junie@junieswadron.com | 250.813.0183

28 Dec

2016: Finding Your Key to the Kingdom of Self-Love

love-rA brand new year is approaching, the holiday rush is over, you are alone with your thoughts and begin to reflect upon the past year. You think about your successes, those things you had set out to accomplish, and you did them. You think about the things you wished to accomplish but did not. Ask yourself, do I put more weight on what I was able to achieve, or on what I wish I had achieved? Rather than get upset by what didn’t happen, know you have not failed. YOU ARE ENOUGH JUST AS YOU ARE.

Let’s commit to making 2016 the year we stop judging ourselves. Let this be the year that we put our hands over our hearts and commit to loving ourselves more than we ever have before. Would we not treat a child in who is hurting with compassion and love? Let us give more love, not less, to the parts of ourselves that are lying awake at night anxious and worried.

Let us stop the barrage of judgments, criticisms, the ‘not good enough’ statements. Instead, let this be our New Year’s resolution—a resolution for each and every day, to feed our tender hearts with reverent kindness.

One of the best ways I know to do this is simply by being honest with ourselves. Instead of slapping down a whole bunch of affirmations for the New Year that do not ring true, bring yourself back into this moment instead and write down what is true.

Let writing become your meditation—a place to rest your heart on the page with your words, your truth, your hopes and dreams. It is private. You do not need to censor yourself or please someone else. Let writing be your key to the kingdom of self-love. Your journal is as close as a hand’s reach away, ready to reveal the deepest insights and wisdom you could ever ask for, possibly even the seeds of a book in you that is gestating there, ready to be birthed. Dream your biggest dreams and may the universe bless every one!

Writing Prompt 
Take an hour alone. Light a candle and set an atmosphere of serenity and beauty. Write a letter to Your Higher Self, God, your Guardian Angel, The Universe. Say everything that’s on your mind and in your heart. Next, write a letter back from that deity or your Guardian Angel, or Higher Self. Don’t engage your monkey mind and start to think that you’re making it up. Simply listen, breathe and allow. Know that your words have been heard and that you are being responded to with love and grace. Know that you are loved beyond measure.

Writing Tip
Yesterday, in my Sunday Afternoon Sacred Writing Circle, we were writing about living our highest vision. Here is an excerpt of what I wrote: “I always knew, even as a child, that somehow I was protected. When I was given my first diary at the age of eleven, it wasn’t just a place to write down my thoughts, it was a place to commune with God. On the pages I have always been met with an omnipotent presence ready to love my tender heart.”

As you write in your journal, allow whatever you believe is All-Loving to be present with you as you write. Perhaps God is not a word you would use. Maybe it is Universal Intelligence, your Guardian Angel, The Beloved, Nature. Or perhaps it is someone you know who loves you unconditionally. Imagine as you write that that deity or person is with you as a benevolent witness, cascading you with compassion and love.

How did this work for you? Please leave your comments below, or join and contribute to our private Facebook group, Junie’s Writing Sanctuary.

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22 Dec

From the Darkness to the Light

solstice-light-2

More than any other holiday, Christmas is the one that is celebrated the most in hundreds of countries around the world. In the country where I live, Canada, December 25th is a mixed bag. On one hand, it is the time of remembering the birth of Christ and all that stands for—peace, love, forgiveness, doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, good tidings, family gatherings, turkey dinners, gift giving, Midnight Mass, carolling, decorating trees, and putting up Christmas lights to herald the season.

But more often than not, this is not the case. I heard on the radio the other day that in Bethlehem pilgrims are gathering, but on every street corner and on top of buildings there are armed soldiers to ensure the peace. Local people do not go out at this time. The streets are too dangerous.

And here on the North American continent Christmas can be a time of madness, stress, depression, and a yearning for what Christmas is meant to symbolize. This is especially true when money is scarce and it’s difficult to buy gifts for the people you love, or when family gatherings are something that “other people” do, but you don’t. Perhaps your family members are far away from each other and haven’t been under one roof for years. Or perhaps they live in close proximity but your relationships are dysfunctional or estranged. Christmas time may mean putting on a lot of false smiles and wishing in your heart that things were different.

