See a Picture of Your Inner Life

This activity is a favorite with my friends and clients: it’s fast, easy, fun–and it will show you something deeply true about yourself and what’s going on for you right now. Want to see a picture of your inner life? Just grab a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. You may want to share this with your friends–it is almost uncanny and always meaningful.

Find out how to do this fascinating activity here:

Many of us call this the “Blind Scribble” exercise. You’ll see why.

1. First, take a moment when you won’t be bothered or interrupted. Place a piece of paper on your lap or on the table in front of you and take your pen or pencil in hand.

2. Close your eyes. Give yourself a moment to deepen. Now begin to allow your arm and hand to move the pen on the paper–just letting your arm do what it wants to do, keeping your eyes closed. This is not about producing a picture. This is about exploring the feeling of the hand moving and the sound of the pen on the paper. Just let it all happen as your arm and hand want to move. Do you want to make short, choppy motions? Long, curvy, languid motions? Move the way you want to move.

3. When you have come to a place of closure, stop moving your hand. Allow yourself to pause and rest. Now open your eyes and observe the scribble you made on the paper. What does it remind you of? What shapes can you see in it? Look at it from all angles. Come up with a title for it.

4. Now think about what you saw in the scribble. What does it have to do with your life? When one friend tried this, she saw a woman rising up out of a teapot with a magic wand in her hand. She realized she took great comfort in her daily rituals–making and drinking tea being one of the most important–so she made sure to include time in her busy schedule for more of that. Another friend, longing to get out of a living situation that wasn’t right for her, saw a nest and realized this related to her desire to spend some time living at home with her parents until she could get herself sorted out. What does your scribble tell you?

5. You can keep a sort of Blind Scribble Diary. Just get a blank book and do the exercise in it once a day, or once a week, and see what patterns or progress you observe.

By Cait Johnson, author of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air (SkyLight Paths, 2003).