The Gifts of The R.E.S.T. Practice
In an age where so many are striving for inner peace and balance, The R.E.S.T. Practice engages anyone willing to try.
Since the start of the pandemic, I abandoned my meditation mat and turned (or rather re-turned) to creative journaling as my practice of choice. Over the last year I have been constantly amazed at the ways my journal has not only been a powerful gateway to the peace of my authentic self but has also been a vehicle for inner transformation.
And it appears that I am not on my own..scientific research conducted over the past two decades has found that creative journaling can offer a multitude of mental and emotional health benefits. Many eminent people of science have written lengthy papers on the ways creative journaling can:
Lower anxiety and decrease stress
Increase feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction
Level out turbulent emotions
Increase a sense of gratitude and optimism
Process difficult life situations and free up mental resources
Externalise experiences so they become available for mindful investigation.
Identify the root causes of our problems
Bring greater compassion to ourselves and others
Increase mental and physical wellbeing
Through my own experience of developing and using The R.E.S.T. Practice, I have uncovered four keys to why creativity and specifically The R.E.S.T. Practice is so powerful. I call these the gifts of The R.E.S.T. Practice.
The first gift of The R.E.S.T. Practice is that it Opens the doors of Recognition
As people, we are all beautiful. We’re also victims of our conditioned ways of thinking, feeling and acting and to grow and thrive we need to bring awareness to the conditioned ways we block access to our deepest self. Through the guided questions in the R.E.S.T. Practice Crib Sheet, you will get to RECOGNISE unknown aspects of yourself. Until you have awareness of your conditioned patterns of thinking, feeling and acting, you will constantly be held hostage by the wild imaginings of your thoughts and the unpredictability of your emotions. Through awareness comes relaxation, a letting be, a radical acceptance of who you are.
The second gift is that it Ignites the Fires of Exploration
Once you have brought awareness to what is going on in your life, the guided questions on the R.E.S.T. Practice Crib Sheet combined with creative techniques will ignite the fires of curiosity and exploration.
Creativity nurtures curiosity and with that comes the willingness, even the eagerness to EXPLORE your inner world. This eagerness to explore happens because when you create, your whole self is showing up for the moment.
When you are truly present, distractions minimise, and you become acutely aware of your feelings. In this space of self-exploration, you not only hang out with yourself for a little while, but you also feel the willingness to inquire into what is going on in your inner world. You can even invite strong emotions or unpleasant sensations to share with you what it is they want or need. The R.E.S.T. Practice invites your thoughts, emotions and habits to share the space that is you, with you. It not only welcomes your emotions and thoughts in, but it also invites them to sit around the table as long-lost friends and to share the stories they have to tell. This practice helps you heal what is old and neglected in your inner world.
The third gift is that The R.E.S.T. practice Strengthens your courage to Surrender.
To thrive and grow you need to stay with your feelings, no matter how challenging they might be. Your feelings themselves are not the issue, it is your resistance to your feelings. When you resist feeling bad feelings, you are resisting ALL feeling and stop yourself from experiencing your aliveness and a deeper sense of wellbeing.
Staying with your inner experience can be difficult because your natural reaction is to run from it. But when you are in the creative space, deeper aspects of you feel safe enough to emerge and show up. In this most intimate of spaces, you create an inner trust that you will always be taken care of. Because of this trust, you stop meddling, controlling and fixing your life and SURRENDER instead to the fullness of the present moment.
The final gift of The R.E.S.T. Practice is that it Enables connection with the Inner Peace of your True Self.
So much of our stress and suffering comes because we have lost connection with who we are at the deepest level. To thrive and grow you must re-connect with the life-giving force at the core of your being.
At this final stage, you get back to you, you listen with the intention of hearing the truth. In The R.E.S.T. Practice, you can finally hear the unique language of your true self and the messages it has for you and the life you are living.
Inner Peace does not come in a pill. Balancing life takes having an ongoing practice. Creative Art Journaling is an essential tool in finding and maintaining balance and inner peace in a multifaceted life.
This practice engages anyone willing to explore with an open mind. Following gentle questions, you are invited to explore what is going on for you in your life. This process utilises writing, drawing, collage and paint. Adding mindfulness, imagery, symbolism and art-making to the journal process engages both hemispheres of the brain. Creative Art Journaling is an opportunity to honour life wherever it leads and a chance to explore your choices and feelings.
This practice will always lead you somewhere meaningful, empowering, somewhere that casts light on where you have been and what you have experienced. This practice opens the doors within and leads you through your most challenging times and out to the other side. This is a journey that always moves you toward healing, wisdom, courage, peace and love.