Also, the darkness at this time of year is a huge factor contributing to S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Depression and loneliness reign higher during this time of year than at any other. If this is true for you, I suggest you reach out to at least one person. Please do not isolate yourself. Why not volunteer at one of the food banks or dinners that are put on for the homeless by the Salvation Army or other agencies? Sometimes nothing lifts our spirits more than helping others.

Last year I had a wonderful gift at Christmas. I live in a small apartment on a peaceful street and the building I live in is filled with many friendly people. On Christmas Eve I heard loud voices outside my door. This was quite startling as it was the first time I ever encountered that. I opened my door and saw an open door to the apartment directly across the hall. The young man and woman who lived there, who I had not met as they had only recently moved in, were shouting and throwing things. Then they punched one another. It was serious. I immediately ran to the property manager’s apartment and told her what was going on. In the meantime the couple slammed their door shut. We knocked and they wouldn’t answer. The shouting continued. We knocked louder. They finally opened the door and the manager said, “Stop this immediately or I will call the police.”

At that moment I was inspired to go into my apartment and get a candle. I found a beautiful white candle and lit it and walked into their living room. In the middle of the chaos, I said, “Hey guys, this is Christmas Eve and this is a candle of peace. How ‘bout a time out?” They seemed stunned. In the pause, I offered the man the candle. I caught him off guard and he took it. He held it awkwardly. Then I said, “Would you like a hug?” Again he looked stunned but quietly, in almost a whisper he said, “Yes.” I immediately hugged him and he began to cry. He simply wept as I, a total stranger, held him. At the same time, my manager was hugging the woman. An aura of love and peace enveloped their living room. After a few moments, the man left my embrace and walked over to his partner and took her in his arms. We quietly left.

Now this is what I call a Christmas story! The kind I trust and believe in—and we don’t have to wait for Christmas. I believe in the indomitable human spirit, the one that seeks out kindness. I was inspired to get the candle. If I had stopped to think about it, I probably wouldn’t have done what I did. I don’t believe I would have gone into the middle of a physical fight and try to break it up. I didn’t “try” to do anything. I just acted as I felt directed to in the moment and a miracle took place. It was Divine Inspiration that led me to take that action, which melted the fury that was taking place between two people. A small gesture of love goes a long, long way.

Writing Prompt 1

What does Christmas or the holiday season mean to you? Write about some of your favourite memories. Write into your truth—if it’s joy, sadness, madness or something else.

Writing Prompt 2

Write what you envision a peaceful, joyful holiday would look like. Write about it in first person, present tense as though it were happening right now. See it on the screen of your mind, bringing in all the details of how you would like it to be. See it, feel it; smell, taste and touch it. Get excited about it. This is a method of intending something in order to make it real in your mind. Remember this is about “Re-Writing Your Life”. You can re-write your script for the holidays by focusing on your highest vision. At the end of this exercise, surrender it and let it go.

Writing Tip

Buy yourself a fabulous journal for Christmas and commit to writing in it every day. Let it become your 2016 spiritual practice, a meditation on the page to express your authentic voice and creativity. A related tip: You may want to do what I do. I buy 8 1/2 X 11 notebooks (much less expensive than ready-made journals) and I choose wonderful pictures from magazines and old calendars that I have collected over time to paste on the front and the back covers. Voila! A beautiful, personalized journal that I love!

Please let us know how this works for you by leaving a comment below.

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12 Dec

It’s Never Too Late to Have a Happy Childhood!

Today’s story is about accessing the kid in us—the one who keeps us honest, and we know the truth shall set us free if we would only give it a chance. Many years ago I had a deep yearning for something but I didn’t quite know what it was. I knew there was a lack in my life but couldn’t figure it out because on the outside I was doing all the “right” things.

It was not tangible. I had a felt sense that it had to do with what I was like when I was very little. It was an energy inside me that was unencumbered and free. I remembered the summers when I was a small child and could hardly wait to play outside because of the new discoveries I found every day in the field just beyond the apartment building where I grew up.

I would lie back in the tall grasses looking up at the sky and be totally mesmerized. I loved watching the cloud formations turning from prehistoric animals into human faces and angels with billowy wings. Or I’d turn my attention to the ground and be very quiet and still in order to watch the praying mantises. I really thought they were praying!

