7 Tips for Transformative Journaling

We listen at 400 words per minute, read at 300 words per minute, speak at 130 words per minute, but think at 1000 words per minute. When we write by hand, our thoughts slow to 300 words per minute. Why is this significant? It opens us to the process of reflection and allows us to go below the surface where life energy simmers. Here is where the answers lie.” Arlene Kroeker – Editor of Meditation and Health

I’ve been journaling since I was 12 years old, but it only became a DAILY PRACTICE during my 3-month hospital stay in 2010. With journals being the most common gifts amongst flowers and stuffed animals, I was encouraged by close friends to document my healing journey.

So I did.

Over the last 5 years, my journaling practice has evolved – influenced by trainings in: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Contemplative Care, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction & Advanced Energy Dynamics.

Now whether you consider yourself a writer or not, I encourage you to be open to trying it out. Like meditation and yoga, the practice of daily journaling can be profoundly therapeutic and healing.

The following tips are a based on both my personal & professional learnings as well as feedback from my patients. I myself use all 7 tips and find them to be quite transformative:

Tip #1: DREAMS

  • For many of us, there can be a lot of subconscious cognitive-emotional stuff that significantly shapes our behaviours. These influences often exist beneath our own awareness….until we dream about them! For instance, emotions & beliefs that I haven’t been open to acknowledging will sometimes appear in my dreams. My naturopath has suggested that we need not take our dreams at face value (because some of the things we dream are just way too weird!). Instead, the best advice given to me has been to focus on the EMOTIONS being felt during the dream.
  • In addition to emotions, curiously explore any messages that are being given to you in the form of symbols ie) numbers, animals, places etc. As explained by Neale Donald Walsch in “Conversations With God” – God communicates to us in SO many ways – and if you’re open to it, dreams can be one of them.
  • NOTE: It is important that your dreams be the FIRST thing you journal about AS SOON as you wake up because that is when you’ll be most likely to recall your dreams. So do keep your journal & a pen beside your bed where it’s within easy reach soon as you wake up from slumber.

Tip #2: T.E.S (Thoughts – Emotions – Sensations)

  • After using cognitive behavioural therapy & mindfulness to help patients with mind-body illnesses, I’ve become a huge fan of the practice of bringing awareness these 3 things: our THOUGHTS EMOTIONS & SENSATIONS. Many mindfulness teachers refer to these 3 as the TRIAD OF AWARENESS. 
    • By paying attention to our thoughts, we are understanding our minds
    • By paying attention to our sensations we are understanding our bodies.
    • And by paying attention to our emotions, well, we are understanding how our minds & bodies are INTEGRATED AS ONE.

Tip #3: GOD

  • Whether you believe in God, Oneness, Universal Life Force, or Gaia, there is something sacred about taking the time to connect with an INFINITE LOVING SOURCE that fuels your spirit. Do commit some time during your journaling practice to write freely, openly & vulnerably to that divine presence within you and all around. Just as you would write a letter to someone you whose love & guidance you TRUST in…take a moment to write to God. Give thanks. Give love. Ask for help. If anything, just say: “Hi, I’m here.”


Gratitude really is a POWERFUL force. I challenge you to challenge yourself. If you are normally thankful for 1 thing a day make it 5. If 5, then 10. Sometimes I play a game with myself and try to fill the whole page with things I’m thankful for. The practice of gratitude helps us to:

  • Broaden our perspectives
  • Bring more positivity to our energy fields
  • Be more powerful MANIFESTORS & CO-CREATORS – because the energetic frequency of gratitude is like a magnet attracting more of what you’re being grateful for.
  • But most importantly, when we are in a state of gratitude for all that is in our lives, we are more likely to SHARE ourselves (time, money & resources) with others. In this sense, gratitude can be a means to being of GREATER SERVICE TO THE WORLD.


