In March 2014 I started writing to myself from myself.
It happened like this:
I am a journal buyer/collector/lover as many of us are. I can’t go on holiday without coming home with a freshly inspired, begging to be filled note-book. I prefer it to be mid-sized, big enough that the bottom of my hand doesn’t fall off the page but small enough that I can pack it in any kind of bag I’m carrying. I have scads and scads of these written treasures hidden throughout my house. There are untouched exquisitely beautiful ones, bent and smudged half-filled ones, stacks of pawed and worn loved ones, and even a suitcase filled with pages of my glorious teenage-to-twenty something angst (oh boy). I have a lot of journals.
A couple of years ago I decided to Get Off the Roller Coaster of my life and start living instead.
If you know my story, then you know I was diagnosed with stage three tonsil cancer in 2015. This was one year before and I was still in the thick of my own personal fog.
I had become exhausted with my own ‘doing-ness’. Man oh man. Truly, at that time there was nothing you could throw at me where I wouldn’t think: ‘I can figure that out’, plus I was (and still am) pretty much an open book. Back then, I could talk about anything, write about anything, share about all of it, relentlessly listen and learn and yet NOTHING could fill my cup in a lasting, real way anymore.
- I’d been through therapy (twenty odd years of it)
- I’d been through the workshops (too many to count).
- I’d done the ‘exercise’ thing, the ‘artist’ thing, the ‘women’s group’ thing, went back to church for the ‘God thing’, returned again and again and again and again for the ‘relationship’ thing, and I even did the ‘dream’ thing by building a successful six figure network marketing business.
- My life saw me touching the top of almost everything I tried while exploring the bottom too.
Yet with all of that hard earned wisdom and experience, I still hadn’t landed in a place that felt peaceful.
A place that felt like home.
I had done some very deeply personal work with Chris Dierkes, whom I refer to as My Soul Guy, and through our work together I found this place within myself where urgency doesn’t exist, where I can hear my self, and where I have a sense of what is absolutely irrefutably true (for me) – and peaceful.
From that place, my Dear Tina… practice began.
What is it?
Well, there I was sitting at my picnic table on a gorgeous summer day and I could feel that familiar call to journal and I thought… Oh gawwwwwwd no… anything but that.
Blech blech blech blech blech
Journaling had become like bathing, (and I love a good bath) for the first few minutes anyway, but then once the water cools down it just feels like I’m sitting in my own dirt you know? Journaling had begun to feel like that.
So there I was, me, a table, a pen and an impulse to write. Now what?
And then I had this thought… What if I could write to myself? What if I could answer myself? What if I could develop a practice of listening and become sooooooo goooooooood at cutting through the chatter (what traditional journaling, or dumpling feels like for me), and get to the voice that is me. What would that Tina say? Or rather, what would the ‘wise’ me say?
And that’s where it began.
Two years ago, my body was falling apart. My business was empty and collapsing, my spirit was grief-stricken and my marriage as I knew it to be was over. I made a choice that day (without knowing that’s what I was doing) to Listen instead of Lead, and then with support, I decided to take it one step further, I chose to Listen so as to Lead.
Many things began to come together, some in concept, some in practice, but then I was diagnosed with cancer the following April (2015). I was thrust into clarity and during that highly anxious time, I leaned heavily on my Dear Tina Journal. Here’s an excerpt from that entry:
Dear Tina, what is the story of this cancer in my body?
Why do you call it cancer Tina? It’s a name only. Breathe Tina, you may not be ready to hear this.
I am listening.
You are dying Tina. Your body is not dying. Your body is not dying. Your body is fine. Your body is holding a piece that is dying. You are dying. You as you as you have been is dying – this time this view of you is dying, this thought, this way is dying. You are dying Tina – your body is fine.
There have been years of you. There is years in the thing you call cancer. You can let it die. You can radiate it, chemo it, destroy it. You are dying, not your body. Let it die.
Let it leave your body. Let the doctors do what they must. You can let it die.
If you’d like to read the full entry, click here for a recent Dear Tina post shared here on TinaOLife.
While my Dear Tina… journal started out as a practice for me, since I’ve started sharing it, I can’t help but notice that some of you want to learn more about how I do use it. Some might even want to try creating their own practice of ‘listening to themselves’.
Because of that, I’m currently developing a FREE, self-guided e-class for anyone who wants to give my Dear________ practice a go.
It’ll be ready by May 1st 2016 so if you’d like to receive my free e-course (with some video encouragement from me) delivered to your email inbox on May 1st, simply click the link below and you’ll be one of the first to get your hands on it.
I often say ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’. It’s a paraphrase from the bible Luke 12:48 (yes the God thing is a bit more than just a thing for me), and I recognize that I’ve been given this practice of listening not just for me, but for you too. For that reason, here it is… Sign up here to receive your FREE Dear… e-course from me, TinaO.