Are you cranky today? I am blistering from my core, like lava flows pouring out onto my softness.
The most constructive action to take in moments like this is always, always, ALWAYS creative movement be it going for a run or taking time in a yoga pose or moving your pencil across the page. Here is an image and a prompt. Pluck from it what you will. Move your energy constructively in spite of any quarrelsomeness fussing about you.
5 minutes at a time, #5for5BrainDump style - and be sure to sign up for our next session which begins August 21, when we will collectively be refreshing ourselves for a passionate, purposeful and productive Fall season.
Prompt: Today, I am listening to.......
The past me wrote a poem to the present me and today, I listened.
I took a backdrop which appeared to be written in anger and I’m cradling it. So here we go, beginning now.
I’m listening to opposites today. Beauty and Not beautiful.
The stench of sweetness. The pleasantly bitter. The pleasingly painful.
Where does that land for you, right now, in your body?
Even that question may sound foreign to you and yet, I invite you in to explore. I invite you in to at least open the door slightly and look around.
This morning I looked out my window, an every improving sight of the tree in my neighbor’s yard. It is a flowering crape myrtle with lavender blossoms, one of my favorite colors and although my sometimes cranky neighbors don’t know, one of my favorites.
I watch as a man ambles past my window's view, one of the many drug addicts who frequently called on my neighbor on the other side who has moved away, rather force-ably sort of. I said aloud, though he couldn’t hear it, “He’s gone! Didn’t you hear? He isn’t here anymore.”
The man kept ambling and I kept typing, worlds though not very far apart.
“It’s a take no prisoners sort of day for me over here,” I texted a friend.
All of it, real.
Everything. All of it. Sacred.
The ambling drug addict.
Once neighbors and all their collective travails.
Blessings and gifts others don’t even know they are giving which we receive with quietly upturned lips in gratitude.
Listen closely to what is whispering. Not all shouting is angry. Not all seemingly angry is what it seems.
On August 19 our next generation of #5for5BrainDump, the transformative journaling program where a 5 minute writing prompt offered daily brings renewed insights, energy and an action plan to those who join us, in community, to share the best of the rest of our lives.
The image for our upcoming #5for5BrainDump was taken of me in October, 2011, when I was writing as I walked along the trails beside Walden Pond, the same place where Henry David Thoreau wrote, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
Before the end of the year is upon us, we are taking these last moments to start fresh - to look with new eyes at what excites us, what calls to us and what it is that will create our most compelling end to the year.
I am thrilled to discover alongside you as we enter this critical time - gather your friends, your family, your neighbors and let's write together August 21 - August 25. We will be live on Facebook Live and Periscope and we will also have daily videos on YouTube and you will receive emails with the prompts and links to the Daily Video.
Lots of other surprises are in store and we look forward with our whole hearts to you joining us - whether this is your first time or your many, many, many times of writing with us via #5for5BrainDump.
Click this link to register, as always for free, now!
Yes, I continue to work with the 5 minute magic that is #5for5BrainDump on a daily basis. This week i am writing from last week's prompts - this is one I didn't spend much time with and today's writing is eye-and-heart-opening. There are more insights happening AND I like to honor the process so you will hear MORE about them later. Now, for my five minute writing - unedited, no forethought and no judgment, just moving my pencil across the page.
By the way - the opening called for a restart. I had to laugh. The font in my document was too small so I fussed about it - very briefly. Away we go now!
When I stand up for my wholeness, it is like when I stand up for the right font on my document. Right now I am frustrated because it isn’t sticking, it keeps falling back to what is the automatic, unwanted font rather than the intentional, exactly what I like best font.
Take 4 here we come!
Ironically that whole struggle took about two minutes, but my less-than and crooked, torn self would have said, “It takes forever for me to….(fill in the blank) that’s how bad I am at making even the simplest changes!”
I’m resetting my timer. Preparing for wonderfulness to follow.
When I stand up for my wholeness, I begin to see me as others see me. It isn’t the way the contrarian who battles for control over my thought process portrays me, it is the soft yet radiant slanted light of transition that shows up.
