I was having coffee with a friend a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon one of the biggest aha moments that I’ve had in a long time. This friend is a brilliant author. His words encapsulate the reader making each page feel like there is a bit of magic sprinkled throughout the paper. There is wisdom that comes with each word he writes or speaks and after each meeting with him, I feel a renewed sense of vitality. I was discussing with him a particularly difficult topic for me and how I could possibly come to solve the issue at hand. I was frustrated, overwhelmed and was starting to get squeaky (something that tends to happen when I get excited or upset). After I finished telling my saga of a story, he looked at me, his eyes filled with wisdom and understanding and said, “well my dear, have you written down what you want?” I gave him a puzzled look. How was writing something down going to help my situation. I tried to come up with a academic answer for him but all I could muster was, “what?” He laughed and sipped his coffee. “If you want something to happen,” he said, “you have to write it into existence.”
Being an author, he believes wholeheartedly in the power of words and the impact that they can have on us. I thought on this for a moment and an image came into my mind. My bucket list.
I have been journaling since it was called a diary and my 7 year-old self wrote about boys on the playground and sleepovers. In 2013 I wrote a bucket list of things I wanted to do, accomplish and see. As a 26 year old at the time, I thought that most of these things were so far out of reach that it might take me most of my life to start checking things off. But I wrote them down anyway. A few weeks ago, I rediscovered this journal among a box of old memorabilia. Out of the 25 things that I wrote down, there are only 4 that I haven’t accomplished. I was surprised by the fact that over just five years I was able to check off almost everything. To be honest, I had completely forgotten about this list–it was something that I wrote one day and forgot the next, it wasn’t something that I looked at yearly to see how I was progressing. I thought it was coincidental and gave myself a quick pat on the back for doing better than I thought I would. However, when
I heard my friend say these words, they immediately resonated. Did these things that I wrote on my bucket list happen because I wrote them into existence? When I wrote these things down, did they subconsciously become things that I strived towards? As I considered these questions, it became more and more clear how poignant writing can be. I began to realize why successful people write out goals, why organized people tend to write to-do lists and why we write intentions for those who we want to send good thoughts to. I have heard verbal affirmations referred to as a “verbal vision board.” I used to focus my journaling on talking about the past or working through the most difficult parts of my life at the time, and while that was incredibly therapeutic for me, I realize now that I also need to journal about what i hope for the future–about what I really want to accomplish.
I looked at my friend wide-eyed and mouth agape. “I need to write it into existence!?” I said, as part question and part realization. I am a fixer by nature (a quality that I most definitely inherited from my mom). As soon as a problem arises, I am working out a way to solve it. And while this is a wonderful quality to have, I realized, in that moment, that maybe I needed to stop, take a moment, write down what I really wanted, and let the universe work it’s magic. Maybe, the “fix” was already in the works–I just hadn’t slowed down long enough to notice it.
That night I went home, pulled out my trusty journal and wrote down exactly what I hoped for. Now, I realize this isn’t a way to solve all of the issues of the world–but this was a way to really refocus on what I wanted the outcome to be. A way to write it into my subconscious and recharge my energy to the solution rather than focusing on the problem. A few weeks later, as I slowed down and let life happen a bit, I was able to see the beginnings of the “fix” slowly starting to form.
The concept of writing our stories into existence can be applied to all forms of life– jobs, relationships, goals, aspirations. It is a way of telling the universe, “Here’s what I want for myself–here’s my plan. Let’s focus the energy and make it happen.”
Go and write. Make life happen.