When I think of people that I admire and those whose company gives me much joy, those people, I notice, have one certain character trait in common – they are encouragers!

This week I was at a thanksgiving service for a dear soul who was a great encourager. Whoever met him would leave his presence with a smile on their face and a song in their heart.

I want to be like that. I want to lift others; come alongside others; speak joy and hope to others.

A person who encourages is one with whom one feels one’s own spirit lifted. They do not use flattery or shallow, people-pleasing rhetoric, but they see what is good, what is true, what is possible, what is excellent and they focus on those things.

I have often said of myself that I am very easily encouraged and equally too easily discouraged. I am not proud of this. I wrote a poem some years ago, called ‘Emotional Rollercoaster’ because of this unpredictable powerlessness I had over my emotional state!

And it is still true of me. My emotional response to circumstances can fluctuate so rapidly, with the next change of the winds of fortune and opinion! It is not a healthy way to be and it is something that my growth journey of the last seven years has had me constantly aware of and working on.

It is a battlefield in the mind, as Joyce Meyer expounds in her excellent book with that title.

We are called to be transformed, by the renewing of our minds. Thankfully my mind is changing and being renewed slowly.

The key is in the word, courage.

When I am discouraged, I lose courage and become fearful. Such fears are rooted in rejection, punishment and limiting beliefs about myself, lies that say I deserve nothing, that I am stupid and that I am worthless.

When a circumstance changes and an obstacle arises, or a person shows hostility or opposition to something I hold dear, then the negative thoughts in my mind can trigger the fears and leave me feeling powerless and without courage or hope. I sink rapidly into a pit.

When I am encouraged, it feels like the world smiles on me; I feel accepted; I feel okay and I have the courage to believe that I can do something worthwhile. Encouraged, the sun shines and I can look for solutions to obstacles and I have courage to believe the truth and to stand against opposition with truth and resilience.

The trouble is that I still rely too heavily on such encouragement from other people.

Though I am working on ‘re-framing’ those internal scripts, that say I am rubbish, and contradicting them with true facts about who I really am and the truth of who God says I am, still I am too easily swayed by the opinions of others and the obstacles that appear in my circumstances.

Likewise I can choose to focus on the speck in the eye of another and the plank in my own eye, or I can be grateful for the goodness in that person’s heart and in the growth in my own life.

I am a work in progress. I have to constantly contradict the lies from my internal critic; have to constantly be mindful of the truth about the present reality; have to remind myself of what God says about me in His word; have to build myself up in faith and stand with courage on the faithful promises of God.

I need to build my house upon the Rock, not upon sand.

And I need to do this for myself and not rely on the opinions and acceptance of others. For transformation, I have to remain alert and keep up the housekeeping in myself. It is a daily practice of hope, as essential as sleep, food and water.

However, it is also my mission to my brothers and sisters.

I remind myself that today I will only say and do that which build another person up, in the truth.

I will not criticise, gossip or speak doom and gloom.

I will see all that is lovely, all that is good and true and excellent.

I will focus on those things and I will point them out to myself and to my fellow warriors who battle with their own minds.

I will be an encourager, a light and a smile to others, wherever I find myself.

Will you encourage and give hope to somebody today?

Habits or disciplines?

I seem to be doing a bit-of-a-series of blogs about processing emotions.

I blame Barb for this. 😀

It is interesting for me though, as processing emotions is a skill I have been learning more systematically over the last few years.

It is a skill I have needed to grow since embarking on a therapeutic journey, that I refer to in the book that I am currently rewriting/editing.

I would like you to help me in this, please.

You perhaps experience and process emotions in a very different way to that which I experience and process them. No doubt you have different issues, different traumas, different challenges.

But I would love it if you read my articles and think (for example), ‘I don’t find that at all, I do x,y and z, because I experience not a, but c.’ – I would love you to tell me about that.

Some people will identify with the thoughts and feelings I describe and some will not, but they might identify with yours. This is great.

I am very interested to know how you think, feel and function too.

Today I just want to share something about me which irritates me.

