December 31, 2016

5 Things I Learned from Falling Asleep at the Wheel.

We have over 50,000 thoughts and 12,000 internal conversations a day.

Filtered through our egos, fears and insecurities, these thoughts transform our minds into dangerous vehicles that we can easily lose control of.

A year ago I wasn’t myself nor was I really living. When I wasn’t anxious, I was depressed, numb and relying on autopilot to get me through each day. I hadn’t been present in my life for a long time and had lost control of my mind to my ego and inner critic.

Having deemed certain feelings too difficult to feel, I had cut myself off from the full experience of life. But by deeming some feelings as bad and some feelings as good, I lived this kind of life where I was always evaluating my existence—rather than living it. Inevitably, I fell asleep at the wheel and crashed. That’s when I picked up a pencil.

I began to journal, which forced me to dig deep and truly get to know myself.

This is what journaling taught me:

1. It clears the road and helps us find our way.

The truth is our heads are not the best place to work something out. When we think about an issue, our brains are selective about what information it decides to throw in. It goes down the same old pathways full of circles and dead ends. It’s like using a navigation system that sends us the long way when there is a perfectly good highway that will get us there much more quickly. We give an excessive amount of energy into figuring out what the best course of action is, tending to stay in our heads. We gather far too much information and get opinions from others, but unfortunately asking for directions from other people can also send us in the wrong direction.

Writing things down takes them off the road. It separates us from our dangerous vehicles—our thoughts.

2. Mindfulness.

Journaling allows us to fully show up for reality and create a sense of mindfulness. When we are mindful, our minds can make up as many scenarios as they like but we can choose not to play with them and not to give them attention.

Directing our attention to the present puts us back in the driver’s seat.

3. Intuitive thoughts aren’t “woo woo.”

Journaling helps us to make decisions intuitively. If we are occupying ourselves with negative thoughts about our own abilities, revenge thoughts about others or other negative things, then there is no space for other images and messages to appear. We assume they don’t exist when in truth it’s simply that there is no space for them. The ones that spontaneously and quietly appear when our minds are clear—these are our intuitive thoughts that come to guide us.

Through journaling, we can let go of all that isn’t serving us and create space for all that will.

“Letting go becomes easier, when you see not what you lose, but all that you gain, in creating space for something new.” ~ Renate Vullings

4. Our true selves appear.

When we sit down and write, it just flows until suddenly pages upon pages are before us—a stream of consciousness. We stop editing our thoughts and start being genuine in communicating our feelings. This then reflects into our lives.

Less judgment, more realness.

Getting past our preoccupations can truly bring us to the greater sense of the self we are, the genius we all share, where we can experience ourselves fully, where we are aware of and appreciate the fullness of who we are.

5. We are our own best guide.

The more we write, the more we learn about ourselves and the more we can own and understand our thoughts, feelings and actions. It’s a conversation with someone who just listens as we externalize our thoughts until they become clearer.

The insight is always within us and we hear our words in a way that we just can’t when they are in our head.

Through journaling I have acknowledged that my struggles are generally within myself and not always the fault of the situation. Accepting my part instead of blaming external factors is incredibly empowering—once I acknowledge my own faults, I am able to grow.

We are too alive to let ourselves burn out and fade away.




Author: Briana Johnson

Image: Courtesy of Author

Editor: Travis May

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Briana Johnson