When I stand up for my wholeness, my priorities fall into line.
Last night I borrowed a prompt from the last session of #5for5BrainDump and I found myself re-inspired and in happy tears. “This is why I write, naturally, I forgot in all that busy-busy-busy…” (and yes, the contrarian had her say, briefly… which I managed to set aside.
When I stand for my wholeness is it much easier to set that stuff aside, that ongoing not-so-great narrative I have been working to restore this year. Still working on it. Gathering some new tools and will go back to daily writing when I return from my upcoming trip.
I stand up for my wholeness in the choices I make.
I stand up for my wholeness when I make plans with other people.
I stand up for my wholeness when people ask me my desires or ideas and I respond with concrete ideas that I am willing to risk. I stand up for my wholeness when I accept compliments with joy, when I laugh with myself instead of sarcastically putting myself down while aiming to get a laugh from my friends (or occasionally my children) which is more sad than anything else.
I stand up for my wholeness when I make an appointment for a massage and take a moment to embrace that reality.
I stand up for my wholeness when I make my house prettier and return to projects that delight and inspire my nesting instinct which in turn, inspires my creative process.
I stand up for my wholeness when I reward my five minutes of writing with a cup of fresh coffee in a favorite mug.
This morning is turning out very well.
This is a modified #5for5 for me. It is more guidance than true free flow. Please take it a such and as I've been doing this week, I will write to the prompt later. Today's livestream is beneath the second prompt image.
Today’s prompt: When I stand up for my wholeness:
(This has been an ongoing challenge for me – in relationship to standing up for myself for ANYTHING) and yes, so connected with our ongoing growth and integration).
I haven’t talked “integration” for a long time, I think because I received a critique that came at me unexpectedly – and then I turned the critique and the unexpected nature of it and turned it into a nugget of fear which morphed into a knot in my throat which stopped my fingers from moving and from there it moved outside of me and surrounded me and then it filled with water and pressed toward me until it was just me, treading water, no longer to even think about that word, integration, that experience of integration which works… ideally… like this.
In Julie World, Integration is knowing something on the soul level and slowly (or instantly) being able to communicate it to others in a way that isn’t foreign at all. It is coming into your wholeness, without separation of this from that and the other, over there in the corner and oh way on the other side is your inner…. (artist, scientist, anything other-than-acceptable-to-those-who-love-you) self.
Your body knows it – your knees and elbows and armpits and spleen and lungs know it (whatever “it” is) because you’ve been becoming more and more in harmony – in alignment – in deepening understanding so let’s think of an example.
I use integration with grief.
People (in my eyes inaccurately) talk about “closure” and “getting over” grief. In my experience, I don’t “get over” grief, I integrate the loss into my every day life.
My daughter Marlena died.
I will never forget her. She will always be my daughter. I can’t remember, though, when it stopped being important to say I had four children. I don’t know when I became comfortable with saying “I have three children.”
I still tell people I have four brothers, when asked. “I have four brothers, one has died.”
Marlena’s death has been integrated more deeply than John’s.
I think it was Wednesday when I said to Christine, out of the blue, “You know what? I can really write.”
She said something like, “You didn’t know this?”
To which I responded something like, “Well, I knew it on some level but I had forgotten and then I read something I wrote and I thought, ‘damn, I can really write. Really, I can!”
Integration involved conscious choice (choosing stress and/or peace). It includes a solid foundation of comfort and intimacy. Integration is quicker if we have a support system. If we have a map and several possibly paths to take… we have support. We know where to find answers if we don’t know already. We are confidence we will find or create or learn the way.
Integration invokes the deep dive. It calls upon us to be purposeful in a different way – an effortless blend of being and doing. I am reminded of walking, slightly stylistically, intentional. Feeling each step rise up from your core and slink from your hip to your thigh to your knee, calve and toes. Sole to soul to yes yes yes!
Writing Prompt: When I stand up for my wholeness:
And for further integration into wholeness, try this prompt:
Today, I recognize it is time to say yes to _____ because____ so I will….