People speak about bad habits and good habits. This has always puzzled me, though I know what it should mean.

Confession 1: I do not have any good habits. The nearest to a good habit I possess is brushing my teeth at bedtime!

Every other good and healthy thing that I do is a discipline. I have to work hard to make myself do the things that I feel I should do and even when I become so regular that I do it every day, I only need to miss it once and the effort to continue is monumental.

Confession 2: I have a lot of bad habits! I was addicted to alcohol and to nicotine, until 7 years ago and 4 years ago respectively.

I no longer drink any alcohol and no longer smoke, but I am still an ‘all or nothing’ person. If I open a packet of biscuits, figs, chocolate, ice-cream, halva, etc it will be gone before the day is out. Sometimes I sellotape, wrap and hide the packet, but my short-term memory is good and it is not fooled. My mind obsesses about it until it is gone.

This disappoints me enormously!

Good habits disciplines: I have a range of these – and some are so useful and wonderful that I manage to discipline myself to do them daily:

– My Morning Pages and my time-of-prayer are two that I love to start my day with. They bring me enormous joy, peace, focus, insight and revelation, but some nights when I am setting my alarm I choose to ignore this and set the alarm to not allow the time for them! I can become quite disappointed with myself if I miss these.

– Language practice and keyboard practice. I am not very musical (this is an understatement!), but I managed to teach myself 24 favourite praise songs (by rote) and in order to practice them I made a rota of 8 songs per day, to ensure each song is practised twice a week. Are they? No! For the first year, I was disciplined and did it every day, now I feel pleased if I practise a group of eight each week.

The languages? So far these are on a good run. I use Duo-lingo to practice the languages and am very excited to have achieved a consecutive run of (streak) of over 300 days. The incentive there is if I miss a day, I’ll go back to zero and I can’t bare that now!

These are just some examples.

Of course I have commitments that I fulfil and it is very important to me to keep my word and perform the duties I’ve signed up to do. Doing duties and jobs is not a habit or a discipline, in my perspective.

Maybe I am more concerned about not disappointing other people than I am about disappointing myself?

How do I process my disappointments with myself?

  • I have to forgive myself. I believe God forgives me, so I have to forgive myself.
  • My addictions took a lot of preparation and work to break and having someone alongside me and to whom I was accountable was crucial.
  • With things I have omitted, I try again – sometimes I will add it on to the end of my day instead.
  • With my ‘all-or-nothing greed’, I have to avoid purchasing large packets of anything. I purchase individual ice-creams, small individually wrapped packets and I hope that next time, when I open a packet, I can learn to be restrained.

Some of the knocks in my life have left scars and given me a limp. It does me no good to beat myself up over the weaknesses still around.

I believe that I can change and slowly break the bad habits, but so far I maintain that the good practices remain disciplines.

Like my book, I am a work in progress.

How about you? Are you disciplined and moderate? Are you ‘all-or-nothing’? Do you beat yourself up, or accept your weaknesses for today?

Have you thought to have somebody to whom you hold yourself accountable?

Tell me if you want prayer for a habit you want to break, or an area you want to change.


Do you ever have that thought of ‘The grass is always greener on the other side’?

Of wanting not this one, but that one – the one you haven’t got?

A sense of always seeking something else/ something other/ something more, but never quite finding it?

A sense loving and hating the same thing – of an ambivalence that you almost dare not admit, because it feels ‘wrong’ in some way and of which you feel you should be ashamed?

Ambivalence (noun)

-uncertainty or fluctuation, especially when caused by inability to make a choice or by a simultaneous desire to say or do two opposite or conflicting things.

-Psychology. the coexistence within an individual of positive and negative feelings toward the same person, object, or action, simultaneously drawing him or her in opposite directions. (Dictionary)

Ambivalence is a state of having simultaneous conflicting reactions, beliefs, or feelings towards some object. Stated another way, ambivalence is the experience of having an attitude towards someone or something that contains both positively and negatively valenced components.Wikipedia

Possible examples –

Your beloved infant is playing, but their demands are beginning to irritate you and you wish they would take a nap and give you a moment to yourself… then they go to sleep and you don’t know what to do and stare at them with awe and such love and you wish their nap would be over already?

