Hannah Hepworth of Anxiety Revolution interviewed Mari L. McCarthy about her new book "Heal Your Self With Journaling Power" and her life journey.
Here is the podcast transcript:
Hannah Hepworth: Welcome everybody to the anxiety revolution. Today we have the pleasure of talking to Mary L. McCarthy who is the founder and chief empowerment officer of create right now.com she mentors health conscious people and using therapeutic journaling to heal and to grow and transform their lives. She's off there at the international bestselling award winning books, journaling power, how to create the happy, healthy life you want to live and it will be published in her neck journaling power book. Heal yourself with journaling power in June, 2019 she's also created 20 plus life tunes, engine journaling workbooks including heal your life, love your body and detox your relationships. Welcome Mary. I'm so excited to be talking to you about journaling today. Thank you for joining us.
Mari: Well thank you so much for having me.
Hannah Hepworth: Great to meet you too. So first off, I always love to hear how people get to where they are now. So could you tell us a little bit about your story and how you got started with journaling?
Mari: Certainly, it was about 27 years ago. And I was just thinking about that today. Prior Century, cause we're now in the 21st century.
Hannah Hepworth: Yeah. Wow.
Mari: For that previous century woot. That's really interesting. And I had a had a, an an MSC in multiple sclerosis exacerbation, uh, where I lost feeling on the right side of my body. And I had mostly most of my other experiences with Ms. Uh, no, I, I, I'd have symptom flare up or exacerbation or episode, whatever, you know, the medical term, uh, and thanks with no normally subside. And for the six weeks I just had this feeling that, mmm, you know, I have this feeling, this is something, um, more serious and excuse me longer, uh, along the lines. Dot. That aisle. And I was, at that point, I was running my own, uh, management consulting business. And of course, being a hardened business woman, I needed to have a seizure to teach myself how to write with my left hand, you know, like, right. Like yesterday. Uh, and, uh, I was, uh, talking to, uh, to someone, uh, and two is telling me about her, your sister who was a, an author and said that she, she swore by morning pages, which is, um, a procedure, a, um, a method phone that was a Julia Cameron who wrote the artist's way.
Mari: MMM. Came up with, and every day I sat down and did three stream of consciousness, uh, pages of whatever you just wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote. It was very interesting because I started, no, I thought this is really interesting. And it became, uh, easy, probably within a couple of weeks, become led, you believe lefthanded and in the process. Wow. And I was like amazing. In the process of doing these three pages, uh, you know, just spewing out on the page of, of whatever was crying, you know, crossing your mind or heart and soul and all that kind of stuff. It's just like all these things started. I started rhyme, started coming up, I started writing poetry. I never, hello poetry before. MMM. [inaudible] and then I, and what was the most fantastic thing is like all these memories from my childhood came out and it's just like wow.
Mari: Deeper and deeper and deeper into am I my childhood and my, my body, my soul, my thoughts and all that type of thing. And I remembered that I always was left handed and the nuns changed me. Wow. So it sounds like, and I thought this, this journaling Stouffer's is really cool. Wow. It does. And that's why I decided that, you know, uh, in the, in the process, oh my gosh, I have to share this with the world. And that's how I set up my company create right now because it was just like unbelievable what you have, what you can get out of of yourself, uh, by just putting the pen to the, uh, page everyday. So that's my story. Yeah,
Hannah Hepworth: that is amazing. That is so cool. So it's like, it access your subconscious
Mari: or just different things you had forgotten. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And then another thing that came up too was I, I've always loved music and I always, uh, oh, wanted to be a singer. And let you know, learn how to be a singer. And one of the things I remember was like, or fifth grade, I tried out for the, uh, you know, the, the choral group. And, uh, the music director, uh, told me that he didn't want to make because I was tone deaf. So it was just like [inaudible] Oh my God. And, and there's like an unbelievable experience base. It was almost like I was really a time traveling whenever I can, I can read. I felt, I felt like literally I was there and it was like, I'll remember everything. Know, it's like, oh my God, men. And to realize, Oh man, I've been carrying around all that stuff inside me.