  • If there’s one thing I learned through my experiences working in the field of neuro-rehab, it’s the significant role of our INTENTIONS as a precursor to BEHAVIOUR OUTCOMES. For instance, in order for me to move my incompletely paralyzed toes, I first have to set the intention to move it. This continued & persistent intention to do something results in the nervous system re-organizing and re-intergrating to support that intended movement. This is the type of work that I did with stroke survivors who had paralyses – we practiced intention first! Remember this:
    • Similarly, “Energy follows attention.”
  • So if you’re not setting intentions as a part of your daily practice, I encourage you to do so. Look for inspiration anywhere to inspire your intentions for the day i.e., quotes on social media and spiritual resources such as the bible, tarot cards and/or astrology.
  • Finally, if you’re a law of attraction fan, then you’ll appreciate how writing down intentions is a clear and powerful way of physically manifesting thought into action. So write ’em down and look forward to observing yourself fulfill your intentions throughout the day.


I’m a fast writer…and it shows in my erratic chicken scratches. By just looking at my penmanship one can almost feel the anxiety in my fingers as they strive to scribble every single speeding thought as they arise. However, things changed significantly once I started to write in cursive (which I haven’t done since elementary school). Having to journal in cursive writing has not only made my penmanship legible, it has slowed down the speed at which my thoughts come & go! With a slower pace of writing, there is more time and space between not just the words but the thoughts as well. This space is sacred because it is IN THIS SPACE BETWEEN…where our soul & spirit can be met.

Tip #7 – REFLECT

Journaling at the end of the night is a great time to literally get thoughts out of your head and onto a piece of paper (like parking cars of thought in the parking lot of your journal) – this way, thoughts are less likely to keep you up. Also, there’s growth potential in the process of reflecting on the intentions you had set at the beginning of the day. Did you follow through? Did you forget? No judgement. Just awareness. You can use this reflection as an opportunity to inform your future intentions or perhaps just as an opportunity to free write and allow creativity to flow through your fingers.

So there you go. 7 tips for transformative journaling. You can incorporate these tips however you feel will work best for you. No matter how you do it, TRUST that by committing to your journaling practice daily, you will:

  • Live with more authenticity as journaling provides an opportunity for us to just be with ourselves honestly.
  • Improve self- awareness, self care & resiliency – With a better understanding of your own mind, body, spirit and how they are integrated, you’ll innately implement better self-care habits which leads to a more resilient you.
  • Manifest more powerfully – The more you “know thyself” the better you can “master thyself.” By understanding our own thoughts, emotions and sensations better, we can better understand the energetic frequencies that we are sustaining and manifesting. In other words, journaling helps us to be more conscious of the ‘vibe’s we are putting out into the world…affecting both ourselves and those around us.
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Mindfulness & Women’s Pelvic Health


Join us at the Proactive Pelvic Health Centre for a 3hr workshop for women with pelvic pain.

This workshop will include:

  • Education on the neurophysiology of pain
  • Implications of mindfulness for pain management, and
  • Guided instructions for mindful practice

Date:                 Saturday, February 21st,, 2015

Time:                 9:30am – 12:30pm

Location:          Proactive Pelvic Health Centre – 863 Broadview Ave, Toronto M4K 2P9

Cost:                  $60

For registration enquiries email:  info@proactiveph.com

mindfulness photo 3

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Location: 373A Eglinton, just west of Avenue rd.
Time : 6:30pm-7:30pm 
Date: Weds Feb 18th 
Cost: $40.00 


TRISTA ZINN, founder of Coreset Fitness, is a personal trainer specializing in pelvic floor health & core control. She is also Canada’s first expert level trainer in the Hypopresive Method. From 630-7:00, Trista will review the key points for proper form & technique & why these aspects are just as important as the breathing technique. You’ll be introduced to new poses that can easily be incorporated into your existing hypopressive program. You’ll then be lead through a seamless hypopressive class.
For more info on Trista go to: http://www.coresetfitness.com
I myself – Jaisa Sulit – will then be ending off the evening from 7:00-7:30 with an introduction to mindfulness. I’ll guide you through a mindful meditation and provide you with tools, to help you cope with stress anxiety, depression, but also enabling a greater overall mind-body health!

TO REGISTER: Contact Trista at tzinn@coresetfitness.com or 647-230-5424

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Mindfulness Is Changing Our Lives

Mindfulness really is changing our lives…and it has already changed mine.

After sustaining a spinal cord injury from a motorcycle accident, I say from an embodied heart that mindfulness has helped me to connect deeply with the innate strength, wisdom, compassion & power for healing accessible within each of us, even when in the face of physical and emotional struggle.