This post was written using the #5for5BrainDump technique. We write within 5 minute chunks, stream of consciousness style: no editing, no forethought, no judgment. When we allow the words to flow, insights appear and miracles sprout: especially when we write in community. To participate with that community, join our free Word-Love Writing Community. At the bottom of my writing is a link for you to register to receive notifications of our upcoming sessions and weekly writing tips, prompts and videos to help you sustain your practice.
Here is my writing for today:
When I dive into the roots of my purpose….
I notice my eye starts to twitch. Well, not my actual eye itself because that is mostly immobile but my eye lid, my lower eye lid…
This sign of stress has been a part of my life since my junior year in high school. It was and is a physical manifestation of “look at what is up, Julie, look around you and look inside you.”
Ironic because I have been sitting doing anything but writing to this prompt for the past two hours!
To honor the call to choose stress or choose peace, I am choosing peace.
I look at my rootedness and I gaze at the vision board I made of my reader, last Spring. I remember taking it and placing it at the root of a blossoming almond tree – this vision board slowly coming to life as my project is coming to life. Almost complete.
That "almost" doesn’t live at the root. The root gives breath to the branches tips – this space where the ending and completion takes place.
I look at the tip of the arrow and can’t quite make out what I wrote there, those months ago. I look at the faces on the vision board, the “I think I can” little engine that could train… the children, the families, the zebra being “walked” by a little girl. The quirky, the moon – the blond child, the curly haired child, the Mom watching from a distance as if in prayer, the girl, lying on her tummy reading – absorbing, enjoying.
When I dive into the roots of my purpose, I notice there is peace to be found there always. That when I feel unwieldy on the edges, the roots are patiently waiting to be of service.
What a pleasure to remember. To return.
I am grateful for my tenacity. I am grateful for the imagery I collected and kept and I am grateful for the me of what, six months ago, who moved the vision board to the back of the front door. I am grateful to my family who didn’t ask what the heck I was doing, they simply flowed with Mommy’s eccentricities and now, this weekend, when it is complete – I believe I will frame this vision board. Surround it in root imagery. Choose to peacefully remember and be.
I feel most supported creatively when I have time to create within – which may sound strange because I am in control of my time, right? The thing is, I am, but I have a distorted belief nearly everyone else on the planet deserves to be served exactly when they wanted.
Nearly everyone = people in my sphere I love, admire and don’t want to lose. ß a-ha moment.
Boundaries, Julie, boundaries and I think/write of the opposite:
I feel creatively unsupported when people don’t respect what I am working on, as if this is just some wacky hobby I do because of some ego-driven purpose.
No and no and no.
I create because I believe I am here for a specific purpose and my gifts support my purpose. So creating actively means I am being on purpose. Granted, I may manage my own time better. Couldn’t we all?
I feel creatively supported when I ask for help and people respond YES. I actually also feel creatively supported when people tell me No, too, because that is a surefire thing. Mostly, I feel supportive when people are clear of HOW they would most like to offer me assistance. Here lies the truth: the support lives in ASKING, especially with intention.
I ask, “What do you bring to the table?” when I’m on a committee. “Where do you most like working, creating, collaborating?” rather than coming with ONE task for that person to take on, have a list of possibilities so there is a definite, give and take right from the beginning.
I feel creatively supported when I have the tools (pens, paper, art supplies, computer, wi-fi) close at hand. I would love to have a personal assistant to help keep me in line *put that in my before too long pile of realities.)
I look up at my timer and see it failed to ring after 5 minutes was up. I take a moment to create a "to be continued..." list.
This posting was written using #5for5BrainDump signature methods: it was written stream-of-consciousness style without editing, forethought or judgment and published with minimal "fixes".
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Your prompt - and today's Live Broadcast is below the text so you may write alongside us.Creatively, I feel most supported (+ + + ) when I…
I feel the least supported (+ + + ) when I…
It amuses me when I attract…. What I say I don’t want but that I obviously haven’t been 100% clear about what I want and my past ideas or values rise up and… well, here is what happened this morning.
I was broadcasting our #5for5BrainDump outside – because I love being on my writing porch in the early morning.
