The very moment I open my eyes each morning, my thoughts start to flood into consciousness, each one competing for my awareness and my attention, like needy children. As soon as I start to tend to one thought, another comes up from behind, wanting to be seen and heard. “Pick me, pick me.” “Help me, help me.” Each seems to be crying out and whining at once and the din is deafening. It’s nearly impossible to hear any one thought, to focus, to concentrate.
My MindMosaic technique was born out the anxiety and stress caused by this daily early morning cacophony. Even journaling had become difficult for me because I no longer knew where to start. My worries and concerns had mounted and were difficult to sort through and think about. When I would start writing, my thoughts and ideas would, once again, vie for my attention, leaving me feeling paralyzed and unable to write freely.
When I came up with the idea of the MindMosaic, I did so because it would give me a template and permission to write about more than one topic in a single journaling session. And because my time is often so limited, the small spaces allotted to each topic would help me write all of that in a relatively short amount of time.
To begin, I visually divide a two-page spread into four quadrants. I then write a topic/heading in each quadrant. The first heading in the first quadrant goes in the upper left corner. The heading always goes at the top, flush to the center. I then turn my notebook counterclockwise and write next topic/heading flush on the top, flush left edge of what is the upper right quadrant. I then turn my book back clockwise and write the next topic/heading in the quadrant on the lower right. I turn my notebook clockwise and the write my final topic/heading in the lower left quadrant, flush to the left edge of the paper, so that the word ends near an invisible center dividing line. Once I’ve done this, I can visualize where my sections begin and end.
Where do I get my headings/topics? They are four of the many thoughts racing around in my head. I pick any four, not spending time trying to put them in any sort of hierarchical order.
I then began to write about my first thought/topic/idea. I write quickly, not allowing myself to self-edit or be concerned about how perfectly or imperfectly the ideas flow. If I should happen to lose focus or associative thinking takes me in another direction, I willingly go, without resistance. The whole idea of the MindMosaic is to release tension and free my mind, so I am very loose with my writing and rules. I complete the quadrants in the same order that I wrote the headings of the quadrant, turning my notebook so that the direction of my writing matches the direction of each heading. The turning of the page is very meditative and it also serves to completely draw my attention away from the section and topic I just completed. I figuratively and literally move on.
There is something very satisfying about moving through four topics quickly. Suddenly I feel lighter, as though a weight has been lifted. I can breathe. I can exhale. The MindMosaic is, in many ways, a written meditation.
There are different variations of the MindMosaic. Sometimes I don’t add all four topics before I begin to write. Instead, I add the each one based on what I’ve written in the previous section. This method was suggested by someone who was attending one of my workshops, so I call it the “Polise MindMosaic Method,” named after her.
Another favorite is the Ho’Oponopono MindMosiac. Ho’Oponopono is a Hawaiian Prayer or Meditation. It was taught to me by a friend. You might find the lines in a different order in some Internet searches, I’ve read that this is because it was passed down through oral tradition, so there are some variations. But it goes like this:
Please forgive me.
I love you.
Each of these four short sentences is used as a heading. Then, as you write on each section, do so with the same person in mind. The results are powerful. To ask for forgiveness right away, even if you feel another person has wronged you, is an incredible act of humility and it is liberating, even though doing so may sound counterintuitive. Taking responsibility for our feelings and circumstances is empowering. We often feel most burdened when we are not living up to our responsibilities.
Of all the journaling techniques I’ve taught over the years, the MindMosaic is a consistent favorite. It has helped me ease my own mind more times than I can count, and I’ve found it to be the most used writing tool in my writer’s toolbox, so it is with light and love, I give it to you.
Write and be well.