Openess & Free-Flow Writing

A few years ago, I attended a week-long women's retreat. It was excellent. The facilitator, Sera Beak, was excellent. The women were incredible and open-hearted.

One afternoon, toward the end of the week, we did a powerful, culminating communal activity. For whatever reason, I felt disconnected from the other women. I didn't quite feel part of things, and wasn't sure why. I felt alone and awkward while everyone else looked engaged, relaxed, and really happy.

Not only did I feel discomfort in my disconnection, I felt bad for feeling bad. I was failing at connection. I was showing up all wrong.

When we shared the next morning about the previous day's experience, I reluctantly admitted that actually, I didn't enjoy the afternoon, I didn’t know why, and it felt shitty.

This admission wasn't easy. My heart pounded, and I felt like an asshole. Grinch-like. But the week was about being True and showing up authentically, so, I lay my cards on the table.

I'll never forget the way Sera leaned her body into the circle, looked at me intently, and said:

“We are not MEANT to always feel connected!”

For me, these were the right words, at the right time. They give me permission to be OPEN to feeling disconnected. I immediately felt lighter. I felt freedom from this crazy idea I held for years that I'm doing something wrong if I'm not always up, always bright, always feeling connected. 

She shared that as an introvert, she too experiences feeling like an outsider in group settings, no matter how beautiful and welcoming they may be.

My truth-telling, in turn, gave other women permission to acknowledge, and own, their true, "messy" feelings. 

Since that experience, I've encountered gorgeous reminders (poems, quotes, stories, song lyrics) that help me remember to remember to remain open to, versus willfully change, how I feel -- in and out of the notebook. (And I REALLY need these reminders, sometimes!)

Here's a favorite from Glennon Doyle Melton:

“You are not supposed to be happy all the time. Life hurts and it’s hard. Not because you’re doing it wrong, but because it hurts for everybody. Don’t avoid the pain. You need it. It’s meant for you. Be still with it, let it come, let it go, let it leave you with the fuel you’ll burn to get your work done on this earth.” 

And David Deida:

"Do your best to create pleasure and comfort in your life.
But to live true, live open. Resist nothing. Feel everything."

It's so counter-intuitive, isn't it? When we welcome the "shitty" feelings, they often slip away with a kiss on the cheek (and perhaps a helpful message for us!), versus linger within, kicking our soft insides black and blue. 

Here's a final sweet reminder from a favorite Joan Armatrading song, "Show Some Emotion" -- and if you want to deep-dive into the theme of Openess & Free-Flow Writing with me and other incredible women this month, join the March WTG Online (3/1) or WTG Portland Circle (3/7). I'll be sharing poems, prompts, and perspectives to open us up to being more OPEN... and FREE in the notebook, and in our lives!

Show some emotion
Put expression in your eyes
Light up
If you're feeling happy
But if it's bad
Then let those tears roll down

With love,

Want to write?
Take a pen & prompt journey:

writing prompt

open and free

Grab a pen & notebook. Write the prompt at the top of the page. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
Or 20. Or 5. Or 2!

Write whatever arises in your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Don’t stop to think or edit - keep your pen moving.

Accept ALL that you write - the pretty & ugly; absurd & boring. Discover what wants to be felt, known, expressed, released...