“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it.
You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.
And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert, from Eat, Pray, Love
Your New Chapter
If you struggle with feeling good, with allowing in happiness, the best thing I can recommend is that you start keeping a journal where you start telling the unvarnished truth about your experience.
But don’t just write about what’s the matter.
In fact, I’ll be bold here and encourage you to use the blank page to explore what you really want to experience in your life, what you hope for, what you dream of creating.
If you can’t find words, then find images from books and magazines, cut them out, and paste them in your journal.
Scribble. Juxtapose. Cut. Paste. Paint all over it.
See if you can just allow pure feeling onto the paper. Don’t try to interpret anything or worry about what it means.
The inner critic will announce itself. That’s OK. Write down everything the critic says without judging. It will quiet down.
You’ll start hearing other ideas and thoughts. Write down those, too.
Keep all of this private. Don’t feel you have to explain it or what you’re doing to yourself or anyone else. Certainly not anyone else!
When I was an art therapist in working in the psych ward, I did this with my patients.
In our first session, I would bring their medical chart, but also a big, blank sketchbook and brightly colored pens, markers, pretty papers.
I’d begin the session by asking, What is right with you?
This would always catch them by surprise.
Don’t you mean: What’s wrong with me? What got me into this place?
I already know what’s wrong with you. I’ve read your chart. And we can get into that later if you want.
But first, tell me what’s working in your life. What’s good. What’s right with you?
They would start telling me what was good, what was already working, and I’d write it down—inside the blank sketchbook.
It was as if someone turned on the sun in the room. Everything got brighter. The mood of the patient, the energy in the room shifted.
Then I handed them the blank sketchbook, chock full of evidence of their own worthiness, goodness, resourcefulness.
This is yours. Here is where we’ll write your new life story. This is your next chapter. We’ll do it together.
And then it was their turn to author their book. To play with the paints and collage, write with colored markers and sprinkle glitter around with abandon.
I didn’t know therapy could be so fun, they said.
Oh, this isn’t really therapy, I would tell them.
Honestly? I’m just showing you what I did to feel better when I was sitting where you are. This is what helped me most.
Today’s Journal Prompts:
What makes me happy right now is…
The happy that I need to insist upon right now is….
I maintain my happy by…
I will swim upward into my happiness by…
Want to explore all of this more in depth?
I’d love to be your Guidess…
…in Dreaming On Paper — the workshop helps you excavate your own true desires, innate wisdom, and intuition, with ease, gentleness and joy.
This workshop is one of the foundational, prerequisite courses for the facilitator training.
Right now you can get Dreaming on Paper at a nice discount with Bundle Up special over on my workshops page. This offer expires July 31.
Every once in a while, I do something really crazy with pricing, and this is an example.
This post is part of the 30 Day Journal Project.
Our theme for this year is: FLOW.
Just discovered this project? Great! You can begin right now.
Pop your email into the box below, and you’ll each day’s prompts delivered to you:
You’ll get Day 1 immediately when you sign up, and a new prompt each day after for 30 days.
Don’t want to receive prompts by email – or did your daily email go missing?
No worries, we’ve got options:
1. Every day for 30 days, a brand new set of journaling prompts is posted right here on my blog. Creative journaling is my number one tool as an artist and creative entrepreneur.
2. You can get printables of ALL 30 days of prompts here >
Beauty & Connection
You may join our closed FB Group for this project here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/30dayjournal/
Each inspirational quote for the 30 Day Journal Project has a pretty visual graphic for you to print out and paste your journal, add to your Pinterest gallery, or share as you wish.
You are invited to share your experience in the comments—the dream is to collect your stories for an upcoming book about this project.
Use the hashtag #30DAYJOURNAL in your blog and social media posts so we can find each other and build our creative community.
More on this subject of floating atop your own happiness:
If you think you’re not “the creative type”… I wrote this just for you.
This one of the pieces you’ll find inside the Dreaming on Paper workshop.
Celebrating the ordinary in everyday life… and my favorite footwear for dashing through airports, no less.
Just look at the photo of Henry’s notebook in this post. Especially if you are still searching for the perfect blank sketchbook or journal.