... Even the worst heartaches can become heartstrings to God's hope, comfort, encouragement, joy, peace and love...

Welcome! As a fan of the cartoon character Maxine, I enjoy her witty remarks. But when I
read my blogs & other writing to her, she's not very responsive- even when I'm wearing my bunny slippers like hers! She just doesn't get it!
Although she's funnier than I am, I do pray that this site will bring encouragement to your day! I'd love to hear from you! Unlike Maxine, you can leave me a message via the Comments. Shalom, Connie


Friday, September 29, 2006

Journal Solving

With gray hair, hopefully, comes some wisdom from lessons learned over the years.
One biggy is- drumroll, please- you can not solve a problem until you know what the problem is.
Too often, we think we know; but mostly we are just reacting to the emotions of a situation.

As a Director of Nursing, I was always being approached with problems. The simple fact was that I could not satisfy 100+ patients and all their families and friends, my staff of nearly 100, my boss and the physicians, the state inspectors, and whoever else appeared at my door.

I hung a compliant form on my door- it measured 1/2 inch square; the size of my thumbnail. I actually received a few written in very tiny letters, but mostly people laughed. I had a brief reprieve.

As the complaints increased, I posted that all problems must be written out in no less than 500 words. Again, I had a short break.

Finally, I taught classes on problem-solving to all staff and to all of our patients, who wanted to attend. Once the classes were over, issues were to be accompanied by possible solutions. The knocks on my door decreased greatly; and we got good at fixing things before they became a crisis.

You can use your journal to accomplish the same thing in your life. You will find that it is contagious as others will want to be less stressed, more relaxed and have more time- just like you.

So what is your problem today?

#1 write it down then apply the 4 W's: what, where, who, and why. Until you figure out the real problem, you cannot solve it. Remember my clothes hamper story? (See my August 31st posting.) I was wasting time and energy being angry because my son's dirty clothes were on the floor next to the hamper- that's the what and the where. I was the who, although, at first, I thought it was my son. The why wasn't as easy. You see, I was not upset about picking up the clothes or even that they were on the floor; it was that they were beside the hamper. If you can throw them right beside the hamper, you should be able to throw them INside the hamper. My aha moment- it was his lack of logic that upset me.

I know, it was a dumb little thing; but so often the issues that grieve us, begin as small irritations. Identifying them early avoids them festering and becoming deadly.

Step two, once you are sure that you have identified the issue, write down every possible- even the impossible- ways to solve the problem. Be crazy. Some of the seemingly dumb responses can trigger a wonderful solution. Done? Step three, cross off all those impossible, improbable solutions to narrow down your options. Step four, make a choice. Step five, implement that choice. Step six, after trying it for a fair amount of time, evaluate its effectiveness.

With a journal, you can go back, if needed, to come up with an alternative without starting over.
Journaling also allows you to safely vent your feelings- you cannot hurt yourself or anyone else when you write privately. Consider, the only person you can change is yourself. And when you add prayer (#7) to the process, you open the way for new ideas, new directions, new understanding.

The process works for one or for many. It is simple enough for a three year old. (That's another story.) Yet, complex enough to handle whatever you're facing.

The side benefits of throwing that hamper away were learning that I had to think out of the box in order to raise my creative child- without stifling his creativity- and I learned to see the world through his eyes. Both have enriched my life.

Journaling can be a place for safe expression, for keeping memories, for problem-solving, and tomorrow, we'll talk about healing.


Shalom, Connie

Friday prayer focus is family and friends.

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