by Diana Raab, Ph.D.
March is Women’s History month and writing is one way to preserve our legacy for future generations. Whether we write in journals, poetry, memoir or fiction, writing can be considered a gift to the future in addition to transforming ourselves in the present.
Female writers such as Anais Nin, Virginia Woolf, May Sarton, Audre Lorde, and Reeve Lindbergh have made a habit of keeping journals. They wrote because they were compelled to write; whether to express themselves or as a means of coming to terms with something in their lives. Some of their writings led to books, while others remained within their private collections.
Journals may be thought of as a container for feelings. By expressing our feelings within the privacy of a journal, we are able to tap into our inner selves and give voice to our thoughts. When we give voice to those thoughts harbored inside of us, we can more easily transform ourselves and the world we live in.
In the same way it is true that we cannot love others unless we love ourselves first; we cannot initiate transformation in the world unless we have initiated it in ourselves. Initiating transformation can be quite empowering and writing plays a crucial role in this process.
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Here are some prompts women can use as springboards to initiate transformation in their lives and in the lives of their loved ones.
1. Write about an important epiphany you had which changed your way of thinking. Although we may not realize it at the time, sometimes experiences can be quite transformative. Oftentimes, we need a certain amount of distance from the experience to write about it. Try writing about an experience that happened a long time ago. It is fine to go all the way back to your childhood. Whether the situation was something you initiated or it was something given to you does not matter, but it should be an event that changed you.
2. Write about a diversion which invigorates you. Stressful times in our lives can inspire us to reach for activities which take our minds off our problems. Write about an activity that makes you feel better about yourself during difficult times, whether it’s yoga, meditation, walking, swimming, hiking, cycling or reading. Whatever works for you in times of need is what you should write about. Explain why you like it.
3. Write about a hormonal shift you had in your life. It has been said that women have great hormonal shifts during adolescence, pregnancy and menopause. Some women breeze by these changes, while others find they become hurdles or temporary roadblocks in their lives. Choose one of your experiences, and describe what happened and how you felt, physically, emotionally and mentally while going through the change.
4. Write about a situation when you felt hurt. Maybe someone hurt you either intentionally or unintentionally. Perhaps every time you see the person they say or do something hurtful. Write down your feelings towards the person and how you feel when you are with them.
5. Write about a major transition or shift in your life. We begin transforming from the day we are born, but sometimes pain or turmoil in our lives can facilitate change. Often, the best way to move through a difficult transition is to simply move forward and embrace the change. Write about your fears, anxieties and hopes when you were going through a particular change in your life.
6. Write about a memorable dream. Sometimes dreams can be thought of as a mirror into your soul in that they offer a glimpse into the goals which lie in your soul. If you pay attention to them, they can inspire your direction in life and offer you much hope and joy. Dreams can be thought of as gifts and therefore should be honored.
7. Write about your strengths and accomplishments. Sometimes we get bogged down in all that we don’t know how to do rather than what we can do. Spend a few minutes writing about your strengths and accomplishments and how they make you feel. This is one way to nurture your inner psyche and achieve a state of well-being.
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