Mari: So what I, I did was I decided that yes, I was going to take singing lessons and learn how to become a, the singer. And like within a month, there was a, a story in my local newspaper that there was a, um, a Muessel school, like a couple towns over from me, the catered to, uh, students of all who want to, you know, who wanted to learn an instrument or sing or get our get into any yeah. A type of musical experience. And I got that and I [inaudible] received that and I've been taking singing lessons for well about 15 years now. And, um, uh, now I'm at the point I'm writing. Uh, I'm a songwriter and I'm now writing my first album.
Hannah Hepworth: So amazing. So amazing. So do you think that you would have discovered that interest had you not been journaling and access that memory from so long ago?
Mari: Oh, I, I never, I don't think I ever would have. I, I just think there was so much stuff. Yup. Pushed down and yeah, that's, you know, because as you know, when we're children, we just suck in everything. And I just think even well intentioned nuns and parents and all that kind of stuff, no, we were so much taught that, oh, stuff it down. Does this, you know, I was the oldest of four children and my mother, I was born I think 51. So, you know, in the fifties the, the pressure was on because my mother got married later. She was so in, you know. Right. Sure. It was on all yet. Have your kids before or your, cause if you have kids after 40, and you gotta be, they'd have a and mental problems and all that kind of stuff. Uh Huh. I was really like, uh, uh, even more so than Mommy's little helper was, uh, like the, the third parent and helping with my brothers and uh, and sister and all that type of thing. Uh, I just think I just really, I was always treated as an adult, so I think I just really never had a childhood to experience a whole lot of these things. I think I just really just set them all down and it's just the being very, uh, people find this hard to believe a shy and quiet, you know, I just really suck. Just sucked it all in. Was just like a good little Catholic girl and did whatever. I said all that so too, oh, I'm sorry. I long way around to answer your question.
Mari: That's why to me it's just so amazing that I had to share it with the world because it's just like access everything that I'm, I mean, I had no, no clue. It's just like an eye. I now understand and know who really lives in my body and I really embrace my, my talents and my creativity, my elegance, my beauty, whatever. And it's just like, oh my goodness. I just, I sit here continually reveling in the fact this like, oh my goodness. Just dealing with getting out and I'm processing and dealing with all of the, as I say so many times the issues in our tissues, it's like, oh my gosh, an, it's not like with journaling, you're not going back to, you know, relive it. You know, you're, you're, you're going back as, as an adult, as a, as a reporter, as an observer, and you're able to take, take a look at and what happened and oh, that's what happened and this, and, and understand how as a a child you interpret things at a certain way and it's like, oh my goodness. Uh, and just like I said, we just stop everything and just suck it in. We're just said, someone says we're human, we're sponges as his children. So
Hannah Hepworth: yeah. Okay. So a couple questions popped up as you were saying all of this, but I'm gonna wait and say and ask them a little bit later because I want to first get into having you explain like what exactly is therapeutic journaling or what you call it, journaling for the health of it, which I think is cute phrase. I love that. So what is journaling? Like how does one, what does it look like?
Mari: It is daily self care, self healing. Mm. What the pin to the page in whatever a variety works for you. And we're all different. So we've, you want to do it in the morning? You want to do it in the evening, you want to do it on the train, into Boston of what, you know, whatever. And that's what I say, there's only one right way to journal. And that's your way. So it again, and that's what's so exciting is that you get into your feelings, what do you feel like doing as opposed to this is what I should do, that type of thing. So it's, it's, it's really a true mmm, new, uh, journaling practice. He's a bad practice, self care, self healing practice that just like that we spend every day time, uh, connecting and staying connected and reconnecting with ourselves and, and getting ourselves rounded. And we build that into every single a day so that we, and we can get to the point or we're telling ourselves, mind bodies so that it's a meat. We are at a me first, a me first situation. It's just like ourselves first with it. Again, very different because that was not the way, you know, we were taught and trained and yeah, I was like, you know, say save the world and everything. It's like, yeah. Oh spending time, just spending time with ourselves as like, oh, that's so selfish, that type of thing.
Hannah Hepworth: That's right.
Mari: Journaling is, uh, truly a holistic healing, a self practice of self care practice that keeps us connected to our true self on a daily basis, uh, and keeps us and helps us to live our life from the inside out as opposed to a reaction to everything that's going on in the outside world.