You spend ages planning for your holiday; you can’t wait and finally you go… and you enjoy it, but you miss the cat and the neighbours and can’t wait to come home… and then you return home, look at the photos and proclaim what a fantastic holiday it was and how you wish you were still there?

You are happy that your friend is coming to visit at last, but it will take some preparation and your routines will be disrupted, and you feel a bit nervous, because you won’t be able to… But then the friend cancels and you are terribly disappointed and a bit cross and immediately forget the reservations and try to reschedule?

Or you just always seem to be only interested in the chase – for the thing (new toy, purchase, acquisition), the person (contact, relationship, follower), or the experience (holiday, job, thrill, adventure) and when you have acquired it, you have to move on to chase after the next thing?

It can be anything – a job, a partner, a home, a holiday – something you dreamed of, worked for and love, but yet there’s a dissatisfaction – a sense of it not being enough maybe? To think it is ‘not enough’, that he or she ‘is not enough’ sounds like an insult and feels like a bad thought, so you don’t say it; but what is it really?

Why the conflicting thoughts, or uncertainty or ambivalent feelings?

Could it be a healthy, mature result of a broad openness that sees possibilities and opportunities, by removing limitations of ‘either/or’ and welcoming ‘both/and’ options?

Or could it be a healthy motivating force, that keeps us growing, moving forward, learning, searching and working to improve our environments, our situations and the world in which we live?

Or could it be an immature response – a self-centred focus on immediate personal gratification, without any commitment to any work or sacrifice?

Or is it society conditioning you to be a target/materialistic/status oriented person, that keeps you dissatisfied with the present and hankering after a promised future with ‘more’?

Or is it just impossible to really know what you actually want, in your heart of hearts?

Personally I am frequently aware of my own ambivalence in so many situations of life, particularly in the thousands of choices I make within each day.

I want it and I don’t. It’s never quite right. Or I just have no idea what I want, because I am more aware of what I think you think I should want! Maybe my ambivalence is purely a result of insecure childhood attachments and lack of safety or certainty growing up?

So how do I process this, in order to function and grow?

-One of my processing tools is my ‘morning pages’ – wherein I write, sometimes in shocking honesty, all those conflicting thoughts and emotions to expose them to myself. (It does take some work to silence the inner-critic and the inner-censor, but that is the practice of morning page and a large part of their value.) The reality is often that the processing just reveals the complexity of needs – past and present – that can then allow me to choose to compromise, with a fresh perspective and a dose of healthy realism, rather than false expectations.

-The practice of being mindful of the eternal here-and-now reminds me to savour the NOW of each experience with gratitude for the magic of the moment.

-Gratitude for all the blessings in my life and a practice of prayer are also a major part of my learning to make wholesome choices and to be content to commit myself to the paths I choose.

Do you experience any of these aspects of ambivalence?

If you do, how do you process them and resolve the inner conflicts?

What are you afraid of?

What are you afraid of?

Many are afraid of death. Most are afraid of pain.

But what is behind the fear; behind the threat, if you like?

For most of my adult life I have been told not to worry and am reminded that the Bible tells us to ‘Be not afraid’. But I was still afraid.

For me, apart from the common fear of annihilation and fear of physical pain and suffering, most often the fears I have are much more difficult to understand or explain – and therefore more difficult to control. These are often experienced as worry, nervousness, anxiety, but can be equally terrifying and debilitating.

We all know about the flight, fight or freeze response to fear of immediate (real or perceived) threat. This bypasses reason and thought, which is why it can be more difficult to control. If we have suffered trauma in the past, this fear response may have become a default response.

This had happened in me. My immediate response was usually to freeze, but later I would look how to run and escape.

These are old scripts and I have (in the last few years) been looking at debunking some of those lies and myths that held me captive to fear for so long.

