Writing outdoors

“I do a lot of my journaling inside but I have found that when I link writing to an outside experience – going to the park, walking an outdoor labyrinth, even sitting on my own porch – it adds a level of sensory input that isn’t there when I am writing indoors, even with the window open”.

Deborah Ross, in “Your Brain on Ink”, p.97

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Rewriting the stories of triumph again and again

“The logs to stoke the fire are added each time I remember and write the cheesecake story, which I’ve done dozens of times, always with intention and attention. I observe myself in the telling, always asking: “What does this story teach me today?” Each time I feel the familiar wash of emotion: exhilaration, celebration, success, joy, connection, the thrill of risk, community. Each time it is inseparable from the cheesecake: I feel the creamy texture against the roof of my mouth, I taste the buttery crumb crust, I inhale the rich aroma of coffee in a thick blue mug”.

Kathleen Adams, in “Your Brain on Ink”, pp.94-95

Pairing of writing with a scent

the sense of smell is one of the fastest and most reliable ways to get the brain to wake up and take note. Therefore, we’ll pair a scent with many of our writes directed at positive change.

(p. 81).

Choose a scent that has a personal significance to you and that you associate with one or more qualities you value (e.g. well-being, contentment, love). Start in your kitchen (herbs, spices, extracts, citrus) or bath (soaps, shampoos, lotions, cosmetics, candles) or in nature (beach, rain, forest, garden). Choose a scent that you can use over the next several processes, one that is actually available to you (e.g., a lemon, a bag of herbs, a spice bottle, an essential oil, a cologne). For this series you will need to have the scent with you as you recall and write, not just the memory of it, although later you can use the memory of a scent if the actual scent isn’t accessible.

(pp. 81-82).

Inhale your scent as you notice the moment you wish to capture, allow it to help you set the intention for recall, catch whiffs while you write. Most importantly, use it to help you write your reflection. Notice what happens when scent is added to recall and writing.

(p. 82).

You’re going to write about a time you want to savor more fully, celebrate more completely, acknowledge more deeply, or pause to preserve—a moment that represents something of value to you. It may or may not be evoked by the scent you’ve chosen; they’re actually independent variables, but if they overlap, that’s fine. When you’re done, read and reflect.

(p. 82).

From “Your Brain on Ink”