But do not just take my word for it…let’s take a look at the evidence. A good place to start, is The American Mindfulness Research Association (https://goamra.org) – a professional resource supporting the practice of mindfulness with empirical evidence

Over the last 30 years, our scientific world has published over 500 research articles describing the effectiveness of mindfulness as a treatment for:
• Work, Family & Financial Stress
• Heart Disease & High Blood Pressure
• Cancer
• Headaches
• Fibromyalgia
• Gastro-Intestinal Distress
• Asthma
• Chronic Illness & Pain
• Grief
• Depression
• Eating Disturbances
• Anxiety & Panic Attacks
• Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
• Skin Disorders
• Fatigue & Sleep Problems

The combination of scientific evidence along with the shared personal experiences of those who live mindfully has resulted in a tipping point for mindfulness in the media this year with publishers like TIME, Macleans, Scientific American, & the Huffington Post highlighting the emergence of mindfulness in healthcare, schools, prisons, businesses & corporations.

Just recently, on December 14th 2015, Anderson Cooper reported on his own personal experience of the benefits of mindfulness. A clip of this segment on 60 Minutes can be viewed via this link: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mindfulness-anderson-cooper-60-minutes/

According to organizational behaviour expert Christopher Lyddy and behavioural scientist Darren Good: “empirical research shows that, beyond employee wellness and thriving, mindfulness may support self-management, decision-making, leadership, resilience, task performance, error detection & correction, social interaction, & enacting qualities such as compassion.” No wonder CEOs such as Larry Page of Google, Mark Bertolini of Aetna, and Gregg W. Steinhafel of Target are just some of the many leaders who ensure that their own executives and employees are provided with opportunities to learn mindful practices such as yoga and meditation.
Whether for patient or clinician, prisoner or guard, student or teacher, employee or executive, mindfulness is clearly arising as a practical answer to many of our worlds’ current challenges.

One of the best things about mindfulness I think is that it is free. It is innate and thus, always accessible. In fact, it is a renewable resource that is available within each of us.

So what exactly is mindfulness? Mindfulness is actually a simple practice that involves paying attention to the moment and acknowledging without judgement what is presently there i.e., sensations, emotions, and/or thoughts. This practice also involves the continuous re-focusing of attention to a particular object of choice (i.e., the breath).

However, while it sounds simple, mindfulness is much easier said than done. The challenge in practising mindfulness lies in the fact that we are creatures of habit. And for those of us who live fast paced lives where busy schedules & to-do lists keep us on the go – we have developed strong habits of ‘doing.’ Whether it’s the need to be productive, to achieve, or to succeed, there’s an underlying need to DO, DO, DO. In all this doing, some of us have forgotten what Dr. Wayne Dyer reminds us of: “We are human BEINGS…not human DOINGS.”

Mindfulness allows us that space for us to just simply BE.

And just as we have developed some habits of automaticity, we can just as effectively develop habits of awareness. Thanks to the persistence of neuroscientists, we now know that the brain has the power to physiologically change based on how we think and act. This process is referred to as “neuroplasticity.” The more we practice a particular thought pattern and action (healthy or unhealthy) the stronger the neural re-integration process will be for that behaviour, and eventually the practiced thought pattern and action becomes an automatic habit.

What does this mean for those with a passion and pursuit for wellness? This means that mindfulness can help us to learn, transform & grow stronger – mind, body and spirit. In other words, mindfulness can help us to live happier and healthier lives.

Holocaust survivor & author of “Mans Search for Meaning” – Viktor Frankl – has said: “between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Mindfulness provides us with this space. This space is the difference between reacting in automatic habitual ways and responding with clarity, wisdom & compassion. It is in this space that mindful practice provides, that we can exert our freedom to CHOOSE HOW WE RESPOND to what life is bringing in each moment. Mindful practice brings the ABLE to response-ABLE.

That was a profound realization for me: “I am responsible for my life?!” Although frightening, it was a powerful “aha” moment. Because the truth is, we are all free to live our lives as we CHOOSE. No one has a gun to our heads forcing us to think what we are thinking. It is a choice (conscious or not). This freedom of choice is always there for you to claim. How do we claim it? With mindfulness – for without the awareness that mindful practice brings, there is no space to practice this ability to choose.