Or I’d skip past my best friend Suki’s house to the creek and watch the tadpoles and baby frogs. I’d make up stories and write songs and sing them to my pretend friends, and sometimes real friends, and it was the quality of this time that I was missing so fervently in my life as an adult. It was like an ancient dream had died with growing up. Where did my innocence, spontaneity, and favourite pastime—daydreaming, go?

Of course, it got replaced with schedules and responsibilities and “important things”. But what can be more important than play, than leisure time, and stopping long enough to experience and appreciate what’s actually in front of us in each moment? I realized that I had conformed and bought into society’s expectations of me and in doing so pretty much lost my playful, fun-loving inner child who cracks me up when I let her.

Back then I came up with an idea and approached my friend Janice, who I believed would help me. If I was having so much pain around the lack of spontaneity, joy, creativity and fun in my life, there must be others just like me also wishing to find a way to bring it back. Sure enough, she loved my idea and we went about creating Re-awaken Your Sleeping Child, a play shop for adults. I was right. There was indeed a big need for it. People kept signing up. It was a definite hit!

I don’t believe that need has changed. Perhaps there’s an even bigger need than ever with so many of us stretched to the limit every day with those important to-dos which all but eliminate leisure and play. I know this need in me has never waned. Do I always give myself time to kick back and have fun? Embarrassingly the answer is “no”. If I did, I guess it wouldn’t be a need. But my motto is: if you fall down, you get up. So, this is one of those times I’m acknowledging my need to play is on the FRONT burner.

In last week’s Sunday Afternoon Sacred Writing Circle, I wrote about tossing in the towel of responsibility and hangin’ loose. It was a very passionate piece that even had me surprised. It bought me relief and freedom and that truth set me free. Last night, in the dark winter cold and blustery winds, I threw on my warm winter jacket, hat and mitts and set out to experience the exuberance of a wild sea. Fully inspired, I continued walking around the neighbourhood enjoying the holiday flavour of houses alight with Santas and reindeer, or peering in windows to see the lit up Christmas trees, tinsel and bobbles.

Then I remembered how fabulous the magical coloured lights and ornaments that line Government Street are so I marched right downtown to see them up close, returning home some two hours later, feeling exhilarated. My little kid thought she had died and gone to heaven. Why would that be with something so simple? Because I just don’t let her have her way when it’s cold and dark all that often. I clearly need to renegotiate the hierarchy of decision-making. There’s no question she has much more sense than I do! And it takes so little to please her.

I had simply said “Yes!” instead of, “No, it’s too cold. It’s dark. You’re tired. Watch a movie, go to bed early.” Instead, I listened to the kid in me who wasn’t tired at all. She was ready for adventure and it turned into a magical night of simple, easy fun.

Are you ready to listen to the inner promptings of your inner child? I invite you to take a one-minute break right now. Be still and listen. What is he or she asking for? This is the voice of your innocence, creativity, spontaneity, and intuition, the one who will never steer us wrong. I’m re-committing to letting this voice steer my ship from now on. I only know this: when I let go of control, when I listen and am led, I am moving with the flow of The Universe. And what could be better than that?

Writing Tip

Mind Mapping with Flare: Gather a bunch of coloured markers and create a mind-map. Give it this title: “Things the Child in Me Loves to Do.” In the middle of the page, draw a circle and write the name you were called when you were a child. Then start creating spokes off that circle of all the things that little kid loves to do or used to but hasn’t for a very long time. Make it colourful. Have fun! When you’re finished, tape it to your fridge like you do for kids’ drawings. This one’s yours and should be front and centre where you can see it often. Then, choose one of those things each week and just do it. You can say, “Little Junie said so.”

Writing Prompt

After you have gone on your first play date (which could also include a bubble bath, candles and soft music), use this prompt: “I feel—choose one of the following adjectives or better yet, name your own—alive, elated, fantastic, happy, at peace, mellow, rejuvenatednow that I…” Be sure to show all the sensual details of your experience. The first rule of writing is to show us, don’t tell us.

Please scroll down and write a comment. Tell us what you did and give us ideas we can add to our own!

You can always head over to Junie’s Writing Sanctuary and share your stories there too. You will inspire us all! Thank you.

All blessings,
Junie

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04 Dec

The Main Thing is to Write Your Truth

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Last Sunday I posted a story called “Belonging” where I spoke about my family visit to Toronto and what I was learning from it. I was amazed by the amount of feedback that I received as a result.

