SARK shows us how to sing on paper

This post was written by Megan on March 24, 2010
Posted Under: burnout and stress management

SARK shows us how to sing on paper cartoon

There was some shameless name-dropping in the previous Burnout post: 
I spoke to SARK personally

Apologies for that.

But it was all for a good cause, telling you about how SARK (aka Susan Kennedy) helped me to do things in a way that's smarter and fun-er, rather than harder.


SARK re-cap

SARK is an author and artist with a remarkable balance of sage wisdom and childlike play. Check out her website (with the spiral menu bar!): Planet Sark.  

One book you might find particularly relevant is: 
Change your life without getting out of bed: the ultimate nap book'.  

Others include (soak up these brilliant titles and tag lines):

In the world of over-the-top 'positive-positive' mantras (which make me feel like a depressed alien), SARK can be genuinely inspiring. So I invested in a SARK 'couching' session – i.e. as opposed to 'coaching' session.

Gotta love the word play.

We spoke for an hour on the phone. That was an abundant amount of time considering how much SARK can help you create in just five minutes (see my previous post for more info on SARK's 'micro movements').

SARK also told me about the power of 'Three Part Harmony'.


What is Three Part Harmony?

This isn't a groovy re-packaging for the holy trinity. It's about…well, I'll just tell you what SARK told me to do.

Get a pad and a pen and…

  1. The Mad and/or Sad Pages

    Write out all the things that are making you sad. Don't think about what you want to say before writing. Just write. This is called 'stream-of-consciousness writing'. There is no structure, no right or wrong. Just get it out onto the page. You can write one sentence after the other, or in list form – whatever you like. Whatever comes naturally.

    One example is "I hate how my neighbours keep slamming the door". But don't stop there, keep writing all the things that are bugging you, deflating your spirit, making you mad, making you sad. It could be six pages of this stuff. Write until it is all out. 

    SARK then recommends you fold it up and address it to the universe. Okay, perhaps engaging with 'The Universe' isn't your gig. If this is the case, look at the exercise as a way to consciously and sub-consciously disengage so:
    (a) what you wrote doesn't weigh you down, and
    (b) you will be open to new ideas of how to address what you wrote more constructively.


  2. The Wise Self Pages

    Write at the top of a fresh new page: 'The wise voice gladly speaks'. Then write a wise response to each of your mad or sad 'items' from your previous pages. Allow unconditional love to flow out onto the page – to you and to the people involved in your mad/sad pages. 

    Say with the slamming door example, contemplate what a compassionate, wise person would do in this situation (that's you, by the way). Perhaps it would be: 'Go up to your neighbour and ask them politely if they wouldn't mind being more careful when closing the door.' 

    Don't soul-search long for the wise responses. Just write what comes to you naturally. Let the ideas flow through you.

    Then fold up your wise pages. Keep them to refer back to, if needed. Consider actively following through with some or all of those wise thoughts. 


  3. The Glad Pages

    This is basically writing out all the things you can be grateful for in your life. Again, don't think about it. Just write it. This can be a particularly powerful exercise if you are feeling low and daunted by what's going on for you at the moment. 

    If you're thinking 'I'm completely burned out!  What the hell can I possibly be grateful for, you purple kaftanned air-head?!' 

    Okay, I'm assuming you are referring to me, not SARK about the kaftan thing. I can say, in my defence, that I have never worn a kaftan and purple isn't my favourite colour. I can also say that I have written the gratitude spiel while contemplating driving off a cliff. For these times I write something like: 'I am grateful I have a car to give me that option. I am grateful to have options.'

    Sounds crazy, I know. But it can actually be the very thing that can lead you back off the ledge and onto safe ground.   

    SARK said the Glad Pages can also be helpful for the stories you are telling other people. She urges us to tell 'the glad story'. I guess this is not just for the sake of those around you but also for yourself. Telling your glad story can shift how you feel, even if the shift is just small and momentary.


Stream-of-consciousness practice has been key for my sanity during burnout recovery. I have used it differently to SARK's Three Part Harmony. Find out how I've been spilling my beans in the next post…

Looking forward to seeing you then.


This post was written by Megan Hills.  Megan is a writer and cartoonist who is all for downloading emotions onto paper. She tries to be a bit more careful when it comes to writing on screen…like in this blog, for example. Sometimes it can be a fine line. Find out more about Megan

Reader Comments

I too have strongly disliked the positive thinking movement for years. Mainly for the fact that positive thinking doesn't address the root of the problem.
However I have found in the past 18 months that attempting to change the internal dialogue during the dark times has helped to lighten the load and change perspective. My psychologist helps me with the rest.

Written By Veronica on March 30th, 2010 @ 6:09 am

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