One year ago, in the company of thousands of other people, I sent a lantern up into the sky during a beautiful, surreal lantern festival.

That day I wrote a lot on the thin white paper of the lantern with my thin black marker – mostly fears, some anxieties and worries, but also hopes and goals that I had been afraid to tell anyone or even put down into words. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote, and at some point my mind stopped its chattering; through my pen, I poured my soul onto a lantern that I would later liberate into the sky, laden with heavy words and the desert dust of Nevada and bits and pieces of my story.

Lantern festivals are few and far between, but writing is something anyone can do, even if you are your only audience. This can be a private blog, or an anonymous Instagram; a journal tucked inside your desk, or a small notebook you carry everywhere. So many thoughts pass through our minds – for a few days, try taking a few minutes a day to jot down the things that you want to focus on, and see if that changes how you approach (or end) your day. Those few minutes of daily writing can become a meditation and safe harbor, where your thoughts can come out unfettered, unjudged, and uninhibited.

(You might be surprised at what you end up writing down, too – I noticed that I don’t necessarily write down the “deepest” or most philosophical things, but when I do write my days and short-term goals end up much more focused as a result.)

As a writer myself, I always advocate writing when one needs emotional release – whether it’s a break up or hitting the milestone of a long-cultivated dream – putting thoughts to words makes them incontrovertibly real, and maybe even as a result easier to let go of. Once the words exist somewhere, you can’t take them back – and sometimes, it is that very sense of realness that we need to let us move forward.