I began to see my body was not just a series of connected mechanical parts, nor was my body something that I owned like a possession: my body was who I am, the real me, and it was amazingly, miraculously intricate. It was intrinsically spiritual as well as physical.
This is just one of MANY profound statements in Mari McCarthy's book Journaling Power: How to Create the Happy, Healthy Life You Want To Live that caught my attention for all the right reasons. Mari, a true pioneer in journal therapy and expressive writing, opens her ultimate self up in this incredible read that I keep atop my nightstand.
Let's be honest... if you're anything like me you've probably gotten caught up in the Target journal aisle for far too many hours of your (and your husband/wife/partner's) life. There's something so freeing about seeing blank pages and picking out one that suits your soul, making you feel ready to both cozy in and conquer the world.
But if you're STILL anything like me... that same soul-catching inspiration may have been left behind in the aisle. I remember I would bring journal after journal home, but once it came to sitting down with the pages, I felt frozen... empty... intimidated...
At any given time you could look through my old journals and see a few bland entries about what my day entailed with months, or even years, between the entry dates. I was using journaling as a chore, or rather, as something to keep "track" of my life. A "here is my day, here's how it went". I never really found the magic in journaling, and, truthfully, it never lived up to its hype. Until I was faced with severe, debilitating pelvic pain.
Over the course of a few years, I had become more and more unwell. Although nothing entirely life shattering, I had my appendix removed, gallbladder removed, lived with one never-ending migraine, and spend every waking moment dreaming of pelvic muscles that didn't spasm into solid concrete (okay, so not literally, but... OW). My life was ruled by pain. And I cursed my body for it.
I saw physician after physician, specialist after specialist, and got scan after scan. For two years, I was nothing but a set of diagnostics with no real answers and no good solution. I settled into a rabbit hole of prescription medications (where I soon lost sight of where the symptoms ended and the side effects began), and continually felt beaten and battered by the constant and complete misunderstanding in my rushed 10 minute appointments with medical professionals I once trusted. They asked me where my pain was, what it felt like, and when it started. They offered me one medication after another and set up surgery consults. But what they NEVER asked was...
How are you sleeping?
How are you eating?
How is your stress?
How are you coping?
What is work like?
How is your emotional health? Your mental health?
How are YOU?
Not 'how is your pain'...
How are YOU?
Interestingly enough, this all began unfolding after I accepted a position in the Pediatric ICU working night shift as a registered nurse. And had anyone asked the REAL questions, I could have began true healing much, MUCH sooner.
With my job, I slept maybe 2-3 day lit hours. I worked 12-18 hours on the unit, and picked up extra to combat the guilt of "days off". I ate odd meals at odd times, if any meals at any time. I took every inch of the trauma and toxicity from work home with me. I had no energy to move my body, and when I would try to work out, my body screamed out in pain (a massive red flag for an ex-division I swimmer whom movement was a saving grace). My relationships were in the hole because I had no capacity to give, and no understanding of how to receive when my only-known job was to give. And on top of it all, I was wildly unfulfilled and misaligned. Not only was my work/life balance nonexistent, but I was not being authentic to myself in this line of work. I was not honoring my values, my strengths, or my purpose. And, equally so, I was not forgiving myself for any of that, either. And so this internal turmoil and tension festered under the surface. And festered, and festered, and festered until it manifested physically into chronic pain and autoimmune illness.
Eventually I would come to quit my job. To release the pent up tension through writing, movement, meditation, and therapy. I would learn to go towards my pain, and ask of it what it was telling me. To trust it. To listen to it. To love it as not a series of mechanical parts or something I owned, but for who it was, exactly as it was, and exactly for what it needed. Just like Mari encourages so eloquently...
I never got to this conclusion through my physicians or scans. I didn't find healing in my medications, or by burying my feelings in the busy. I found it in my journal, when I finally let it into the deepest spaces of my being, and let each page occupy what I no longer had the physical, mental, or emotional capacity to carry.
Mari's journey of finding healing from Multiple Sclerosis through expressive writing is so inspirational because it is so RELATABLE. Mari, too, suffered a unique and different, yet similar, journey to mine. And now she's on a mission to help other health-conscious women take the deep dive into true healing. Mari's book takes us through her personal journey, while simultaneously guiding you on your own. She offers tips, tricks, and journaling prompts to help you take your journal from that boring, chore-like entry, to one that can:
Reduce stress and physical pain
Overcome life challenges
Heal emotional wounds
Resolve inner conflicts and gain a deeper understanding of your true self
Conquer limiting beliefs and fears that have held you back
Create the life you want from the inside out
And even better yet, you don't HAVE to be in the depths of pain, illness, or a specific ailment to begin this journey and reap the diverse and vast set of benefits. You, exactly as you are, exactly how you feel is the PERFECT place to begin. No matter what you are conquering in your day-to-day, Mari's insights are always timely and fit right into whatever crevasse you need it to.
Wanting to know a little bit more about this transformational self-health book and the inspiring author, Mari? Check out the information below. And while you're around, keep scrolling for a special conversation she and I had just a few months back about her empowering story and how it can help YOU get started on yours.
I'll leave you now with Mari's words.... #WriteOn!
Can the simple act of putting pen to paper lead to healing? Author and musical artist Mari L. McCarthy used her own journaling power to relieve her symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Now, it’s time to access the power of journaling for yourself.
Inside of Journaling Power, Mari L. McCarthy, founder of CreateWriteNow.com, shares her personal tips on how to use journaling that will lead to self-growth and life-changing transformation. You will also read about scientific medical studies that discuss the healing abilities of journaling while learning step-by-step guidance on how to:
· Reduce physical pain and overcome illness
· Heal emotional wounds from past traumas
· Resolve inner conflicts and create self-compassion
· Conquer limiting beliefs and fears
· Reconnect with your inner healer
· Reduce stress and find inspiration
· Set realistic goals--and discover the motivation to make them happen
Whether you need to heal from stressful life events or learn how to put yourself first, Mari L. McCarthy guides you on a journey of well-being and self-care. With Journaling Power, you unlock the powers of this self-healing tool to lead a life of joy, compassion, creativity, and growth. So, grab a notebook, a pen, and a quiet space, and reveal the strength of your unconscious mind.
Print Length: 146 Pages
Publisher: Hasmark Publishing
About the Author, Mari L. McCarthy
Mari L. McCarthy, Founder and Inner Work Tour Guide of CreateWriteNow.com shows curious health-conscious people how to use Journaling For The Health Of It®️ to heal the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual issues in their tissues and to know and grow their True Self. She’s the multi-award-winning author of Journaling Power: How To Create The Happy, Healthy Life You Want To Live and Heal Your Self With Journaling Power. She’s also created 20+ Journaling For The Health Of It® Inner Journey Workbooks that include Who Am I?, Declutter Your Life In 28 Days, and Take Control Of Your Health In 24 Days.
Find her online at:
**A big thank you to WOW (Women on Writing) Blog Tour for allowing me to express my gratitude and appreciation for Mari's writing. Be sure to visit CK Sorens Blog at https://www.cksorens.com/blog tomorrow where you can read her review and even enter to win a copy of the book!!!