The Longest Run-On Sentence

Woman and flying birds enjoying life in nature on sunset background

I’ll be honest and say that I am borrowing this exercise (with permission of course) from a past student. I have taken to calling it The Longest Run-on Sentence, although she usually refers to it as the And, And, And, Acceptance Exercise. I am sharing it with you because A) it is such a helpful exercise, B) I like you to have as many tools in your toolbox as possible, and C) she said I could.

 

After this student and I were talking one day about allowing space for more of her experience and practicing compassionate accepting awareness, she returned to our next session saying she had journaled in this way and that she had found it freeing and incredibly helpful. I have since witnessed her and others using it. It is a powerful exercise in acceptance, and clarity. It helps you get out of your head and into your heart.

 

Here is how it goes. Life has been coming at you pretty hard lately. You are feeling a whole lot of somethings and some of these things feel contradictory. Maybe you have so much running through your mind and heart that it is hard to know which thread to follow. Maybe you keep catching yourself saying one thing and then following it with a “but” and then saying another thing only to realize they are both true in their own ways. Or maybe part of you is believing something while another part of you is believing something else. You want something to do, something to help you sort out the tangle in your mind. So start where you are.

 

Follow these steps to write the Longest Run-on Sentence:

  1. Sit down with a journal (or you can do it in your head if that is more your style but there is something extra tasty about seeing it all on paper).
  2. You write something you are feeling, thinking, or believing
  3. Then you write “and”
  4. Then you write another thing you are feeling, thinking, or believing
  5. Then you write “and”
  6. Then you write another thing you are feeling, thinking, or believing
  7. Then you write “and”
  8. And on and on and on and on until
  9. You write “and that is where I am right now” (or something along those lines)
  10. You take everything that is written on that page into your heart space and you practice compassion for yourself in experiencing everything on that page. Imagine yourself in a life where there is room for it all.

 

What The Longest Run-On Sentence does is open up space for ALL of what you are experiencing inside. It lets you take it all out and look at it without getting attached to any one piece of it. Sometimes we see a shiny object of a thought or feeling and we go darting down a rabbit hole after it. And sure, there is a time and a place to follow a piece, AND when we are feeling overwhelmed, confused, conflicted, or shut off from pieces of ourselves it can feel liberating to give all of these things a little space. Life is complex, rarely (dare I say never) do we feel things in isolation. This exercise allows us to open to the complexity of our current moment. To not hide pieces that feel hard to look at.

 

The Longest Run-On Sentence gives each piece equal placement. It isn’t one thing or another thing, it is A and B and C and D and….X and Y and Z and maybe even AA and BB etc. It is a way to stop the infighting, a way to gain clarity. It is a way to be honest and vulnerable with yourself and to honor the complexity of your experience.

 

Sound too good to be true? Go ahead, give it a try and see for yourself!

 

Need an example of what it might look like? Or just want to know a little more about the inner workings of my own psyche? I’ve done a silly little example for you, which, as you will see, is not so silly.

 

I recently walked into a popular consignment store in the town where I live. It seems like a fairly benign activity yet I walked out feeling pretty terrible. I am using that experience to demonstrate what this exercise might look like.

 

I feel excited to check out this store because everyone talks about it all the time and I want to feel included in that experience and I feel out of place walking around in the store and I am not finding anything that I would want to wear and I am feeling self conscious about my style and I know it is style settling after my move back west from the east coast where the fashion choices are so different and I am not really sure how to best clothe myself right now and I don’t like the clothes in the store and I feel out of place even being in there and I feel really old walking around the aisles and I feel like everyone is looking at me and I want to play it cool and I want to get out of there ASAP and I am aware of how uncomfortable I am feeling in my post partem body and I want to love my body and honor it for what it has done in the last year and it is a new shape with different capabilities and I feel self conscious about that and I sometimes hate how I don’t fit into my clothes and how much my hips hurt and how nothing looks or feels the same as it used to and I am reminded of going into consignment stores on The Ave after college and how out of place I felt then too and I feel like maybe I have never been cool and that I don’t have a good sense of style because I never like the clothes then either even when I was the age of the people shopping in this store now and I want to be okay with my own style and I think I can generally dress in a way that feels comfortable and looks appropriate for my day’s activities and I am annoyed that I am feeling so self conscious and down on myself after walking into a store that just isn’t my vibe and that is how I am feeling about it all right now and I can love and accept myself in having these feelings.

 

It could obviously go on and on, and in a more complicated or emotional situation it likely would, but for the sake of example, it would look a little something like that.

 

P.S. I want to make sure you know that we are registering for our Taming the Bear class that starts January 26th, 2019. Find more information at www.the7tools.com/TamingTheBear

There is no better way to kick off the new year than with an opportunity to gather the tools you need to live the life your soul desires and that is what we teach you in Taming the Bear: Taking the bite out of stress!

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