Hidden treasure in your words


You already possess what you need to be happy. Heard that one

before? Don’t believe it? Well, you had better believe it!

Once again, someone asked what does a “coach” like me do. One of


the key things is to use the tools at my disposal to help clients to

find the resolutions they seek. One of these tools is journal


Many people come to me saying, “I just want to be happy. How can I


be happy?”

When told that they already know the answer to this question, most

will deny their knowledge. But each individual has the answers to

this and many other of their own questions. These answers lie

somewhere beneath the surface of our daily lives. Accessing them is

where many of us stumble.

Journaling is one of the paths to these “secrets” we keep from

ourselves; it is one of the very best ways to get in touch with the


heart’s “hidden treasures.”

Having written daily in a journal for many years now, I find it

hard to remember that other person --the one who resisted putting

secret thoughts and inner feelings on paper. Most of my clients bring

it all back to me when they are asked to journal.

Often, it is hard to trust that what we care about really matters.

We seem out of step with what we observe happening in the world

around us. This is a good time to start writing. It is a good time to


put pen to paper and set down on the page everything -- what we see,

what we feel, what we hear. Writing all this down can be a way of

defining ourselves, of finding a light at the end of a tunnel.

Write fast. Write first thing in the morning, if you can, before

the critical voices of the day can begin. Write in colors, shapes,

sounds and smells.

Write what comes to you, whatever it is, whether it makes sense or

not. Keep at it. Write what you care about. Ask yourself the

question, “What remains unexpressed?”

Write what frightens you. Write what makes you feel guilty --

jealousy, envy or greed. Write about what makes you angry. Write of

the things that you love. Write it even if it’s silly. Write it when

it makes you tremble inside. This is where to begin. This is journal


Just keep writing. Listen to all of the voices you hear in your

writing. They may be critical or judgmental. They may or may not be

consistent. Do not be afraid of their inconsistency. The ideas will

sort themselves out.

We are all made of so many different parts of ourselves. Each part

will, of course, have its own voice. Be honest. Be detailed. Go for

the jugular. If you can expose it to yourself and face it, you no

longer need fear any outside critiques.

When you first start, write for at least 20 minutes. You can set a

timer for this. Don’t stop writing once you start.

If you can’t think of anything to write, do like your old

grade-school lessons and write the same thing repeatedly. If it is a

question, write the question over and over. Perhaps “What will I

write?” or “What matters to me?” Even the statement “I can’t think of

a thing to write” will do. Write simply to get to the bottom of the

page ... and then, begin another and do the same.

Free yourself to write your own truth in whatever way that you

can. Writing is a doorway to finding a clear, strong sense of self.

Go further. Free-associate. Write nonsense. Let who you are and

what you are about just bubble up to the surface as you write of the

life you are living inside. Make lists. List things that you care

about. List things you don’t care about at all.

Use the page. Play with it. Write with your nondominant hand.

Write on an angle. Use pages without any lines. Write in a circle on

the page. Fold the page and write in each square or triangle formed.

None of what I am saying is new. It has oft been repeated and, I

think, should be again.

It may be difficult to begin the practice of journal writing. It

may be even more difficult to continue. I promise you the rewards are

well worth whatever it takes to make yourself do it. Unlock the

potential inside!

* CHERRIL DOTY is a creative living coach, writer, artist and

walker who lives and works in Laguna Beach. Contact her by e-mail at or by phone at 251-3883. Your thoughts and

questions are appreciated.