Day 27: Is it possible I’m writing too much about the past?
This is a great question – do you want to know why?
Because there’s a really good chance that by the time you ask yourself this question – “am I spending too much time focusing on my pass when I could be focused on the present and my future?” – you have gotten what you need to get out of exploring your past and it is time to move on.
You just might need something to sort of finalize it. Close the door. Get closure.
When someone leaves this life, we go to a funeral or memorial service.
It’s one way to get closure.
When we move from one chapter or phase of life to another, it’s a sort of parting that while perhaps not as final as death can certainly feel just as heartbreaking. Or leave us with a clear sense that things will never be the same again.
Sometimes this is good. Good to leave a job that makes you miserable. A place in your life that leaves you feeling scared and in fear for your safety.
Every one of us is a walking, talking, processing, living, breathing, machine full of memories and experiences that combine in a unique combination to create the person sitting in your skin.
We all have stuff to learn. We all have coolness that we have lived and we need to spend some time with it.
But, if the past keeps coming up for you in your writing, don’t be afraid to stick with it. Recently I listened to the Magic Lessons podcast where Elizabeth Gilbert interviewed Brene Brown. One of things that Brene shared was about how she chooses the stories that she delivers in her books and speaking gigs. She said that she doesn’t share a story publically until she has completely processed it herself.
As you know, you dedicated journal writer, your private writing is a place where that processing can take place.
In Brene Brown’s example, the time she spends processing a story is totally relevant to her present and her future because she uses her stories in her work.
This can be your prompt for today: if your past keeps coming up in your writing, explore what relevance your past has on your present or your future?
And just go with it. The world is full of people who will judge the decisions you make the dress you choose to wear, or the way you say something.
For your own private writing, pay attention to the things that keep coming up. Stay with them as long as it feels right. When you start to question if its too much time, take an afternoon to read over what you’ve processed and ask yourself if you feel complete with this topic or if you need to keep writing about it.
Grief is something that does not come and go in one day. If there are things from your past that you’re grieving you can expect that you will need to spend some time with them. And that they will come up repeatedly.
You may find that you are writing about the same piece of your past over and over. If you are tired of exploring that part of your story, change it up for a bit. Set a timer and write about something in your present. Or what you want your story to be for the future. Taking a break can change your perspective and help with the healing process.
Trust yourself that you will know when its time to move on from your past.
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Sara Marchessault is a coach, writer, and mom who helps busy women use journaling to create more space in their life for being productive without feeling overwhelmed. Visit www.saramarchessault.com to get your FREE Journal Protection Plan and start using your journal to create more joy in your life.