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Following a Path Ahead — But to Where?

by Judy Stone-Goldman on August 20, 2015

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I was all set to write about my recent workshop, “Are You Caught in a Stress Loop?,” a recent event for clinical supervisors (in-house and field) with the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of Washington. I was going to thank attendees for their broad participation, their excellent brain functioning (!), and their open minds and hearts. I was going to say how my own mindfulness and acceptance skills were given a boost from the day. I was going to add in some bits about the brain and stress. But as I began writing, a different blog showed up.

The blog that took over the page is about transitions and change (recognize the theme?). It’s about the moment when you know something about what needs to happen. It’s about saying, “I’m ready to take some action, even if I don’t know all the answers for myself.” It’s about being moved to act despite fear and sadness.

The decision I’ve made is this: at the end of the year, I will be shutting down the Judy Stone-Goldman website and The Reflective Writer blog. I don’t know what, if anything, I will put in its place. I know only that I’ve changed, and I don’t have the same “fit” with the site.

For the “Stress Loop” workshop announcement, I had to submit a short bio. I reviewed bios I’d written from 2011 to 2014 and thought, “These are nice bios, but they aren’t right any more.” I had to write a new bio — not just update the old one with a few extra words — to create something that felt current.

That’s the reaction I have to my website. It’s a good website, but the shape and emphasis don’t feel like my current self. I don’t want to just fiddle with it, cajole it, tweak it. I want to step back and ask, “What do I want to create? What is true to who I am now? What is my purpose? Do I even want a website?” As scary as a blank canvas is, it is the right canvas for me now.

I came to understand all this in the week after the workshop. That might sound like a reaction to an unsuccessful or unsatisfying event, but the opposite is true. The day was a big success. The part of me that longs to create and connect was deeply satisfied. I knew (and felt proud that) I was brave in the workshop, trying activities that could easily fail, and I saw it was now time to be brave in other creative efforts.

A moment of emotional insight is so different than the back-and-forth struggles of an unsure, debating mind. It is heart and mind together — the limbic and prefrontal cortex connected and communicating — and it offers the gifts of calm and assuredness.

I will continue to post blogs for the next few months, because one thing that doesn’t change is my need to write. And even as I write about an ending coming, I am imagining beginnings. That alone is worth writing about.

Are you coming to any transitions in your life? How will you know what to do?

Questions for Reflection: Have you had experiences of suddenly knowing an important “next step” in your life? What is the difference between mentally figuring something out and having emotional insight? Are there any transitions in your life now that await decisions or actions?

Writing Prompts: “When it comes to making a change, I typically figure out what to do by _____” (then keep writing); “I can tell I’m stuck in a debate in my mind when I _____” (then keep writing); “One time when I had deep emotional insight was _____” (then keep writing); “As I read about Judy deciding upon a change, I realize for myself _____” (then keep writing).

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Ruby W. Keys August 31, 2015 at 1:05 pm

“When it comes to making a change, I typically figure out what to do by _____” (then keep writing); “I can tell I’m stuck in a debate in my mind when I _____” (then keep writing); “One time when I had deep emotional insight was _____” (then keep writing); “As I read about Judy deciding upon a change, I realize for myself _____” (then keep writing).
Thank you!!! Written and give me useful information

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