How to change your perspective fast: journaling from the top of the mountain.
More than any other landscape, the mountains shift our perspective. What we see and know at the bottom of the mountain is not what we see and know at the top.
–Mary Reynolds Thompson, Reclaiming the Wild Soul
Last month in the soulful journaling circle I offered a few journaling prompts that can help you change your perspective:
- At the top of the mountain what I see is…
- At the top of the mountain what I understand is…
- At the top of the mountain what I imagine is…
They’re the perfect journaling prompts for days when you need or want to change your perspective fast.
Those might be days when you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed and anxious. Or days when your mood takes a shift, towards sadness and not enoughness.
These prompts aren’t meant to minimize your feelings or make you feel like someone you’re not.
Instead, they can help you recognize that at your core you are whole and healthy. And that anxiety and depression are parts of you that exist among many other parts of you.
Essentially, you change your perspective by stepping into another part of you. And as you may know, standing in someone else’s experience is at the core of empathy. So when you write with these journal prompts you’re having a lived experience of self-empathy and self-compassion.
You also change your perspective with your imagination.
When you write about the mountain you unleash your imagination and its gift of healing. In a sense you become the mountain, you embody it and carry it within you. In those moments of writing you understand that you are the mountain. You are all of it.
So try this now: stand tall as if you are a mountain.
- Feel how anchored you are
- Feel the mountain presence in you
- Where is it located?
- What shape is it?
- How much space does it take up?
Now, when you’re ready, begin journaling. Let the mountain meld with your imagination and wisdom, let them take you where you need to go. You might start by asking: what do I see or understand or imagine up here that isn’t so obvious in the midst of my day-to-day life?
Or, you can read what I wrote in my journal for some inspiration. Grab a phrase or sentence and then go!
A page from my journal: At the top of the mountain I see…
There is light, space, vastness. Me among the vastness: small and light.
Floating in the expanse, letting go of the worry, the pace. Being here, here, here.
The mountaintop in me surrounded by light, air, clear vision. So little that I think matters truly matters up here. I stretch my arms out and it all falls away like leaves in autumn. The mountain breeze floats by me, by my leafy limbs, gently releasing the old leaves, dried, ready to float out in the vast expanse of air, light, wind.
There are currents up here that change your perspective.
They carry the birds on their journeys south and back again. A few days ago we looked out and saw a gaggle of geese winging their way across the ocean’s edge, where land meets sea.
And Dave said, “Look, they must be flying home now.”
I wondered about that, flying north again in February? Yes, of course. I looked around and the headlands were dotted with wildflower buds and the property with daffodils. Late winter in Northern California when apparently the time is right for blossoms to emerge and geese to fly home again.
And when I saw those geese I thought how grand it would be to soar above it all, to be released from the minute.
To know exactly what matters most: getting home. Going home.
Maybe that’s the gift of the mountaintop, that’s how you change your perspective. It’s the perspective of home beyond what we think of as home. Looking down it’s all so small, there is space between you and it.
And you have to let things go to get up the mountain, you have to lighten your load. You open your pack and release things, step by step, that you can no longer carry. That you no longer need.
You change your perspective by letting go.
And then at the top of the mountain it’s just the essential you. Unencumbered. Light. Above the tree line.
You are home.