Hannah Hepworth: I love that. I love to eat, explain it or describe it. Practice of self care. And I grew up journaling like my mom, as soon as I was eight years old, she bought me a journal and she wanted me to journal like every Sunday. And so, but I would just write about the week, what friend I played with, you know, like, mmm. You know, just documenting life, you know. And so only recently I've kind of come back to it and that, okay, you're like, I need to be journaling. And I been trying to just open my journal and just right. Not necessarily about what has been happening, but just what comes to mind. I think that's similar to what you're talking about and it's different because you're like, I feel like I need to right about something specific. But it's interesting what comes out when you just let yourself pause for a minute, you know?
Mari: Oh, definitely. And where, where you are at that, at that point in your head, in your life. Just like again, we've just been so, uh, ingrained with, uh, the left brain and do this and duty and responsibility at all. It's, it's really a brand new experience, uh, spending time, spending quality time with ourselves, you know, and it's just like, again, I get and the our heads and our inner critic, whatever you want to call it, it's, uh, that's why it is. I'll be very honest. His, it's truly scary because it's something that we've never done and we have so much are the other thoughts and memories and experiences. And like you say, our subconscious is school of everything. So it says what we have a whole lot of things going against us because of all the years that we've been working in, you know, one certain behavior mode and putting the rest of the world first.
Mari: But now this is something completely different going inside. And that's scary because know we think that we're, we're not this. And we remember the, you know, the, the teacher that, you know, with all the reds, red lines, everything like that. Nick and the, and writing is as really a challenging a situation too because we all in some way, shape or form as challenging experiences as, as children about writing. There's just something about, I have this, uh, uh, saying that, uh, the strongest love, strongest feeling is not to love or hate, is to change someone else's copy. And it says like, I just think there was something about, you know, the whole writing thing because of, uh, teachers or Paris or you know, where, where they were coming from. They just put on. So I always say additional stress and strain on us because they were coming from where they were and that's how they were taught to write and all that type of thing.
Mari: So there are all kinds of challenging, um, situations that work we're carrying around. So that's why it's the biggest, uh, issue with, uh, journaling is the fear factor because of a where does, uh, I've had an effect that was interesting. I started writing poetry. I, I wrote, I wrote a, a poem composed, I know not of, but I'll get to it. A stripe beginnings, not the hardest part is the joy I dreads inside because I think it's all really all backwards because I think we're, you know, hardwired for mmm. Uh, negativity, your fight or flight and all that type of thing is the whole thing of, you know, embracing, uh, you know, joy and happiness and certainly, I mean, inside of us. Is that possible? You know, that's how they, you said it's a very interesting experience.
Hannah Hepworth: Yeah. Well, and I think it's so needed to have something that we do that forces us to just hit the pause button during the day because it's so easy. I mean, I know for me, like by the end of the day, my body is just buzzing from running from one thing to the next and the radio's on and you're listening to a podcast and the kids are talking and there's just noise and stimulation all day long. So to sit and just make time for yourself, you know, just a little bit of journaling. I feel like it feels so foreign, but it's so relaxing and therapeutic when I actually do make time for it. So,
Mari: oh, it is very, very scary. But just like you're doing this for your, for yourself and your, uh, your mind and your body and soul and you're right. And this just like, do you get to the page and you just dump and just, Oh yeah. Just the relief and helping you, you know, uh, reorganize and relax and just, you know, ah, okay, fine. That's good. Into like, okay, breathe a little bit that we can get, get back into the the thing and it as you can, uh, say from your experience, there's, so something that had happens when you put the pins, the page consistently, you know, daily and uh, it just, you know, you might have a having a problem with something you want to process and you just, you dump on the page and all that kind of stuff. When, uh, just put it out there and you know, you'll be taking a shower, you'll be cooking dinner and oh, that's what the answer is. Or that is it something that is, it somehow gets into your, your, your mind and your brain and just really helps you, helps your, your thinking is like, oh, and really just as I say so many times, uh, clears out the clutter and uh, it was a, Ah, okay, now we're back to the square one. We're Brown. Those again, let's, let's go back into the, you know, what's a in and see what challenges await us next.
Hannah Hepworth: Yeah. And it's a way to tap into your own inspiration looking for answers. We all have this ability to be able to find the answers in different areas, whether it's our health, whether it's our relationships, whatever for ourself. And so this is a great way to become in tuned with what we personally need.