It’s all well and good to say – ‘Don’t be afraid’ – but what do we do if we are afraid? Today another well-known Bible verse on fear came to me in a whole new light. The verse says:

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear,’ (1 John 4:18)

but it then says something I had not seen before; it says

because fear has to do with punishment.’

Wow! Yes. I think that is certainly true!

So I allowed my mind to answer the question of what I am generally afraid of, in a day-to-day personality sort of way.

I make myself vulnerable here, but you may resonate with some of this:

I’m afraid you will hate me; you might laugh at me; you might reject me; you might blame me; you might take revenge on me; you might punish me and make me pay; you might smack, starve or torture me; you might hurt those I love; you might abandon me completely; you might turn everybody against me; you might deprive me of something…

Ultimately what you might do is to see me as I truly am and then reject me – confirming my fear that I am an unimportant nobody, a complete waste of space, a mistake to my very core and completely undeserving of any love or warmth from anybody!

If this is true, then you might also infringe on my other fear and physically torture, rape, hurt or in some concrete way annihilate me.

This is big stuff!!!

You know what they say about making a mountain out of a mole-hill, but for some of us, hearing a flippant comment, or considering a job-interview, or being asked a question – such little molehills can cause an unconscious mountain of serious stuff like the freight-train above, to come crashing through our emotions, via our thoughts, and cause us to freeze, fight or run!

We all have very different ways of coping with fear. Ingeniously, apart from the fight, flight or freeze reactions, we devise coping strategies to respond to fear from an early age. We learn these from those closest to us, or we learn by trial and error of what seems to keep us safe.

We may learn to be silent, to disappear, to hide, to please and smile, to cry, to fight, to run away, to scream, or any host of other ways to cope with the perceived threat.

As we grow into an adult, these coping strategies often are no longer helpful in our functioning in the world as an adult. Often the old patterns disable us.

To grow and function well as an adult, we need to find ways to change our thought patterns so that we can rationalise and deal appropriately with things that make us fearful.

So how can we control the feelings of fear? First we can acknowledge the fear and where it is. How does it feel in my body? What thoughts are attached? (Somewhere there is a thought or belief that is making us afraid.) How do I want to respond? (I would write all this down, to hold it still.)

Then I might ask what is real? What is a fact and what is an opinion? (Are you saying I am ugly or that my eyes are blue?) Are any of those thoughts facts? Are they facts that matter? Can I identify and debunk the lies and myths? Are the facts a threat? (When we write these down, some of these look very silly, but be honest, because your thoughts and feelings are never silly!)

An important question might now be to look at what the worst case scenario or outcome might be? What could be the best outcome? And what realistically is likely to happen? Is there a real threat to me or to all I hold dear?

Most of the time, though the feeling of fear is real and we have to move forward despite the fear (we have to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’) in reality the outcome for most of us is that the sky does not come falling down and the mountain is a construct of our imagination that no longer serves our needs as adults in society.

If we focus on the task before us, on how we can serve and contribute to the well-being of others, we take the focus off self and fear of threat to self and we can add positive experiences to the lives of others, to build a culture of love, forgiveness, support and community. We can, for example, take a deep breath and answer the question to the best of our ability, or ask for time to think about it; we can prepare for why we want the job and why we would be good at it and turn up to the interview with all we have to offer; we can think about the flippant comment, the person that made it and decide if any of this is true or relevant, or we can let go and move on to those that matter.

As we learn to recognise old lies and form new strategies we can retrain our minds with truths and helpful thinking patterns.

The Lord says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen and help you: I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah41:10

Does this idea of fear being to do with punishment resonate with you?

Can you identify the punishment you are afraid of?

Advice/opinions wanted, please.

Fellow readers and writers, I need your opinions please.

I need to be clear about the intended audience for the book I am writing. This is both so that the book can be found by those who need to read it and also so that, as the author, I can communicate clearly and directly into the needs of the potential readers.

My intention is that the book will instruct, inspire and give guidance and understanding for others to follow – therefore I understand that a ‘self-help’ genre and style is maybe what is required.

