Leaving what’s heavy: How do you process?

We all process moments in our lives differently and as I am eternally curious about the people around me, I wonder how you are processing the things that you are going through. How do you process your thoughts and feelings dear reader?

I find I am an interesting mix of both the internal and external processing styles; it often depends on the context. If this terminology is new to you, basically the internal processors turn inwards to examine their thoughts and look at them by themselves. External processors like to talk out loud with others to help organise the often-jumbled mess in their minds. I found this great article for you to read if you want to understand the styles more 🙂

I process in two ways and the first one is journaling. Not every day, but whenever I feel led. Needless to say, I am writing a lot more at the moment to keep my mind clean. My pages are full of thoughts and questions for God. There are quotes, song lyrics, conversations I’ve had and bible verses that I like or challenge me. There is little structure and no rules on how much ink should take up the page. For a mind prone to anxious thoughts, journaling is the easiest way for me to do to slow them down. Writing down my thoughts forces them to slow down to the pace at which I can write. It makes me focus on one idea at a time instead of having them splinter off into every direction. I find journaling is the best method to use for looking after my mental health and grow as a person. I’m relatively self-aware because I take time to examine what is going on inside my heart, soul and mind. In the quiet I reflect and understand how I am handling the things that are going on around me. I write down the heavy things on my heart and am continually learning how to leave them on the page.

Today after writing down my scattered thoughts I had a moment of peace. I sat in my outdoor area while the kids played peacefully inside by themselves. I had my earphones in listening to my favourite songs while a gentle breeze played with my hair. The butterflies were exploring the garden and the clouds made pictures in the sky. It was an intermission moment, a moment to unload, a moment for stillness and resetting. Bliss.

Apart from writing my secret thoughts onto pages, the second way I process by talking with my nearest and dearest. When I’m struggling to put thoughts together, I like to bounce them off others. I enjoy having back and forth conversations to dig deeper into my internal contemplations (my husband and close friends know this well). As I chat transparently with my friends, they hear the rough drafts of my thoughts and ideas and witness as I shape them into something more concrete.

As you can see, in one way I process by myself and in another I dialogue with people around me to understand how I feel about a certain topic. Both are equally important for me as I navigate different seasons of life and more so right now. Facing my internal world and accepting it, even if it’s uncomfortable, gives me strength to move forward. This leads me back to you dear friend. I wonder what things you do to interpret what’s happening in the world around you and the state of your heart. When your emotions burn high, how do you acknowledge or come to peace with them in a healthy way? Do you step back and process by yourself or call a friend and pass ideas back and forth? Are you even taking the time to look at them? If not, I hope you have the courage to do so this week, because it really helps. Please know that I’m thinking of you.

Love Jess xxoo

Finding Purpose: From Grand to Gentle

How are we meant to find purpose in a season like this? Many of our ‘Grand Plans’ are just not achievable. It’s not that we don’t want to do them, we are literally not allowed or perhaps we can’t afford to anymore. Heck, even baking at home now requires me to do a budget check. Everything is on hold, but it feels kind of different to other seasons of being ‘on hold’ doesn’t it? There’s not much negotiation here – everything is paused. The danger is that we punish ourselves for it and end up feeling helpless and hopeless. Remember, you may still may need to let go and hold on multiple times a week. I absolutely adore the quote below which showed up on Instagram. I’ve been slightly disturbed at the heavy criticism we are aiming at ourselves and others, because now is not the time for judgement, it’s the time for grace and gentleness.

Like many of you, I’m without work and am at home all day with the kids. Finances are stretched and people’s emotions ebb and flow, crashing into each other as we share the same space. Some days I’m full of energy, vision and hope, while other days, I don’t want to see one more positive quote or see someone else’s gratitude post. I find myself wondering how to endure something like this when we don’t know how long it will last. Apart from leaning into God for reminders of my self-worth and identity, I still long to add value to the world and contribute something more than daily domestic chores.

I would suggest that if a lack of vision or purpose is getting us down, we could move from ‘grand plans’ to ‘gentle plans’. Grand plans often require long-term vision, access to services and funds, prolonged motivation and clear goals. Gentle plans are short-term, simple and achievable right now, but idealy still bring you joy or a sense of accomplishment. Gentle plans can change daily because what was working yesterday, may not work today. Gentle plans are less likely to be time dependant, but they can still be something you can work towards. They may not be Grand or life-changing for others, but in this season they may just be the life-line we need.

Here are some examples of gentle plans (not all mine):

  • Clean out the hallway cupboard
  • Cook something new or an old favourite
  • Intentionally connect with someone (gotta love technology)
  • Write a list of things to study when you can and find out where you can do it
  • Find a place to volunteer your time/skills
  • Fix that fly screen that’s been bothering at you for a while
  • Start looking at your resume
  • Exercise for 30 minutes
  • Do something creative
  • Watch that movie classic you’ve never watched
  • Plan your next local holiday for when ISO is lifted.

Do you have any gentle plans? If you are feeling lost, it might be worthwhile writing some down. Whatever plans you think of, some days they will feel achievable and easy while on other days, they will drain the life out of you, so remember to hold them gently. If today you just can’t, that’s totally fine and honestly it’s to be expected at a time like this. You’ll be pleased to know I spent almost an entire day in bed binge watching a show on Netflix and I didn’t feel guilty at all. I recognised that that’s what was going to happen that day, that’s all I had; I needed to switch off and do nothing for myself.

I write these words as a reminder just as much to myself as to you dear readers. Right now, some of us won’t have Grand plans, some of us will simply have daily, getting us through, finding our way plans. We’ll probably get back to the Grand plans one day, but for now, Stay Healthy.

Love Jess xxoo

PS – Somethings are too beautiful not to share and this new song release Otago by Brett Anthony Shaw is absolutely breathtaking. I feel like all manner of dances, art works, writings and reflective creations should be produced and enjoyed while listening to it. It feels like a healing balm on a blistered soul. I hope you enjoy it as much as I am; I have it on repeat on Spotify.