Mari: Oh, definitely. My favorite Hashtag a Hashtag me first. And that's,
Hannah Hepworth: yeah,
Mari: when you, when you first say that, uh, to, to people's like me first, it's like, you know, the whole thing about the inner critic comes up and well, that sort of thing.
Hannah Hepworth: Yeah.
Mari: Uh, yeah. Ho, Ho selfish. Now this is something that it's really, uh, you know, a revolutionary concept, but you're, you're, you're right is just like folk, we have to focus on me because, and it's funny now we'll take, taking the, uh, doing the reading of all our spiritual gurus and all that kind of stuff. I never understood what they were talking about. You know, about, you know, the focus on you and you'd think, and it's like, it's is truly true. I, the benefits of the journaling is, it is, it's just really continually giving the message to your, your body and your soul is like, you are the first thing, first thing in the most important thing in your life. And it all starts with my, Oh, you,
Hannah Hepworth: yeah, definitely. I agree. I'm sure people are listening in. They're like, okay, I've got to try this because it sounds amazing. So what would you recommend is the best way for somebody to start journaling? Like are there specific questions, I guess specific framework, you do it every single day.
Mari: How would they start? Uh, the only guidelines I have to page only and that's every day. Other than that, the sky's the limit for it. Whatever it is you want to do. So my suggestion is, you know, the first thing to take a a pen and a notebook that you have around the house go to. Yeah, the uh, the stationary local stationary store. If you want to get a, a real nice journal or go to the drugstore and get a composition book, you know what again, is it a new look experience you'd get just tapping into what do you know, what do you feel like not you think you should be doing or whatever. Hm. What do I feel like doing? What, what sings to me? What speaks to making, uh, my suggestion would be then when you have your, your pen and your, and your page, just sit down and ask it a question. And then my journal loved as a,
Hannah Hepworth: okay.
Mari: [inaudible] when you ask a question or when we ask the questions, excuse me. And so I, in my face, favorite one is to ask people to describe the top of the page. Who Am I today? And then just, I'm a very big fan rewriting, um, of the, you know, the morning pages, uh, experience of the stream of consciousness because I just find that, uh, just writing, writing, writing really keeps, uh, the inner critic and the, uh, all the Goonies or whatever we would call the monkey brain. And also the more you're right, the better it is. And the healthier it is. A four and just let her rip.
Hannah Hepworth: Yeah. I love that. I love it. Yeah, that's pretty cool. That you said about it keeps your inner critic the duties. I think that's so cute at bay. They don't like it. I love that because we all have that voice in our heads, creeps in and yeah. Tells us, you know, all the negativity, we can't do that. What the heck are you thinking that you can accomplish that for? You know, and so if we're really in tune with ourselves, we can be wise to know, hey, like that's not, that's not me talking, that's just, you know, ignore that. So,
Hannah Hepworth: That.
Hannah Hepworth: And so you don't recommend doing like a digital journal, like don't it okay. Your Journal, it needs to be pen to paper
Mari: journaling every day at the bottom line. There's some just so exciting because mmm. Um, people are now real life people who take the plunge because it's very, very easy. Yeah. To sit down with the keyboard or an iPad or whatever. Yes. But it's, it's really challenging to sit down and face our fears. And that's all it is. All these, because all these other thoughts, feelings, whatever are all negative towards ourselves. And what's it involves is a, the pen, the page is age, a straight line into your, your body being subconscious. Uh, so that, that you don't get by using a device.
Hannah Hepworth: Yeah. And it's just healthy to just unplug from devices because we're on them all day anyways, you know, practically. So.