Unfortunately when you have neighbors who are drug users, dealers or have a history of such activity, others who engage in the same or similar destructive activities tend to arrive on the doorstep and early in the day – people are especially ornery because – in the case of methamphetamine use – they need that first dose, hit, whatever they call it.
So this morning I was broadcasting and we were in the midst of writing about being creatively supportive (or not) when one of those folks arrived and started banging on the door, ringing the bell, spewing hate and ugliness for the world to…. Certainly not enjoy…. And I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
I actually found it entertaining and used it during the broadcast.
I felt supported because I had witnesses to what I’ve been going through for the last couple years. Apparently the house has been sold and my prayer is the people who move in are not also in any sort of illicit business that attracts the same to the neighborhood.
The noise and disruption they caused is frustrating. It causes squirming and discomfort. If it WASN’T because of the people writing with me, I probably would have gone inside and slammed the door and festered in my anger. Instead, we stayed the course, together.
Like anything else, we are our own best gauge of support or lack of support.
When we effectively communicate with those around us, “This is what helps me, this is what doesn’t help me.” And “This is what I respond to and this is what annoys me and may cause problems in our collaboration.”
When we are open and truth-filled without attachment, everyone gains.
My initial five minutes ended without the timer sounding – and I believe each word was important.
Besides, as I often say “There are no rules, there is just writing (moving your pencil and your finger across the page.) This prompt is an important one – and one to revisit later today, tomorrow, next week and month and whenever you are engaged with different people.
Mutuality of support will make this world a better place not only for creatives, it will make the world a better place for all of us.
To stay "in the loop" and participate in our next #5for5BrainDump experience, "Focus on Your Creative Rebirth" please sign up now for emails to stay inspired and aware of our upcoming sessions, visit here to register. It is always free.
I choose peace when I return to what I don’t understand. I choose to create peace when I stop being frustrated, when I let go of my opinions and instead, stay open to the peace I see waiting for me on the edge.
It is like taking those sips and gulps of crystal cold water, on my hands and knees, over the rocks… and feeling the coolness in my mouth down my throat and smiling, full grin mode, looking up to moan happily… mmmmmmm…. Peace!
This is it!
I didn’t ever do this as a child, but as an adult I just might roll over on my back and moan and twist myself in happy twists and breathe in the taste even more deeply. This fuels me, this peace and this memory of peace. I remember Mom also remarking Grandpadaddy taught her to take sips from the creek right above the rocks.
If all these adults I cherished said this is must be true, right? It must be true.
Like peace. Peace is also true – and in these moments I remember I have the power to create peace at any point and any moment of my life.
Peace feels like really soft sweat pants – fleece, when I pull them on and notice how gentle they are and how much warmth they bring me when I am cold.
Peace feels like a cold swimming pool on a hot day. It sounds like the ocean when I have been away for far too long. Peace feels like a long hug from someone who I know cherishes me and who wants closeness, mutual closeness, demanding nothing but to hold and be held in that moment.
Peace feels like looking someone in the eye who understands in my silence what I am meaning and what I am needing and offers herself or himself or themselves up to me without question if I can reciprocate (or not).
I am so grateful for these moments of writing with so many people who are grateful for what I do and who I am, as an expression of myself fully….
I am grateful for… being comfortable with knowing even if that above sentence makes no sense, I know what it means and it felt good to write and this is ok.
I am grateful for air conditioning and hazy days. I am grateful for the shade at Hart Park.
I am grateful for periscope and the magic I have found there –
++ If you are writing with us, please add a link to your writing here if you would appreciate an audience. THANK YOU SO MUCH for making the world a better place through sharing your words with us!
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“Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing.”
“Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace.”
= = = = = = =
I’m going to be honest.
Quotes like this have a tendency to piss me off: “Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace.” Joan Borysenko said it, she is a smart woman, I trust her judgement but how can she make it sound so easy?
If you have a perfect life, nice house, extra money, a housekeeper, a partner who adores you and lots of mutual support in every dimension it would be so easy to choose peace.
The thing is when there is little of the sustenance stuff and just a smidge of your patience left, staying in a space of peace and love and no stress feels next to impossible.