But is it ‘self-help’, or is it ‘health and well-being’, or ‘personal growth’? How is best to classify it?

The other question is: ‘Self-help’ for whom?

I had informally categorised the target audience as those ‘in recovery,’ or those working with people ‘in recovery’, as this was how I described myself. However, I think I now need to be more specific.

Earlier this month, I put out a small informal survey, on social media, asking what ‘in recovery’ might mean to people.

Some people mentioned multiple associations that came to mind from the phrase ‘in recovery’ – my overall analysis of the responses shows that:

Over 90% of the responses associated ‘recovery’ with addiction (mainly alcohol and drug/substance abuse).

Approx. 30% associated ‘recovery’ with physical illness/surgery/cancer/accident.

Approx. 20% with mental health/breakdown/stress

Approx. 16% with trauma/abuse

A further 25% of responses covered relationship breakdown, loss, grief, co-dependency, negative thinking, adverse circumstances in life, widowhood, life-problems, identity, emotional growth.

Of course all of these responses are correct and appropriate, and other responses were also possible. I am very grateful for the feedback, as it shows that I need to be more specific. The intention is not that the book is aimed especially at people in addiction-recovery, although I do think it is very useful for such people.

As people have pointed out, there are many types/causes of trauma on a person’s life. These can be relational, as mine was, but can be physical – like a stroke, or environmental – such as war/ tsunami, or mental – such as ‘burn-out’. The trauma may be buried deeply in the past, or it may be a very recent wound.

Trauma, however caused, if suffered in silence and untreated, at worst, can result in serious life-issues of ill-health – physical or mental – and often leaves the sufferer turning to and clinging to ‘quick-fix’ solutions and addictions of various kinds. At best, it can leave the adult burdened with emotional limitations and stuck in ways of thinking and behaving that are not as helpful or fruitful as could have otherwise been possible.

My own journey of healing and recovery were from the wounds of childhood trauma and included the journey to recover the authentic voice and memories of my young self. My own quick-fix was alcohol, to anesthetise the pain, and my emotional damage played itself out mainly in particular sorts of relationships.

The book I am writing shares the strategies and processes that enabled me to recover my voice, acknowledge the damage and the issues and to get well.

The intention of the book is to help you to find strategies that you can use to begin to process your own trauma issues, to listen safely to the wounded inner self, to grow in resilience and to progress in your own journey to emotional well-being.

So my questions are:

1 – How does one classify a book best? There seem to be categories and sub-categories!

(It is non-fiction/ health and well-being/ psychology/ personal development/ trauma recovery/ self-help, or self-improvement)

2 – What would you expect in a ‘self-help’ book?

3 – Would I describe it as ‘for people wanting to recover from any kind of personal trauma’?

(That sounds a bit clumsy though?)

Any other considerations and all suggestions gratefully received.

Recovering my own Memory Lane

As I child I always wanted to ask and know about our story, though information was rarely forthcoming.

“Mammy, Did you and Aunty Ju fight a lot?

How naughty was I?

Tell me about me and Debbie?”

I wanted to know the details and the why/ how much/ why not? My own children were the same in adolescence – they wanted to hear about themselves as young children: Mammy, tell me about the time we…

When my Mammy came to live with us in 2006, I still wanted her to tell me the stories. She told me the same few stories that she’d always told about her own childhood. And good that she did, because before long, I was having to prop her up with those same stories that she was beginning to forget. As her short term memory lost it’s grip altogether, the deeper, older memories became stronger and more significant. It was like the roof had blown off and she had moved downstairs. As she forgot the recent and latter parts of her life upstairs, she also lost some of the show – the inhibitions, the secrets, the niceties and reserve were blown away like the loose fittings and the stories she told and the way that she spoke felt as real and profound as a fairy-tale. I learned so much about this beloved woman in those months. She was clinging to the old furnishings and we described them together over and over. Sometimes she would venture upstairs with me, but it was windy and precarious up there and there was little left, but sometimes she would like me to describe what it had been like before.

