A Week of Prompts for Stillness and Reflection

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Photo of Yosemite Valley, California. Copyright © Hayli Nicole, November 2019

Starting each day with a moment of gratitude has done so much for my mental health. It has allowed me to focus my energy and attention on what I do have, rather than being caught in a mindset of lack or fear. I’ve gone so far recently as to turn lack statements into gratitude statements to break negative thought cycles and patterns.

Reframing thoughts surrounding negative situations has improved my overall wellbeing as well as my relationships with others. When people ask how I can be so positive, it’s because I’ve consciously put in the effort to reframe my perspective. …

A Week of Prompts for Stillness and Reflection

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Photo of Petaluma, California. Copyright © Hayli Nicole, November 2019

After last night, I was feeling wildly inspired by Buddy Wakefield’s You’re Doing it Right and Poet Underground’s Fuck Isolation Virtual Open Mic. To see my creative communities rallying in unique ways and with so many heartfelt stories emerging despite the uncertainty, I want to honor and celebrate small interactions that made lasting impressions.

For today’s prompt, I would love to focus on the beauty of human connection. Physical and emotional distance can put a strain on our relationships. Especially in situations where complex emotions are heightened. …

A Week of Prompts for Stillness and Reflection

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Photo of Convict Lake, California. Copyright © Hayli Nicole, November 2019

I had a few questions about Monkey Mind Journaling so I wanted to take a second to expand. For those who have an inner dialogue or a constant chatter brain, this is what I’m referring to as the Monkey. It’s the [often negative] voice in our head that perpetuates negative thinking, distracts or blocks us from getting tasks done, shuts us down before we begin, or heightens our anxiety about a situation.

Monkey Mind Journaling isn’t meant to tame the monkey, rather releasing it into a space that no longer consumes or drains our mental energy. …

For Stillness and Reflection

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Photo of Mono Lake, California. Copyright © Hayli Nicole, November 2019

The goal this week is to set aside 10–20 minutes for stillness and reflection. Each day will lead with Gratitude and 5 Minute Monkey Mind Journaling (aka brain dump) followed by a short prompt with additional exploratory questions should you feel inspired to expand on your thoughts and feelings.

This practice is FOR YOU. No one else (unless you feel inclined to share). It’s an opportunity to step away from our phones and computers, sit with ourselves, and allow the anxiety, fear, frustration, and confusion to live somewhere other than your mind—in this case a blank page.

Once you’ve allowed what has been weighing on you to pour from you, you set it aside and start a blank page tomorrow. …

An Invitation to Explore

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This is admittedly one of the most confusing and frustrating times. It seems the entire world is on lockdown with borders shutting down every day. The onslaught of global news is creating a tangible heaviness. We’re consciously choosing isolation, yet find discomfort in being alone with ourselves. My friends began to express their fears and anxiety surfacing, so I wanted to extend an invitation to use this time for stillness and reflection. I’m not here to share opinions but instead offer a tool to help reduce stress, anxiety, and any other emotions surfacing over the coming weeks.

Starting today, and every day following, I will post a journaling prompt, but I ask everyone to do two things first:

  1. Write down three things you’re grateful for. …

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How a Pulmonary Embolism was the thing to change my trajectory (and other reflections on the seventh liferversary).

April 18, 2012

He kissed me goodbye that morning. Another 72-hour shift meant waking up alone in his bed. Except for a few hours later, I would wake up suffocating — as if an elephant took residency on my chest and had no intention of moving.

I called him between violent sobs and sharp pangs in my side.

“I can’t breathe.”

“I know you’re scared, but you need to stop crying. It will only make things worse.”

Explaining my symptoms as calmly as I could, he told me not to call the paramedics. “They won’t know how to treat you. Go straight to the ER and tell them you have chest pain. …

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Stock Image taken from Pixabay.

I did the thing I never thought I would do. I ended my love affair with Medium. It was a hard decision to make, but there was something necessary in the decision. Like a codependent relationship that had reached a level of toxicity, I needed a clean break. But there were several reasons for the decision.

A Writing Challenge That Broke Our Hearts

Last year, I poured my heart out to Medium, writing and sharing more than any other time in my life. I found an amazing community that pushed me as an author—something I’m eternally grateful for and has led to its own success beyond Medium. …

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Stock image from Pixabay.

Continuing the Forward Momentum

Like many of you, 2017 was my most productive year of writing.

I successfully completed the 52 Week Writing Challenge with The Writing Cooperative. I logged 53,000 words for this year’s NaNoWriMo. I sent over 100 postcards during our travels while living abroad in Ireland. I finally told our epic love story, realizing there’s so much more to share. And I became the content manager and lead copywriter for the stellar baby product review website The Nightlight.

In continuing this forward momentum and honing in on my voice and my niche, I’m setting the following goals for the New Year.

1. Write more Poetry.

It’s something that used to come so effortless to me, yet I lost sight of the practice I once loved. …

…taking a walk outside and observing the way the light reflects off the windows of the buildings in the neighborhood.

…enjoying a cup of tea or coffee at a local cafe and watching the world pass around you instead of dialing in to your phone.

…taking a break from social media and the never ending numbers game.

…lighting a few candles and reading a book of poetry.

…buying a bath bomb and soaking for twenty minutes. Scents and aromas can alter your mood for the better. Peppermint and lavender seem to be my scent triggers.

…any and every creative practice you love. Hand lettering, photo editing, painting. Create something. Anything. It makes a difference when we move beyond our mind and let our hands take the lead for a while. …

…staying in bed all day reading because it’s easier to get lost in someone else’s world of troubles than navigate your own.

…sleeping until noon and getting mad at the sky when it’s dark by four.

…having dozens of people you can call, but not doing it because you’re living the life of your dreams so how could you possibly feel sad or alone or unworthy?

…having an anxiety attack when someone gives you a compliment. “You have beautiful brown eyes.” If only he knew they’ve been drowing in tears all day.

…giving up on your home, on your responsibilities, and on yourself. …


Hayli Nicole

Published Travel Writer & Curator of Stories. Spoken Word Poet. Vagabond and Perpetual Traveller. I’m a bleeding heart with a deep penchant for the mundane.

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