My eye is twitching wondering how positivity people are going to judge me for saying this, big gasps echoing around the room yet, I also have to ask…
“Isn’t choosing peace even when in the midst of chaos what prayer and meditation and retreat are all about?”
Immediately I think of the Lovingkindess prayer and how much peace I have had in using it.
I think of the “Fall in love with Selling Challenge” I did recently with my friend Vie and how focusing on my purpose and beliefs literally brought me a fearless form of high.
Wasn’t that a sort of choosing peace?
I think of my conversation last night with Chuck when I shared about my plans to let go of my old self, shed that old self skin and devote myself publicly to my renewed way of thinking and being and no longer buying into my old, worn out my goodness I am so sick of it narrative that drags me down each and every time.
I could be simple as simple can be: a tiny book of LovingKindness throughout the day whenever I feel myself sliding into stress and/or whenever a bell rings.
I may choose to live the question, “Have I chosen stress or peace more today? What actions may I take to choose peace next?”
Today, on retreat, I will devote myself to choosing peace.
Your #5for5BrainDump Prompt:
Peace feels like….
When I choose peace, I become more….
When I choose stress, I feel like…
Make a list of times when I have consciously chosen peace…
In the moments today when you stop feeling peaceful, take your list of times when you felt peace and use them to inspire a quick one, three or five minute writing session.
May I be the first to say congratulations. Today, you are actively choosing peace. Stay the course and inspire yourself!
Let's stay the course and write with #5for5BrainDump -
Before I share my brain dump, I have to confess I didn't even realize how much I am being called to write of my heart.
Note to self: review your writing. Review your WRITING! Review YOUR writing!
I'm remembering how Julia Cameron suggests people do not review their morning pages. Sorry, lovers of all things Artist's Way, I think this is a big mistake. To not review my writing, my heart and soul and tears and insights poured onto the page is unwise.
So - off I go for five minutes to write. I hope you will join me - and then join me for next week's #5for5BrainDump session.
I am being called to look at my heart.
Called to look at my heart quietly. When I sat at my desk to consider the thought of it, the first response was “I don’t want to look at my heart. I just don’t want to do that.”
Fear? I wouldn’t think so and yet what I learned last week and almost forgot, I am not entirely honest when it comes to heart examination. It is easier to hide than to be continually growth oriented with my soul stuff.
Samuel walks by. I look up. Distract me, please!
Back to my heart.
I imagine myself sitting under a tree, sitting under a tree with my heart personified.
She isn’t particularly pretty, my heart, not conventionally.
She has tears and fissures. She has scars and pock-marks. She looks tired, beleaguered.
She isn’t shaped like a heart.
Resilience. My heart has resilience. My heart deserves my best. My heart has been waiting for this meeting for a long time, this one I have avoided.
Today I am printing a long awaited book project, a final step before THE final step I have claimed I wanted to finish. I didn’t really want to finish. “It is too scary!” I told my heart.
My heart looks back at me, not exactly frustrated and not even faking a Mona Lisa smile like I might.
“You are making it scary. It isn’t scary. It is something that exposes you and exposes me and makes us ripe for the plucking. I remember…” she says, somehow, without a mouth.
The timer goes off and I need to continue just a couple moments more.
The last time I published a book on my own, I saw a conversation between two people belittling me and my work.
“Was what they said accurate?” my heart asks me.
“Nope, it was their opinion and it wasn’t accurate.”
It wasn’t accurate yet I gave these two guys, these do-nothings whose names I can’t even recall the power to NOT speak up and perhaps make a big difference for a lot of families.
I am going to close with a quote I found and read before I sat down.
“I never said I wanted a 'happy' life but an interesting one. From separation and loss, I have learned a lot. I have become strong and resilient, as is the case of almost every human being exposed to life and to the world. We don't even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward.”
Thank you, Isabel. Thank you, Heart. I will continue now. I wrote for two extra minutes. I will review my heart's calling. And write more. Take back the power I had so freely given away, afraid repeatedly of being wrong.
Julie Jordan Scott
is the founder and creator of 5For5BrainDump. She has been inspiring artistic rebirth since 1999.