Dear Coach Paradise,
I just started reading your column — today, in fact. I must say I like it and it is very positive. I have had a rough year. I lost my brother in June of 2007 and my mother in May of 2008. After my brother's death, I started listening to only positive things via my MP3 player, all day every day without fail. This has helped me understand that my brother and now my mother are still with me. Their energy has just changed form.
I also started keeping a journal. Although I had plenty of positive entries in my journal, I found that I was making some very unhappy entries, such as having bad days missing my loved ones or maybe something that had not gone the way I had wished that it would.
So I guess my question is: Does it do good to write these things down and purge myself of them, or do you think that I am wishing (attracting) more like thoughts and situations?
By the way, being positive does work. My family and I plan on leaving Las Vegas for the Virgin Islands in the next few months.
Signed: New reader with a question
Dear New Reader,
What a great question: Does writing down sad and negative thoughts in your journal invite more of the same, or can this serve as a way to purge these feelings? Writing in a journal is a great way to reflect on where you are emotionally. Once you know this, you can then start to move toward feeling better. You can't jump from feeling bereft at the loss of a loved one to feeling joyful. The gap is simply too big, no matter how many positive thoughts you repeat or write down. You might be able to move from being bereft to being angry or disappointed, and little by little to feeling joyful, but not all at once.
So… my answer is a kind of paradox. You need to start where you are and appreciate that sad thoughts and negative emotions are an opportunity for growth. It is only from where you now stand that you can take the next step on your journey.
When you write about what is missing, how badly you feel, how you wish things had happened differently — it is important to realize that you are, at the same time, sending out rockets of desire for what you do want. Contrast is always helpful. Noting what we don't want and what feels bad helps us to become clear about what we do want and how we do want to feel. So, if you are feeling low or frustrated or depressed and in a writing mood, I would suggest that you follow your negative purge with a statement of what you would like and how you would like to be feeling.
In this way, you can get clear about where you are, purge and then focus on where you are going. If you notice that your journal is full of complaining and you're spending a lot of time on something that is making you unhappy, let it be a wake up call to refocus. Sometimes clearing techniques like Ho-oponopono are helpful. Working with a coach to release limiting beliefs and blockages is a great idea. If you find that you continue to have sad and negative thoughts, therapy can also be helpful.
In summary, it's not the writing itself, it's your focus. As long as you remember to finish by pointing your magnet toward what you want to attract, writing down how you are feeling can be a great way to check in with yourself.
I am so happy that you are experiencing the benefits of a positive focus and making your dreams come true. You are an inspiration, and I appreciate your honesty and great question.
Editor's note: Coach Paradise (AKA Anne Nayer), Professional Life Coach, is a member of the International Coaching Federation, an MSW clinical social worker-psychotherapist and a medical case manager with 30 years experience working with people of all shapes, sizes and challenges. For further information about her services, call 774-4355, visit her website or email her.
Coach Paradise: Don't Write Off Feelings of Loss
Dear Coach Paradise,
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