I’ve just completed a three-week programme of 7am starts three time a week to sit in silence with a bunch of strangers and to just write, prompted by a poem or prose or a key word for that day. It’s been a ‘me sanctuary’ as I sit and write for 20 minutes, uninterrupted and supported by my silent supporters sharing the personal quest of discovering more and asking more of myself. As someone who often dips into journal writing, this experience has been far deeper and more personal than anything I’ve ever experienced.
In many ways coaching is a form of reflective practice, being prompted by someone else to delve deeper in your thoughts and fears, asking provoking questions guided by the conversation. As a coach leaving someone with a prompt that sums up their session or one to stretch them can often be a parting gift. Clients often comment on how self-indulgent coaching can feel as they take time out selflessly for themselves.
Yet there has been something quite profound for me in the experience of group reflective writing. Sharing my thoughts in my journal has always been a solitary task, something that I seek out when the coast is clear as I reach for my journal and capture my thoughts, hopes and dreams from that day or week, both past and ahead. I write based on what’s on my mind, prompted by my day. My reflections are weighted by the bias of the day and the frustrations that I find myself in. Whilst it’s often felt like a chance to get things off my chest or a moment to hope without fear of laughter, it’s still triggered by me. What my reflective writing class has taught me is the power of an external prompt, hearing words that are not mine with thoughts from other worlds and lives that inspire me to think and feel far deeper. In a virtual room of strangers I’ve silently shared my soul as I’ve dived into reflections around ‘starting’, ‘pathways’ and ‘am I awake now’; all without judgement, without iteration, to time and in the quiet of my mind.
I’ve reminded myself of long held values that have slipped along the way as well as reinforcing those that are still present daily. In my reflections I’ve unearthed nuggets of gold that I need time to mould into something beautiful and memorable. In essence I’ve found me. Although my three weeks has ended, my thirst for external prompts has only just begun. I’ve learnt that reflections on my day offers some comfort but being inspired by the reflections of others takes me to a new realm of insight and mystery.
So, my prompt for you today is ‘what is calling you?’