Mari: Absolutely. And yeah, it's really exciting because there are more and more a scientific studies in, in, in my, my book journaling power, I aside a lot of scientific studies that really show, uh, what, what goes on in the brain when, when you are doing the, the, the pen to page and uh, and that they are now looking at a journaling as, um, a holistic health practice much as yoga or meditation because it was tactically, you know, that because of the, this is something about the tactile us situation. And it somehow that gets into, uh, to the brain. And, um, I would, I would, one of the things I would always love to the sea, it's like mmm, it's again an Mri, uh, right now of my brain just to see, you know, from a, uh, we'll see, see what's going on in, in my brain. And I know they feel yeah, from a, you know, whatever [inaudible] is. Uh, uh, I did this feel from a, uh, the in my brain, I know that it will show up on, I would shut, it would show that I have a healthy great. I don't feel like I am, uh, no fun. I don't really feel like there are physically anything, uh, wrong with, uh, with my brain or my, my center. It's really a phenomenal, has just a,
Hannah Hepworth: that is amazing. That is so amazing. I love that. One thing that's popped up for me is, okay, what is you're doing this and then horrible experience or bad memories puff up. How do you deal with that? Like is that, you know, something from your childhood that maybe you repressed or something, you know, how, how do people deal with it? Negative things, fears that, that start coming up.
Mari: Oh, the best thing to do is to keep writing. Uh, two, a two, take a look at. No, uh, reconnect with yourself, do some breathing and just, you know, real realize that it's like, that was then, this is now, but again, I'll go back to my original a statement. The best thing you do is just keep writing and, and, and you see this as a means of exploration and, and, and, and get more, more data. So I just figured, feel that the best way to do it is just to keep writing and writing and writing until I was like, oh, okay, that's good. And then, uh, commit and, uh, not the word committed. The best thing to do is then too end on the happy note, great. Or, or whatever or something, you know, it might be, oh my goodness, you know, the, uh, the, I'm morning Deb's are back, or, you know, in, in the morning or whatever. It's just a, a behavior change of just saying, of understanding that, yeah, that was then, this is now, that's them. And, and, and just really saying, yeah. Hmm. Wow, okay. And just again, just work on, uh, making everything, uh, a positive or happy, no joke or whatever. And again, it's just we training herself, reteaching ourselves yeah. All about, uh, self care and ultimately self love.
Hannah Hepworth: [inaudible] MMM. I love it. I love it. This is so powerful. Simple too know it's just something that anybody can do. It doesn't cost tons of money. It's just
Mari: so beautiful. Oh, this is the best drug ever. And you know, I've been off of, uh, big Pharma drugs now for 15 years. I've been off of wow. Over the counter drugs for like 10 years. It's just, it has really changed my life, has really gotten me to see, oh my goodness, this is who I really am in this. Just like, mm, oh, why am I putting all this stuff in my, my body and all that type of thing and getting, and this has helped me get into, it's changing my, my diet and all that time. Like I said, there is nothing that I, that a journaling cannot mentally, physically, spiritually help us with. Yeah. Let's say to, to create help, happy, healthy life. We and I put the emphasis on we want to live, not the, no, not the reaction or the, you know, we should be doing this or my father wants me to be a lawyer. All that time they used like, it's all about me, me, me.
Hannah Hepworth: Yeah. And look where it led you to this beautiful that you were able to create, doing something that you love, you're so passionate about and now you can help other people. It's just so cool. I love it.
Mari: To me, the greatest joy is getting emails or feedback from people is like, how is this changed their life? And that's what the, I'll put in a plug for my, a new book. My new book is called Heal Yourself. Uh, with journaling power. They, uh, stories about nine or 10 people, uh, journalists who have, uh, you know, there was a woman there that has been clean and sober for 10 years of, of people that, uh, how, uh, how journaling has helped him with his anxiety and depression. Yes. And we have stories of guys in there too, because guys do do journaling.
Hannah Hepworth: Yeah.
Mari: A lady, uh, a real, real men do, do, do keep a journal. So, um, yeah, but it's just until it gets to see. Yeah. It's just, it's an unbelievable all purpose. A tool that can, can help, uh, in any way, shape or form with whatever, no problems, challenges, uh, you have. And it really helps you get back to and understand that we do have all the answers. We just have to take time with our ourselves, uh, and spend time with our, our journal and, and just, you know, keep the emphasis on being grounded and checking in with ourselves. And, uh, I think that's a real important, important process.
Hannah Hepworth: Yeah. So real quick before we're done, I know we're at the end of our time, if somebody has a specific problem, like I'm feeling really anxious, but maybe, maybe they do know what it's from or maybe they, I don't know where it's stemming from. Can you sit down at your journaling session with an intention to like, find the answers for a specific thing? You know, like how can I help myself? Well, I, you did say that your journal loves question. So you could say how, how do I, mmm. Feel more peaceful, or how do I find the answers to feeling less anxiety? Like something like that.