Many people thanked me for what I wrote, and told me that the story moved them. As well, I received responses from people who were thoroughly upset. The discussion of belonging brought up pain and feelings of rejection for them. One person wrote that as soon as she realized she would never belong to a family that cared, she stopped trying. Another said “Belonging, belong, or belonged is treacherous, dangerous, fearful, dark, suicidal and pessimistic.” Then she went into great detail as to why this was so for her.

The best thing about all of this for me is it got people writing, and I told them so. Some loved what I wrote, some hated it, but it provoked them to write back—to share their passionate truth of how it was for them. Those who were clearly distraught didn’t become passive and they didn’t stuff it somewhere. They didn’t say to themselves, “Junie’s got this great family she’s part of and I don’t” and leave it there. No, they got their feelings out on paper and that’s what these newsletters, blogposts, and Junie’s Writing Sanctuary are all about.

You do not have to agree with me. Just be honest. That’s the best thing you can do for yourself and this is the forum where you can do it. In my writing series, Write Where You Are, I always tell my students that if they don’t like a subject or a writing prompt that I give them, don’t let it stop them from writing. Instead, use the energy they are feeling inside and write with all their senses fully awake and alive.

Simply tell the truth. Go for the gusto! Say, “This topic sucks. I hate it. It’s stupid, it reminds me of ….” and off you go to what it reminds you of.

Three years ago, in my Write Yourself Home retreat, I gave a prompt about waiting. Everyone was writing away except for this one woman. Afterwards, when we went around the circle and people were sharing what they wrote, she stated in a growly voice. “I didn’t write. I don’t do waiting anymore, OK?!”

For me, that was a great teaching moment. If she had taken her anger and expressed it on the page, she would not have been stewing and staying stuck. Imagine if she had written, with fury, “I don’t do waiting! I refuse to wait ever again! I wasted 12 long years of my life waiting for him to ….” Do you see where I’m going with this?

Writing Tip

Are you angry with someone at the moment? Here is a safe, effective solution that will allow you to have your voice and move the anger out of your body. Write that person an angry, blaming, uncensored letter on paper —THAT YOU NEVER SEND — (Do NOT write it on the computer and especially not in an e-mail where you might be tempted to send it). Writing with pen and paper allows what you are thinking and feeling to be a visceral experience. Your whole body becomes involved. State everything that you want to say to this person. No holding back. If, as you write, you start remembering other people or times in your life that remind you of him or her or the situation, keep your hand moving. You are probably getting closer to a deeper truth. Writing authentically will shift the energy and you will feel better.

You may not feel better the moment you put down your pen. You may feel spent afterwards. I suggest you go out for a walk. Get some fresh air or put on some music and move your body. But I promise you, you WILL feel better. Also, the next time you speak with this person, you will be able to do it from much more steady, grounded place. You will have new awareness and deeper insights. You will probably be received much better than had you spoken to this person before you wrote the letter. Or, don’t be surprised if you don’t have to say anything at all. Writing it out was all you needed.

I would like to share with you a life-changing example of what happened when Jan, one of my students, wrote a letter to the man who caused the car accident where his daughter was killed. The transformation came as a result of expressing honest rage onto the page where it wouldn’t hurt anyone and how that truth set him free for life! This is a fine example of what I mean when I say, “Your voice on the page will become your voice in the world”.
Watch this video where Jan tells his story.

Writing Prompt

Use pen and paper: “I am so angry about …”
Please let me know how the process is for you. You can reply to this e-mail, or, if you care to share your process with the rest of us, go on over to Junie’s Writing Sanctuary and, after giving it a day or two, tell us what you experienced by writing your angry letter.

Are you in Victoria? Join us for our Sunday Afternoon Sacred Writing Circle. It’s three hours of writing and sharing—a three-hour love-fest on and off the page!

Private Coaching Over Phone or Skype

If you would rather not write in a group or are not in Victoria, no worries. You will receive the same fabulous results over the phone or on Skype!

coaching over the phone

All blessings,
Junie

P.S. If you have friends who you think would enjoy receiving my weekly stories, writing tips and prompts, please send them to my website so they can sign up for free: www.junieswadron.com.

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junie@junieswadron.com | 250.813.0183