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Journaling Beneath the Surface

By Ellen Moore

What does it mean to work beneath the surface of your life? It is an approach that differs from the great American tradition of "making things happen" by direct action. Instead, this method of growth emphasizes "working with," rather than "working against." It is a view of life that focuses on flowing with the forces of the universe (both internal and external) instead of changing them directly. It has to do with being willing to see things differently, with reinterpreting meanings and events, with gaining perspective, and with creating a context for change and healing.

Working beneath the surface has to do with accepting difficulties as the raw material for spiritual growth. More specifically, working beneath the surface might mean:

  • Turning your attention from surface matters to the invisible world
  • Telling yourself the truth about your life by facing it squarely
  • Being patient
  • Being willing to explore and accept the disowned, negative parts of yourself
  • Listening to what your soul wants for you
  • Learning from the wisdom of the past and from others' stories
  • Allowing your life to unfold without frantic pushing or pulling on your part
  • Giving up the need to be in control at all times
  • Honoring and learning from feelings of frustration, blockage, and "stuckness"
  • Being willing to tolerate ambivalence and ambiguity by "sitting in the question"
  • Going with your resistances instead of fighting yourself and pushing
  • Retreating occasionally
  • Regressing in order to go forward
  • Finding the gold in your shadow self
  • Simplifying your life
  • Practicing self-compassion
  • Accepting and saying "yes" to life
  • Being willing to receive what the universe has to offer you

In order to work beneath the surface, it is important to "be with" your feelings, even the nasty ones. When you are able to acknowledge and accept your perceptions, then you become free to change them. The good news is that when you become willing to see things differently, you can tap inner resources and hidden strengths by accepting all of your existence. This process allows you to use even your most negative past experiences as a source of strength. With your inner resources mobilized, you can then explore new possibilities.

Copyright 2006 Ellen Moore. All rights reserved.
Ellen Moore, Ph.D., specializes in the art and science of happiness. Many tools are available for changing your life "for good." Some of the most accessible are Writing, Reading, Retreats, Group Support, and Mentoring/Coaching. Feel free to contact Ellen for further information and register for her free newsletter, "New Life Story Seeds" at New Life Stories.
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