Written by Delaney Dickinson, WLLC 2015-2016
I am a strong believer that the four-part check writing exercise is an essential part of one’s overall wellbeing. In the act of practicing the four-part check three to five times a week (with out writing, potentially this many times a day depending the day!), I believe one can easily gain overall self awareness and a deeper understanding for the life that they are currently residing in. Please realize that in committing to practicing the four-part check exercise, “it’s imperative to consciously step away from habitual living and get crystal clear about your deepest intentions for practice” (The Way of the Happy Woman, 51).
For those of you who don’t recall what the four-part check is (since we went over it during week 2) it is a daily self check-in exercise consisting of four parts. The first part consists of checking in with your physical body and how you are physically feeling at the moment. Are you sleep deprived? Are your shoulder and back muscles tense and tight? Do you have a banging headache? All of these questions are questions that you may ponder when reflecting on the status of your physical body.
The second part is to check in with your mind. What thoughts have been crowding your mind lately? Are you stressed about your up coming math test? Is the way your boyfriend is treating you making you feel obsessive and compulsive? Are you feeling shameful for any previous decisions you have made? By writing out what is clogging your mind at the current moment will naturally clear some space allowing for your mind to not be so congested.
The third part is to tap in your emotional state. For most, feeling your own emotions is quiet intimidating and overall a stressful idea. By practicing expressing your feelings on paper, it will allow you to become naturally more and more expressive of how you are feeling in different times and situations. This is a crucial tool for self growth and safety, along with individual development through life. If you have a hard time connecting to how you are feeling emotionally for the moment, I would consider to start asking your self small questions before the larger more emotionally intense ones. For instance, after your mom scolded you for staying out too late with friends, how did that make you feel? Did you feel angry? Sad? Happy? Starting small may seem useless, but trust me it will slowly teach you how to cope with larger and more emotionally tense situations and times.
The final part is to check in with your spirit. You may be thinking, my spirit? Teen spirit? No… your SPIRIT. “This is the time when you check in with your intuition- that small, quiet voice inside that will grow bigger and louder when you turn to it frequently. Ask yourself, “What do I need to know right now?” Whatever answer arises- the first thing that comes up ,…, is your highest self, your spirit, speaking to you” (The Way of the Happy Woman, 52).
After going through these four parts for the first time, you may find that it was somewhat exhausting or quiet possibly even the opposite. Start by setting a goal of going through these four-part steps three times a week. Then build up to four or five. Depending on what you are going through in life, you may find that you need to go through these steps each day to help you just make it by each day. Understand that this is a gradual and slowly evolving process of which will emit your own personal growth. Yes, you are the drivers seat, but realize that you are not the road conditions as well.
To this day, I rely on these steps all of the time. Sometimes I practice it in writing, and some times just in my head. These steps have not only helped me bring my own self awareness and understanding up, but they have also allowed me to evolve in to a much wiser being than I was when prior to practicing these exercises. This practice has taught me how to cope with mild to severe life situations and occurrences. This four-part check exercise has also influenced me to strengthen my meditation practice. I start nearly all of my meditations with this four-part check in to allow me to get comfortable and calm down. This has become a life time reliable exercise for me. I rely on this check in to pick me up when I am down and to help me connect back to my roots when I am lost. With out being aware of this exercise, I believe I would be more so often lost rather than rooted and more so uneasy rather than content and stable.