A short exploratory exercise for self-connection
This exercise is a grand act of self-love.
Sometimes we can’t get to the root of what we really want or can’t figure out what’s behind the fear or challenge we are experiencing. Perhaps we seek new information or deep answers to deep questions. This simple free-writing exercise can give a voice to your inner wisdom, often with surprising ease. This may be a good exercise to do with a partner guiding you, so you can stay in a focused flow-state instead of referring back to these pages for direction. Or you can record yourself while you read the instructions slowly and play it when you are ready for the exercise. Make sure to pause as needed to allow for spacious writing time.
You just need a quiet place to sit, a pen, and a few pieces of paper or a journal. I suggest not doing this on a computer, as typing keeps you more in your conscious (protected) brain instead of reaching the theta brain wave state, where the magic happens. The goal is to write freely and quickly with no audience, no editor, and with no intention of even reading it, unless you want to. You can burn your paper at the end if that gives you the freedom to really go for it. Alternately, you can record yourself speaking instead of writing.
Here We Go:
Take some slow deep breaths, and think about what you want more guidance or clarity on. Perhaps a question, decision, obstacle, or an emotion you have been dealing with. Write it on top of the page.
Then write: “What does my mind want?” and start writing. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or even full sentences. If you need to start with “I don’t know what to write,” or a simple opening like “I am writing to figure out what my mind wants,” that’s okay. Just keep putting ink on the page until the words begin to flow, and then write and write until you feel complete. Feel the active cerebral energy pouring onto the page. The mind can be quite excited to get to speak. At the end, ask, “Is there anything else my mind wants?” and write until you feel that everything on your mind has made it to the page. You are activating your inner voice and, as you go, you will find that it has many layers.
Then, with closed eyes, take a few deep breaths, place your hands on your heart, and feel into the softness of your heart space. Picture your heart in your chest, both the front and back side. Ask yourself, “What does my heart want (or think)?” and start writing. Write and write, knowing there are no wrong answers, and allow yourself to dream and feel into the heart’s desires. Perhaps there is resistance in this space; if so, I encourage you to thank your heart for keeping you safe and letting it know you are ready to feel again. Allow the vulnerability of this moment. Ask once more: “Is there anything else my heart wants to say?” and write until you feel complete, for now.
At this point you may feel the emotions of this exercise really rising; allow them to come as they are. Welcome them all. You are moving energy by allowing your emotions to be heard and felt, even if just for this moment.
Next, feel into the lower part of your body, your lower belly, your “gut,” your core and your pelvis. Bring the breath all the way down to your perineum. What sensations are in your body right now? Bring your breath right there with a big “welcome.” Put your hands on your lower belly. These are the areas of our core desires and needs. Our foundations. Feel into this deep lower part of the body and ask yourself once again: “What does my core/gut/pelvis want (or think)?” Start writing. See how the word choices may be shifting. Keep writing and ask: “What else wants to be voiced in this moment?”
Pause at the end and just breathe.
Thank yourself for doing this courageous activity. It’s not easy to open in this way and give a voice to unspoken, and sometimes uncomfortable, things.
Now you can read your words, share your words with a loved one, burn them, or do with them as you wish.
Recognize that this exercise isn’t about “letting go” (although that is fine too); it’s mostly about discovering, noticing, and accepting what comes up with loving compassion and curiosity. When I do this exercise, I find that reading what I write provides profound insight into all of my layers. The mind layer is usually the ego and intellect speaking. It can be oh so practical! The heart and core/pelvis start to tap into the softer unconscious levels. And in my experience, this is where the real wisdom comes in. The beautiful thing is that this exercise is healing in itself. No action plan needs to come of it. You asked your body to speak and gave it the space to do so; that alone is truly good medicine.
The beautiful thing is that this exercise is healing in itself.
No action plan needs to come of it.
You asked your body to speak and gave it the space to do so;
that alone is truly good medicine.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
~ Mary Oliver ~
This exercise is an excerpt from the 2-volume book set The Nourish Me Kitchen, by Dr. Siegel