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Reflections: The Power of Writing

Student Writing
Pictured: Student Writing Notes During #LIAC19

There is something powerful in stopping all of a sudden and reflecting on the here and now. Even before the pandemic altered the course of this year, there was a sense of chaos, noise, and constant moving happening all the time. Now, with the pandemic still very much happening, protests calling for justice for Black lives, and breaking news every time we refresh our timelines, it really does seem like there is a sense of constant moving happening all the time. And what we don’t often think about is that just because we may feel overwhelmed by the constant change and moving of the world, the world will not stop. For us to truly “stop” amid the constant change and noise, we must commit to taking a breath and pausing. When we say pausing, we mean pause the scrolling on your timeline, pause the nonstop texts and group chats, pause the need to know what is happening all the time, pause everything for a few minutes.

There is power in pausing. Think about it, when is the last time you simply hit pause on what you were doing and went outside, or opened your window, and allowed yourself some time to simply be still in the moment? Hopefully, you’ve taken the opportunities to do that but if not, take a moment right now to just stare at the clouds, pause the internal and outer noise, and enjoy being still for a moment. Don’t worry - the blog will still be here when you come back.

Here’s where we take this idea of “pausing” even further with the power of writing. We believe that pausing is a great start to refocus, refresh, and re-energize, but we know that pausing sometimes isn’t enough. Our thoughts can go in many directions and the noise may start back up all of a sudden. So, we challenge you to then move from simply pausing to also pausing and then writing. For those who have never intentionally taken time to pause, reflect, and write, we've provided a few helpful strategies and tips:

  1. Lollipop Moments: Drew Dudley’s TED Talk: Everyday Leadership challenges the notion of leadership being focused on titles and these “world-changing” leaders, but instead of leadership is focused on small moments throughout our days. Dudley challenges us to start with a more fundamental concept of leadership and simply be kind and seek to do something for others, also known as lollipop moments. Simultaneously, he asks that we take the time to appreciate these lollipop moments when others do it to us by reflecting and even vocalizing our appreciation to acknowledge others and inspire leaders. So, take some time and write down for who you are appreciative of and what people appreciate about you. These are small but powerful moments to write about. Check the TED Talk here for some inspiration.
  2. Glows and Grows: A simple but powerful concept, Glows refers to writing down the times wherein your daily life you felt a sense of positive transformation or as we often hear, where you can identify a “glow up” that happened in your day, week, month, etc. Marianne Williamson’s poem, “Our Deepest Fear” states that “Your playing small / Does not serve the world / There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking / So that other people won’t feel insecure around you,” and we firmly believe that writing about your “glows” is powerful for you and the world. The concept of Grows is focused on writing about those times when growth is needed when things didn’t quite work out but it’s an opportunity for learning. Grows often feel harder to write about, but like any good stretch, it takes a bit of work to reach what you want and it allows you to reflect on what you need to get there.
  3. Where Am I Today? This one challenges you to truly pause and reflect on your inner noise. This strategy is to write a simple statement that can jumpstart a reflection you weren't aware you needed. Write down where you truly are when you pause to reflect, specifically, where are you today regarding your mind and body. Are you focused and energized? Are you bored and exhausted? Are you confused and tense? Focus on your headspace - what are you feeling in your mind? Now turn that focus to your body. Focus on your heartbeat, your breathing, your legs, hands, face, etc. What is your body feeling? Write the feelings down and don’t worry if they don’t seem to “match up” because this isn’t trying to match both areas. It’s a simple practice of pausing, writing, and reflecting on where you are today.

If you aren’t confident in writing, take baby steps to get there. Set simple reminders, write down your favorite quote on a sticky note, you can even write “blehhh” on a random piece of paper. We often keep so much in our heads that it becomes noisy to the point that we are unable to focus. You’ve been writing for a while now -every text and every message you send is you taking time to write your thoughts down. The difference here is that instead of all of those thoughts being written down for a quick response, you’re now writing your thoughts with a focus on pausing and reflecting on yourself.

We've been able to find moments of peace and balance when utilizing the power of the pause and of writing, and hope to hear how these reflective strategies support your wellbeing, growth and leadership.