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My Journey to #Journalspeak

My journey to #journalspeak was not quick and easy. It took establishing myself in a teaching career only to realize that my body had accumulated too much stress to realistically function in the job world. Between my last teaching job and starting my master’s degree program, I had a few months where I focused on my mental health full-time. I researched, meditated, hiked, and sought affordable healing methods that I could try. I even started an autobiography that turned out to be shockingly pain-relieving. At that time, I knew I was carrying a lot of anger from childhood and still collecting new issues in an imaginary red wagon, despite being an adult.

When I discovered Nicole Sachs's work, I thought it could be a great opportunity to give it a try, but my master’s degree program had started up and I needed to give that my full and undivided attention. Also, the notion that you could control pain with your mind was a little offensive; I had already been trying to heal myself psychologically since I was a teenager. As a thirty-one year-old, the clinical mental health coursework at Adams State University turned out to be a great fit for me and I thrived from the online discussions, projects, and writing assignments I was given. It wasn’t until my internship started that my pain became unmanageable again. I was doing a little less writing and a lot more driving and dealing with unpredictable circumstances.

Now that I have had a few months of freedom from school and testing pressures, I have had the time to entertain the ability of journalspeak to heal my trigeminal neuralgia. I finally listened to Nicole Sachs’s chronic pain lesson plan: buy and read Dr. John Sarno’s book, The Mindbody Prescription, in order to understand the medical basis for her theory built upon Sarno’s ideas. Sarno’s principal theory is called tension myositis syndrome (TMS) and he claims that it is the root cause of several pain disorders. TMS is the idea that all pain disorders are caused by unresolved psychological issues. Sachs wrote a follow-up book called The Meaning of Truth where she includes a specific method that she learned from Dr. Sarno himself. She has termed this technique journalspeak and she has helped numerous chronic pain sufferers overcome serious life-threatening illnesses just as Dr. Sarno did with this very method.

Both books were practically essential for me to read in order to accept the concept of TMS rather than be offended by it. The Meaning of Truth seems to be intentionally written in a relaxed manner to encourage the reader to let go of judgmentalness and tune in to the voice inside that has been shut down since childhood. Her prowess as a therapist is evident in her writing, but in this blog, I will go ahead and skip to the chase. Here is the method. Every day, you can take twenty minutes where you journal about childhood, daily life, and your personality, but make sure you focus on issues that cause you to feel anger. In writing them down, it is like letting pressure off of a steam valve so that it does not somehow come out sideways through chronic pain or angry outbursts. After that twenty minutes of journaling, you get rid of the evidence (your journalspeak writing) however you like and then meditate for ten to fifteen minutes. During the meditation you simply observe your breath and open yourself up to feelings of forgiveness to yourself for having this anger. If you did not resent yourself already for the anger, we would not have to do this. But sometime, somewhere, you learned anger is not okay and that it must be thwarted at all costs.

At this point, you may be thinking, why would we want to take time out of our day to focus on feeling anger? That doesn’t sound fun or helpful. Society has done a great job of teaching us anger is bad, especially for women, who are taught to be sweet, polite, quiet, and kind. When we stop to think about it, we know that if anger did not exist, we would have all sorts of worldwide problems. We all need healthy boundaries and it takes a little anger to understand that concept. It is a type of gaslighting to make a person feel that they “shouldn’t” be angry. Anger, like hunger, is sometimes a necessary part of being human. Only through anger, can we teach others how we want to be treated. Anger is beautiful and if we don’t admit this to ourselves, it could cost us our lives.

Still, why can’t we skip right to forgiveness? Let me tell you, during that small break between careers, I was working on forgiveness and meditating every day with various supports such as Tara Brach’s wonderful and amazing guided meditation called “RAIN” (Recognize, Accept, Investigate, Nurture) but I never got to show up for my anger through meditation as I do through journalspeak. That angry inner child never left even though we thought we had banished her, we thought we had gotten rid of her and her pathetic needs for good. But no, she is still in there and she is dying to be freed. Do the work, block out the time, and trust me, it is worth it because you are worth it. That is the truth and don’t let anyone make you believe anything different.

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