Much of that self-exploration came through the practice of writing. Each morning, I’d wake up at five and record a five-item gratitude list. Next, I’d journal 500 words, sometimes more, and later in the evenings, I wrote a weekly newsletter and blog post on my website.
It was a lot of writing; some writing was average and other pieces subpar. However, at the beginning of 2017, I set the intention to write, so that’s what I did. It was about setting positive habits not becoming a bestselling author or famous blogger. The challenge was could I show up every day and do the work? The answer was a resounding yes!
As the year unfolded, I began to notice my gratitude list and journaling became much more introspective. Perhaps it was my Buddhist practice nudging me to do more in-depth work? Whatever the reason, the writing became more meaningful, and slowly I began to share more of my personal story, which includes a history of abuse, drug use, and depression.
Sometimes the wrong path is the right path, and we’re just not aware of it yet.
It was the personal stories I shared on my blog that received the most attention, got the most shares, and reached the most eyes. For much of 2017, I tried to write about mindfulness, and I wanted to become a meditation coach or at least some sort of an authority figure in the mindfulness blogging sphere. What an eye-opener to learn I was typing down the wrong path!
As a Buddhist, I have taken lay vows to work to help all living beings reach enlightenment. I thought I could do that by writing about mindfulness and meditation, but as it turns out, I’m supposed to write about something else. I think I’m meant to share more of my personal story living with anxiety and depression and more importantly how I manage these illnesses.
Moving forward, when I write for my newsletter and for my blog the narrative will change from that of a focus on mindfulness to that of a person who lives with active anxiety and depression. Will there be the talk of mindfulness? Yes. Mindfulness is what steered me towards a path of recovery. Will there be a Buddhist angle? No. Buddhism is my central practice. However, Buddhism is not what I’m here to share.
It’s incredible what happens when you stop and listen to what your life is trying to tell you.
If you can objectively listen to your life, then pivot you’ll find that perhaps you’re now on a new path, but it is the right path. It took me a long time to realize this truth, and at times I still struggle with it. There are many points on the timeline of my life where pride prevented me from making the right moves, from pivoting, but not anymore.
So what is it that I learned precisely from a year of solid writing? Well in my journaling practice I learned to dive deeper into myself, to listen to my life and to make the necessary adjustments on the path of, not only, writing but on the path of relationships, career, etc. While writing for my blog and newsletter, I learned that I was sharing the wrong story, and that’s okay because all I have to do is a simple pivot.
More importantly, I learned that I need to be true to myself and that in reality, I’m not that bad of a guy.
In 2018, I will continue to wake in the morning and write. In the evening, I will continue to write too. This New Year, I will share my personal story of recovery and what it’s like to actively live with anxiety and depression. Writing this story is what will help others because it’s authentic, it’s raw, and it’s filled with hope.
I can no longer hide behind a facade of mindfulness trying to be something I’m not. No longer can I hold back what I truly want to express.
I’m still a Buddhist, and I always hold the wish to help all living beings, but sharing my personal story is how I can provide value to others. If you’d like to read along, please consider subscribing to my newsletter.
Thanks so much for reading!
Originally posted on the blog CM
Photo by A. and I. Kruk