By Christine Carron
Somewhere over fifteen years ago, I bought the book Writing the Mind Alive: The Proprioceptive Method for Finding Your Authentic Voice by Linda Trichter Metcalf and Tobin Simon. I found it in the gift shop of the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. I remember taking it off the bookshelf, holding it in my hands, and feeling a jolt of anticipation before I even read the back cover. A feeling like that meant there was no way I was walking out of that shop without that book.
The book did not disappoint. It is about a journaling technique that can be used by anyone to enhance well being and increase self-confidence. But for writers in particular (as noted on the official website), the technique returns you to the pleasures of pure process, reminding you why you wanted to write to begin with. Yes, please!
I have not used the technique consistently over the years, but whenever I re-integrate it into my morning routine, as I have done recently, I am again struck by how rich and calming the technique is. And how freeing.
The process involves unlined paper, a candle, music, and, of course, writing. But the writing is deepened by the questions woven into the process. Questions that invite reflection and slowing down. Questions that entrain inquiry and empathy.
I love the ritual of the process. I love the exploration it creates, a serious inner sleuthing. But most of all I love how when I finish a session, I feel like I’ve recollected myself. Reconnected to myself. It allows me to see where I am in flow and where I may be blocking my own progress.
One of my writing mentors, Patti Gauch, once said that some writers cannot get out of their own way. Can never transcend their emotional blocks. Which then hampers the freedom, the emotionality, the potency of their writing. For our writing to be free, we must be free.
Letting go of familiar ways of being (that protected us in the past) can be scary and discombobulating. And will likely take more time than we would wish. A journaling process like the Proprioceptive Method is a gentle tool that helps us move through the process of our own becoming with greater ease and grace. It allows us to meet ourselves (all of ourselves: the good, the beautiful, and the blocked) with curiosity, courage, and compassion. In short, it helps us set ourselves free.
The Goodjelly Prompt of the Week