This was our special journey together down ‘Memory Lane’. It was important for my own processing and growth. Mammy also showed me surprising hidden closets from my infancy and before I was part of her story. There were times I felt lost in her world and times when we were both felt ‘lost down memory lane’.

It was those hidden closets and those Bogeymen in the cellar, that I knew I would have to have the courage to meet in my own life. I had spent a lifetime barricading the doors and papering over the cracks, pretending that I was sorted and healed, but it was not true at an emotional level and I could see that it was futile at best. I was not living the promised ‘life to the full’ because I was still afraid of the Bogeymen!

Burying my head in the sand, anaesthetising the pain, ‘not knowing’ and ‘forgetting’ were all coping mechanisms to avoid facing the fear of being afraid. I was ready to be sober and to look my Bogeymen, secrets and myself – square in the face. Well, I thought it was time I tried! I would make sure I did things differently and let go of the fears that were strangling my life and my voice. And so it began with a plan on New Year’s Eve, 2015…

The next few years were an exploration of Suzie’s stories as she told them to me and I wrote them down. A journey of getting to know and learning to love her by going down her secret Memory Lane.

This beautiful and courageous adventure into young Suzie’s life is the subject of my current writing project and the book coming soon…

In honour of this, I wrote a poem:

Free to be me, at fifty

At fifty, she’d had to confess,

that her life was really a mess;

She needed a chance to learn a new dance

and to heal, to grow and to bless.

But a word from the wise, whispered, “Open your eyes,

for the door of your cage,

(Prophesied the old sage)

Is unlocked!”


She’d been trapped in the cage, this is true,

But at least it was space that she knew.

Could she survive, even thrive, in the open,

if she finally let go and flew?

Her heart was abused and her wings still unused –

What if she fell, couldn’t fly?

To make such a change felt fearfully strange,

Was she even too old now to try?


She pushed open the door and stepped out,

surrendered her will and her doubt.

She screamed and roared as she tumbled and soared,

but her Saviour never let go!

For He who transforms and renews the mind

taught her to trust, forgive and be kind.

He gave her a choice, gave her a voice

and courage to leave the old cage behind.

So she flew, she flapped, she served and dared –

whether feeling strong, brave or scared;

She was free to fly, free to be;

finally free

– to be me

– at fifty.

I was to make it the best year of my life! And I did.

Life update

The theme I keep returning to for this week’s blog is to give you all an update on my life – or more accurately – on the progress of one of my current projects. Part of the healing work going on in me, is to recognise that, just as I am very interested in the actual lives behind all you wonderful bloggers and readers of mine, so also might you be interested not just in the random thoughts I scribble down from week to week, but you may also like to know something about me. If I am wrong, you can ignore this blog.

Since January of this year, 2021, I have been writing a book about the strategies and processing tools I found helpful in the task of finding the voice of my wounded inner child. The first section of the book explains why and how I did it and the impact it had. The second section contains excerpts from the writing during the main strategies I used to hear the silent inner child. I called my wounded inner child Suzie. The strategies I used have given Suzie a voice to express her long-buried trauma and her dreams, disappointments and emotions. It has not been an easy journey, but it has been necessary and hugely transformative. My dream was to share those strategies and processing tools to help others to deal with trauma, with hidden issues, and to come to a place of acceptance. Having heard my hidden child’s voice, I have been able to bring her pain and fear to the Lord, for healing. Confessing one’s emotions, one’s story to oneself is powerful! Confessing it to another safe person and receiving acceptance and validation – being really heard – is powerful and healing. Pouring out one’s heart and confessing to God, is powerful, transformative and brings wholeness. It is still transformative for me – it is a journey I am still on and there is more work to do. It is a healing of relationship – me with Suzie, with memories, as well as me with God and with others.

Section Two contains some of Suzie’s story, but Section One explains the why and how of it. This first section I have written, rewritten and rewritten again. I have written it in my own level of understanding of what the process has meant to me. Now I am holding my breath as it is being read by four people. One is a very close friend who is a psychotherapist and who will be writing a Foreword for my book, to explain my processing in the language of a therapist. My youngest son is reading it, with a view to illustrating some aspects of the story. Two friends are also reading it to provide me with some more general feedback, before I do the final edit and look for a publisher.