When you stop to think about it, choice is the foundation to the formation of any lifestyle habit. Whether you’re an elite athlete in training or a patient learning to walk again, the path of healing and growth begins with your power to choose what you focus your attention on.

Just imagine, with a greater ability to focus our attention on creating and maintaining habits that are nourishing to ourselves, while at the same time unlearning habits that are depleting to our minds & bodies, we are moment by moment, changing our lives for the better. The greater your own sense of wellness, the stronger your capacity to contribute to the wellness of the world.

So, mindfulness really is changing our lives. With the potential for cultivating habits based on innate wisdom, acceptance & compassion, mindfulness just may provide the kind of revolution that our precious world so needs at this time.

If you’re interested in learning how to cultivate mindfulness into your own daily life, I highly recommend the 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course which was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre, Centre. This particular curriculum is supported by over 30 years of scientific research with tools proven to be effective in reducing physical & psychological suffering while building our own capacities for greater balance, health & wellbeing.

I will be offering this MBSR course at Wallis For Wellness (http://wallisforwellness.com) starting on Thursday, February 12th, 2015 from 7:00-9:15pm. The course will continue every Thursday until April 9th, 2015. There will also be a full day retreat on Saturday, March 28th, 2015. Course fee is $350 (materials included) and is covered by extended health care packages that include Occupational Therapy.

For registration enquiries, please email memoirsofajaisa@gmail.com

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Join Trista, Sarah & Me for a Workshop on Pelvic Floor Health: 6:30-830pm on June 12th (for those new to the hypopressive method) & June 19th (for those already doing hypopressives).

trista zinnTRISTA ZINN, founder of Coreset Fitness, is a personal trainer specializing in pelvic floor health & core control. She is also Canada’s first expert level trainer in the Hypopresive Method. Having offered numerous Hypopresive workshops & private sessions, Trista is now providing this special opportunity for you to reconnect with others, review the Hypopressive Method & learn from two other health care professionals who will be providing education integral to pelvic floor health.

The evening will begin with a brief Hypopresive session where Trista will: 1) review key points for proper form & technique and why these aspects are just as important as the breath, & 2) lead you through a seamless Hypopresive class including with various hypopressive postures!

For more info on Trista go to: http://www.coresetfitness.com

sarah maughnSARAH MAUGHAN, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, will then follow Trista with a session on how food can impact the function of the pelvic floor – teaching you: 1) what foods to eat to minimize bloating, 2) types of fibres & which to consume to avoid rectal pressure, 3) tips for improving digestion, & 4) top foods to consume for muscle & tissue repair – All of which are essential for pelvic floor exercises and strengthening. It’s time to empower your body (and pelvic floor) with food!

For more info on Sarah go to: http://www.sarahmaughan.ca

DSC_0076 - Version 2JAISA SULIT (yes, that’s me) an Occupational Therapist, Lecturer, Poet & Mindfulness Teacher will be ending off the evening with an introduction to Mindfulness, which she defines as “present moment awareness.” Guiding participants through various mindful practices including: 1) mindful eating, 2) a sitting meditation, 3) a body scan, & 4) a loving kindness meditation, Jaisa will demonstrate how mindfulness can provide tools, helping you to not only cope better with pelvic pain & its related stress, anxiety &/or derpession, but also enabling greater overall mind-body health!

For more info on Jaisa go to: https://www.facebook.com/jaisasulit.teacher page1image20184

WORKSHOP LOCATION: 373A Eglinton Ave (just west of Avenue Rd)