Mari: How would one do that? Hmm. There's something that's really bugging me and I'm not sure whether this, well, the one I did was I just sat down and I just talked to my journalists that, okay, what's going on here? And just pour that out, uh, and just know, feel whatever you're feeling. And, and again, the, the free writing, the stream of consciousness and it's just like, okay, that's, that's really good. And then it's like, uh, as you go through the process of our daily process of living. Okay. Oh, okay. That's what it was. And to me, I found the, the, uh, the issue was like, I'm, I'm just really anxious about my, my new book and it's just like, and I related it back to, oh my gosh, I can remember how I feel. It felt when my first book came out. It was like a big deal.
Mari: Is, it was like finding my on the beach. They always want to is like, oh my God, I was really, and then when it was getting was, sorry, I didn't get, I was really feeling the anxiety and I thought, I don't do something about this right now. Like Journal, it's going to build into a panic attack or something. Something else. So to answer your question, uh, yes. It's just like, is it, it's the all purpose, uh, no therapist it says like, yeah, maybe you can just go there. Or I also like to say it's a, it's a come as you are party, you know, just started from wherever you are. It's just like, again, it's just an old, our old habit of going into our head and oh, uh, ruminating and, and over analyzing. No. And it's like, this is something that's like, okay, dropped down back, get back into your body and get in touch with your feelings and what's, what's going on.
Mari: I think that internally gives you the purpose. Opportunity. Don't have to have a, uh, yeah. As I said, it's just something that I can keep up my three, a uh, three spiral bound notebook. Uh, excuse me, three subjects, spiral bound notebook, right Joe with me on and I just uh, you know, and saying I just, you like writing. I just write, you know, [inaudible] just, just really, okay, this is good. Or He'd let you know, case in point with, uh, today before our meeting. So I didn't, I said, okay, sat down. What are my goals for my meeting with Hannah? And just slow did a whole page of stream of consciousness. Huh. Okay. Got Focus. God, Clara, I'm ready for the ROM meeting.
Hannah Hepworth: I love it. You've inspired me to making sure that I journal everyday. I'm inconsistent. I buy maybe do it once or twice a week, but I'm going to do it daily because you re convinced me like it is so powerful we need to be doing there. Thank you for that. So how would your people get in touch with you? Who want to learn more, who want to connect with you, who want to get a hold of your books and everything you have to offer. What's the best way to do that?
Mari: My website is, and the right is w r I t e [inaudible] dot com. Ah, we have, uh, in addition to the store and room, we have a, a, a work book of the month, but we have plenty of 'em free ebooks, the first, uh, uh, free ebook that people can download his call. I think it's called journaling too. Uh, overcome the stress and strains of life. So it gets you right into showing, showing you and experiencing, you know, how journaling can really help you deal with the stress, which yeah, something as we know, stress is something that we bring on about from ourselves. This has something we blame the man in the moon and my, my mother, all that kind of stuff. Again, getting the opportunity to get back inside and read and understand what's really going on on their end. Figure out, oh my goodness, I do have the power. I do have to stray. I can do this. I do have the answers, so it's so, so I, we have a lot of, uh, additional, uh, ebooks in the cheers mate in the process. So it's just like, uh, likes it. And I think that, first of all we'll will catch people's attention because it's is journaling to eliminate the stress and strains of life.
Hannah Hepworth: Yes. On your website too, you've got journal prompts, which I think are really helpful if people are like, ah, I don't know how to start this. I feel awkward. Just answer, you know, those kind of get you going.
Mari: Oh, definitely. I called them. You meet. So searching and journaling prompts a quote or uh, a saying or no, if people get fascinated with that and that gets you in to writing into the, the processing and getting you to are you really need to go
Hannah Hepworth: [inaudible] awesome. Okay. So everybody go to create right now, right? W r. I. T yes. Check out more of Mary's amazing information there and I'm excited about, yeah. Journaling power. This is going to be, yes. MMM. A really fun book. Thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate you taking time out of your day. I appreciate it. This has been lovely to talk to you.
Mari: Thank you, Hannah, for the opportunity and the opportunity journaling for the hell of it.