This is little me, an image of the hidden Suzie.

Obviously I am continually consulting God about these next steps towards publishing, as the whole process and all of it belongs to Him. He asks us to comfort and bless others with the comfort and blessing we receive from Him. This is the aim of the book – to share the great blessings and healing I have received. He is the Author and finisher of my faith; He is my healer; He is my wisdom and understanding; He knew me when I was hidden, mute and hurting and He was with me. He knows every thought before I do and He knows when I lie down and when I rise… and do you know, He cares! He knows my story, my thoughts and my deeds, and He still loves me and cares for me, as His own precious daughter.

You are the other child He knows and loves so deeply.

Morning Pages – a process.

Morning Pages

I want to share with you a process that has been extremely valuable to me over this last year.

Last Christmas, my sister sent me a copy of Julia Cameron’s book, “The Artist’s Way”. The main part of the practice is to write for 3 pages every morning… for all those writers out there, this is not writing as you know it – morning pages are to be the written ‘vomit’ of all the unprocessed mush that wants to come out, in whatever form it might appear, not to be read by anyone, even yourself, but to just get it all out, in your own handwriting, onto real paper…

The thought of writing 3 pages for no audience did not appeal, the thought of an additional job (especially another writing job) appealed even less, and as for the necessity of putting the alarm on for one hour earlier every morning, well… but despite all of that, there was something about the rationale that intrigued me. I knew that writing was very therapeutic for my processing.

Also, I had frequently bemoaned that I found prayer impossible in the morning, because my head was like a relentless spin-dryer, whirling the day’s concerns, and focussing on anything else seemed futile.

But the argument for clearing out the spinning process was compelling and so I began on Boxing Day last year (2019) and began every morning with 3 pages of writing.

“You don’t decide your future; you decide your habits and your habits decide your future” John Maxwell.

Following the course of the programme took 12 weeks, by which time the new habit was fully tried and tested and the impact was quite profound. For me, when I write with my left hand and allow my unconscious mind to scribble it down, I seem able to allow the peripheral vision to kick in and all the background scenery takes shape too and I can colour in the scenery. IE – I see much more clearly; it focusses my mind, sorts the wheat from the chaff, deals with nagging issues and prepares a prayer and an action plan for the day ahead… Also, an interesting phenomenon had occurred for me: I have always been a hoarder, but during these 12 weeks, I systematically went through 40 years of stored paperwork and threw 95% of it into the recycling bin! This is a significant shift. It had similar repercussions in other areas – sorting, filing, re-appraising, giving away, mending, moving on…In fact I filled over 6 huge recycling bins!

I found I would begin writing – maybe a dream I’d been having, going through stuff I need to do, what was said that bothered me… and, having to stay with it on paper, I would find myself coming up with solutions to situations, ideas for reconciliation, new questions to allow me a different perspective and answers… I have found I can align my mind and my heart, process and put negativity in its place, identify and reinforce the truth, pray for issues, look more closely at my processes…

So many ‘eureka moments’ and revelations splattered over those pages and, as my mind and path became clearer and more intentional, so my praying became so much more focussed and open to Holy Spirit inspiration.

Needless to say, maybe, but I have continued with this new habit and begin every day with my morning pages, to give me the space in my mind to pray and to write and serve. My writing projects over this time have been therapeutic, challenging works, which triggered a lot of excess emotion and muddled thinking and the morning pages became such a valuable tool to pick up the pieces, after each sleep process, and to help the Holy Spirit in the renewing of my mind.

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2

I so thank the Holy Spirit for helping me to use this tool in the renewing of my mind; and I thank Julia Cameron for her inspiration through the book; and my sister for sending it to me. I have passed a few copies of the book to others in the hope that they may find it as valuable as I do.

If you have come across this practice and/or already do it yourself, please do make a comment.