me – but that as long as I’m listening to my own inner guidance I’m on the right path
An excitement that as I am more myself and more openly authentic, I’m going to connect with the right people in the right way at the right time
Maybe that sounds a bit vague. It sort of does to me when I read it over, but at the same time it makes me feel like I know what I want going forward, like I know how I want to feel.
My business will be changing. Sure, there will still be the same journaling goodness (journaling will always be my number one tool for personal growth and soul connection) but there will be other things mixed in there too – things I feel called to share, for whatever reason. In building this little online business, I’ve struggled with the boundaries around being authentic and also being professional – with staying ‘on brand’ but also infusing myself into my work. It’s quite exhausting and limiting. I don’t want to present a certain image – I want to share me.
My deep belief is that all women, regardless of race, religion, size, social standing or anything else, have within them something valuable to share with the world.
But so many of us need to be reminded that we are enough, that who we are, as we are right now, is enough. That we have gifts to share and offer the world, that the world needs each and every one of us to share our voices, our experiences, our truths – no matter how insignificant they may seem to us. That we need to find the power within and the courage to be ourselves without apology, if we are to live a life that light us up and makes the world a better place.
I believe the best way to help women do this – to remember the great power and courage they hold within themselves – is to step into my own power, recognise my own enoughness, live my own life boldly, without apology and be an example for others.
And currently, I’m feeling stifled – by my online ‘brand’, by my work (my blogging, writing, social media etc), by the old ways of doing things. I’m sensing parts of myself just dying to be heard, expressed and shared, but instead being pushed down as I fear they aren’t ‘on brand’, or might offend someone, or just plain aren’t enough.
No more apologies, disclaimers, worrying about what someone might think. No more holding back, hiding parts of myself, trying to fit within a certain box or image to appeal to some ‘target audience’ out there. No more worrying about what label best fits me – artist, coach, writer, teacher… who cares? No more trying to have it all figured out.
It’s time for rawness, authenticity, vulnerability and courage. It’s time for mistakes, mess and imperfection.
Or rather, there are some things I just don’t mention all that much.
You see, I’m a hippie. And I don’t just mean in a let’s-love-each-other-and-save-the-planet kind of way, although I definitely am that kind of hippie too.
No, I mean in the incense-burning, crystal-holding, oracle-card-pulling, dream-manifesting, inner-Divine-connecting, meditating, chakra-balancing, energy-clearing, past-life-regressing, kind of way. The ‘woo-woo’ kind of way.
I have sort of alluded to these things before. I’ve talked about my belief that we can connect to the Divine within us through journaling. I’ve mentioned manifesting and using oracle cards. But…
I’ve always kind of watered this side of myself down. I’m very aware that everyone has their own belief system, their own understanding of the truth. I don’t want to be someone who says that what I believe is the one truth, that my beliefs are the only right thing. Because I think it’s important that each and every one of us finds our own understanding of what rings true for us.
But in trying to please everyone, I’ve let myself down. I write a lot about the importance of vulnerability and being authentic, but I’ve not been fully walking my talk.
So here goes: I’m coming out of the spiritual closet, so to speak. I’m claiming what I know to be true for myself, I’m owning my own power. I’m no longer watering my message down in an attempt to please everyone, because I know that in doing that I am doing a disservice to those who really need to hear my message.
I don’t want to get lost in the noise of the internet because I’m only offering a luke-warm version of who I am. I want to set the world on fire with my message, with being 100% me – my weirdest and most wonderful self.
Because I believe there is so much more to this world than meets the eye. I believe we each have inner access to the Divine – we are not separate from it but part of it. We can access this inner Divine if we choose to tune into the whispers of our soul and tune out the ranting of our ego.
You might call the Divine something else, for example God, source, spirit, the universe – the language doesn’t matter. I believe we are not separate from it. In fact, most of the great spiritual teachers tell us that the Divine is within.
I believe that we each have a soul – the inner part of us connected to the Divine wisdom, above and beyond what we can logically comprehend. I believe this soul has been through many lifetimes before and will go through more after our body is gone.
And I believe that in connecting to our soul, we can find out our own unique purpose in this world, in this lifetime. That’s certainly what I’ve done, and I’ve seen others do it too. Unsurprisingly, I believe that journaling is one of the best ways to connect with our soul, but there are others – meditation, prayer, guided visualisation (another powerful tool I’ve been using a lot lately), to name a few.
I also believe that we can consciously manifest and create a life that brings us pure joy – if we know how. I always thought manifesting was little more than vision boards and affirmations, but I’ve since learned there’s a lot more to it. I’ve created a lot of wonderful things in my life in the past and with my new-found knowledge I’m excited to create more.
Because lately, I’ve been really diving deep. It’s funny how the universe sends us exactly what we need right when we need it. I’ve somehow stumbled across books, teachers, concepts, situations – you name it – designed to guide me further down my path. I’m letting go of what no longer serves me and committing wholeheartedly to the person I am meant to be and the purpose I am meant to serve in this world.
I believe I am Divinely guided in bringing this message forward (we all are, if we choose to allow ourselves to be).
And I’ve really clarified what the ‘wild’ in Journal Wild stands for: it’s our soul. It’s the wild within us, the part of us that is connected to the greater energy, to the Divine, to the power of the universe. When we tap into our inner wild – our soul – we realise our true power, our true purpose.
I hope I haven’t lost you in this post – it has simply poured out of my heart onto the page. From now on, I’m wearing my heart (or rather, my soul) on my sleeve. I’m being my most authentic self, sharing what I learn and what I know to be true. If my message doesn’t resonate with you, that’s fine. I wish you love and light nonetheless. And if it does resonate with you, I look forward to sharing more wild soul connections with you as I head further down this path.