COST: $85.00

WHAT TO BRING: Please bring your own yoga or pilates/matt

TO REGISTER: Contact Trista at tzinn@coresetfitness.com or 647-230-5424


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I just got home from my parents.
Called TJ for the first time since Poopy started showing signs of struggling…& when he asked how I was…that was when I felt it.
I didn’t realize until I returned to my place this afternoon how much pain I feel at Poopy’s passing.
I didn’t realize until I returned to my place this afternoon that I was trying to be strong for my parents.
I didn’t realize that I have in myself…the feeling of all of Poopy’s suffering in her last hours.
It took for me to be alone…to allow myself to really cry.
I sob & mourn as i write this.
Crying in solitude.
I know this pain carves out a deeper cup of compassion…
…but the carving hurts.
It goes deep to a place that only I & spirit can touch…
…a pain through my chest so deep that it reaches my back.
This peace is a double sided coin.
This peace comes with pain.
I guess this is the reality of peace.
The deeper the love the deeper the loss.
So I let these moments be.
I let these tears flow.
I let these moments come.
& I let these moments go.
I am starting to feel better already….
…through these words I express
…I express through these words.
Ahh the catharsis of expression.
The catharsis of mourning.
The catharsis of MORNING.
There is a part of me that feels a painful peace in this mourning.
But, there is a greater part of me that feels a calm-filled peace in this MORNING.
This morning…
…This dawning of a new life for Poopy’s spirit.
This morning.
So in the midst of the pain…I focus on the calm.
In the midst of the grief…I focus on the gratitude.
And in the midst of my mourning…I focus on THIS MORNING.
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Since an accident left me with a spinal cord injury 3 years ago, I’ve been working closely with a diverse group of health care professionals who have been helping to strengthen not just my body, but my mind & spirit as well. One of these professionals is a naturopath whom I see once a week.

Now I’m normally open to receiving my naturopath’s feedback. However, lately I’ve been noticing how I’ve been consistently RESISTANT to one particular thing that she keeps saying: “YOU ARE PERFECT JUST AS YOU ARE!”


I don’t get it.

One of my life’s mottos is that as long as I am alive, I will strive to LEARN & GROW so that I can share what AMAZING POTENTIAL this human body and mind can BE & DO.  To say that I’m perfect would mean that there’s no room for improvement.

So now let me take you a recent morning moment. I was experiencing an emotional low when the sound of my naturopaths voice arose: “you are perfect just as you are.” Then I noticed it again – RESISTANCE!

Seeing that I’m a mindfulness teacher who is supposed to be teaching others about ACCEPTANCE – I figured: “okay resistance – let’s do this.” So while in bed, I meditated, “welcomed the unwelcomed” and then took out my journal.

Here’s what unfolded when I put pen to paper:


I am open to the possibility that I am perfect as I am…weaknesses “issues” flaws…it’s all this “stuff” that may possibly be the fulfillment of my purpose.

It is possibly perfect…that I’ve been selfish, crazy & jealous.

It is possibly perfect…that I’ve offended others & disappointed friends.

It is possibly perfect that in the FULLNESS OF MY FLAWS

I experience my FULFILLMENT.

It is possibly perfect that it’s my IMPERFECTIONS


How perfect that my accident left me with pain, stress, anxiety, & depression.

For now I can teach others how to cope with pain, stress, anxiety, & depression.

How perfect that I’ve lived so long with a lack of self-love, self-compassion & self-care.

For now I can teach others how to practise self-love, self-compassion & self-care.

By embracing this prideful ego

I’m forced to practise HUMILITY.

By embracing vulnerability

I’m forced to practise AUTHENTICITY.

By embracing my fears

I’m forced to practice FAITH.

I’m perfect not because I’m confident but because I can also be insecure.

I’m perfect not because I’m cool but because I can sometimes use a chill pill.

I’m perfect not because I’m friendly but because I can also be a bitch.

In the pursuit of learning, healing & growing…

In the pursuit of personal change & transformation…

In the golden pursuit of happiness…

…Why just claim half of me when I can claim ALL OF ME?

Why go without half,

When I can take the WHOLE OF WITHIN?

Taking half when I can take whole,

Is like taking the YANG & leaving the YIN.

My boyfriend taught me this:

When you take the word: “IMPERFECT”

And you place an apostrophe between the “I” & the “M”

And a space between the “M” &  the “P”

You get “I’M PERFECT”

So alas, IT IS POSSIBLY PERFECT that I am perfect as I am…weaknesses “issues” flaws…it’s all this “stuff” that may possibly be the fulfillment of my purpose.

possibly perfect(Above: Photo of the first page of my journal entry on Nov 13th, 2013)

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