Writing About Challenge



Spend time getting more and more familiar with your challenges and your suffering. This is what you are actually doing in these courses, so really— take your time, you have forever to be yourself. (And why waste time trying to be anybody else?) These courses and practices are all designed  to get you to SLOW DOWN, PAUSE, lengthen the pause, LOOK & LISTEN to LEARN– to know yourself for wisdom and wellness. So, take some more time after you complete the Challenge Audit and write about your challenges and the notion of suffering.

“FREE” WRITING (a.k.a a process of liberation!)

Writers often say that they don’t have their stories completed in their mind before they write– usually the story unfolds as they write. This is the creative process, and all humans are creative and can constructively solve problems by engaging in writing about them! Perhaps your “story” about challenge will unfold– all you have to do is start writing.

Continue to identify, reflect on, and write about the fears, problems, and other challenges in your life. Feel free to use the journal prompts below, but you don’t have to. Perhaps they “prompt” you to free write, perhaps you remain super-focused on answering them–– whatever you think. Please remember, this is your self-study! Try to be flexible and open, curious, and playful about identifying, clarifying and understanding your challenges and how you relate to them.

You may discover that what you thought was a challenge really is not. Maybe you discover that you were trying to solve a challenge that was ill-defined, thus you have been chasing your tail a bit. A lot of times people come to psychotherapy wanting to deal with one specific challenge and as soon as they delve into that challenge, they realize they had some inaccurate appraisals or they uncover an underlying challenge. A client’s commitment to showing up to pay more close attention to their challenges is a massive first step in healing!!  You are doing that here, so good for you, LITERALLY!!

Writing Prompts (Take or Toss them!)

Write to define your challenges clearly, so that you can create a plan to grapple with them.
Write about your “why” for problem-solving and staying with your challenges.
Also, write about getting comfortable with discomfort.
Use writing as a tool for brainstorming possible solutions to problems and for specifically defining your challenges and your mindset in relation to challenges.
Write about your feelings related to your challenges; write about fear and various possibilities for dealing with your fear.

Write about your human limits and limitations.
Write about loss, discomfort, pain, and suffering.
What is your definition of pain?
What is your definition of discomfort?
What is your definition of fear?

Describe your relationship to pain, discomfort, and fear. Do you notice patterns of thinking or behaving in relationship to each of these forms of challenge?
What are your habits developed around pain, discomfort, and fear?
How might you learn to become more comfortable with discomfort?
What would you be willing to suffer for? Why?
How might you learn to become more courageous and resilient? What do these terms mean?
How might you take healthy risks, embrace failure, or learn through trying and failing in your life?
List benefits of pain, suffering, risk taking, and failure.
What are the downsides of excessive comfort?
Why might it be a bad idea to only be comfortable and happy?
What is resilience or psychological flexibility?

How is persistence related to your values, or what you think matters most?
How much does your attitude or mindset toward challenge matter in terms of coping with it?
In what small and large ways could you build newer, better habits of courage rather than reactivity and fear?
How can pain possibly be your greatest teacher?
Why might it be beneficial for you to open yourself up to all experiences, even if some of them make you feel especially vulnerable, at risk for injury or illness, or uncomfortable or worried?
Does learning make you afraid? Is learning a challenge for you? If so, how? Why? In what specific ways are you scared or uncomfortable when learning?
How can you learn to stay in an uncomfortable or scary place of mystery, unknowing, or ambiguity so that you can learn?
Why do you think that telling and living the truth is hard, yet we are told that it sets a person free?

Are you busying yourself with things to avoid your fear, responsibilities, or difficulties and challenges that you know you should be doing?
What is resistance or push-back? What does that feel like in your body? Sit with resistance and then try to describe it in writing.
Do the things that you resist (out of fear or because they are a challenge) continue to persist?
Do you see any patterns to your resistance to life experience due to fear or uncomfortable challenge?
How might you build courage?
How might you learn to accept of ‘what is’ or ‘what happens’ without pushing it away, running away, or distracting yourself to avoid pain and suffering?
What are you running towards?
What are you running away from?

Are there situations where you find yourself frozen with fear? Write about them as thoroughly and as honestly as you possibly can. What happens after you unfreeze?
What can you learn about yourself from studying your fears?
What are your most persistent challenges or problems? Do you enjoy grappling with them or fear or hate them? Explain.
In what specific ways might you cause your own suffering?
How might you get better at lessening your own suffering, if you cannot completely prevent or eliminate it?
Do you take responsibility for your own discomfort, resistance, or pain, or do you focus on blaming others or fate?Evaluate your self-talk. How do you talk to yourself? Observe it and record it for two or three days or so. What did you learn?
How can you learn to identify and then let go of outdated stories you tell yourself about yourself that make you sick and weak rather than healthy and vital and strong?
How can you learn to identify and then let go of habits that make you sick and weak rather than healthy, vital, and strong?

Are you afraid to change? Are you afraid to let parts of you die off so new parts can grow? Write about this.
Do you struggle to be honest with yourself about yourself?
Do you struggle to be honest with other people?
Is it uncomfortable to express who you are? If so, why? If not, why not?
Do you struggle to make sacrifices or delay gratification in order to do what’s truly good for you?
Which of your life challenges and problems are due to lying or untruth?
Do you ever try to train yourself to wait, pause, and show restraint before choosing or taking action? is it hard to do this or easy for you?

Is boredom a common problem in your life?
How do you define boredom?
Do you talk about being bored often?
Addiction is a problem for many people; what are you addicted to?
What is procrastination, and why do many people call themselves procrastinators?
Is fear at the root of procrastination? Why or why not?
What is distraction? Why is it negative? Why or how might it be positive?
What are the distractions in your life that don’t serve you or promote your personal health and wellness?
What are the distractions in your life that DO serve you or promote your better health and wellness?


%d bloggers like this: