We all have dark places inside of us. Just like cleaning your house, it is important to clean out your soul every now and then. Otherwise, things build up, and back up, and overflow. It isn’t about getting rid of your darkness, but observing it
One great way to study the dark places inside yourself is to journal. Julia Cameron talked about the idea of “morning pages” in her book “The Artist’s Way.” She says that you should write three pages every morning, without fail. Write about anything. Write about how much you hate to write. Write about what you see jumbled around you in your bedroom. Write about what you hope the day will be like. But just write, and write three pages. This exercise really shakes things loose and gets things started.
Writing a few pages every day is one of the most helpful ways to really dig into things. It is also a great way to see trends. If you are constantly writing that it is time to start that project, then you will notice that you need to put a little more energy into it. If you are constantly writing that your friend is always lying and stealing from you then it is time to find a new friend. Journaling is a good way to unwind and a great way to plan ahead. It is good for stress reduction and stress prevention.
Another way to work on problems is to doodle. “Praying in Color” by Sybil MacBeth introduces the idea that you can pray while drawing. You can learn a lot by praying. Praying is a way of understanding things in a deeper way. It is a way of getting outside of your own head and connecting with something a lot bigger. Praying is about digging deeper.
MacBeth says that you don’t have to be an artist at all to do this. You can take colored pencils or markers and just start making marks on the paper. There doesn’t have to be a plan for it. In fact, it is better if there is no plan. This isn’t about what you draw, but about what goes on in your head while you draw. The lines are not a map so much as the vehicle itself. Just think about the issue. Hold it in your head. And start drawing. Doodle around. Let the lines go where they will. Pick up another color if you feel like it. See where the lines and your thoughts go. If you notice that you are going off from the subject, gently draw yourself back. One helpful thing is to write the intention in the center of the page and doodle around it. Something will come to you that will help you.
Nothing solves itself instantly. This is more like water working on a stone. The problem has grown over the years due to inattention. It will take a while to dislodge. But the more you work on it, gently, consistently, the more it will get smaller and more manageable. It is worth the effort.