Journaling is a balm for the mind, body and soul.
There is something special about the tactile form of writing by hand. It slows me down just enough to illuminate and expose connections in my (often racing) mind that I may not have seen as easily.
I find journaling to be incredibly insightful, especially during the times when thoughts and emotions are just too fast-paced to organize themselves in my brain, or times when I am going through an experience that is hard to process.
I wanted to share a few journaling methods that have supported me on my path. Maybe you have tried one or all of these before, and they can serve as a reminder of something that was helpful. I don’t know about you, but I often tend to forget the most simplest things I can do to bring myself into balance (like drinking water!) So, these are good reminders for me too.
Stream of consciousness - I learned this method of journaling from Julia Cameron’s book ‘The Artist’s Way’. She describes it as ‘getting to the other side’ and there really isn’t a better way to describe this experience! What you do is (ideally in the morning) fill three college-ruled loose leaf pages (regular ol notebook pages) with your stream of consciousness. Whatever you’re thinking about, as mundane or as significant as it is. Don’t re-read it, just move on and come back to do it again the next morning! I have thrown away whole journals of these without re-reading any of it! It's a sacrificial feeling. The healing is in the process, in the present moment, in the letting go. This really helps be get through the mud before my day, and I need to do it more.
Making lists - This one is simple, but can really be helpful to help me slow down. Whatever topic has the most charge for you right now, sit and make a list about it. Some examples: Things I want to change about my life, Ways I would like to show up more for my community. Things I am worried about. Things I want to let go. Things I love about myself. Things I don’t love about myself. Things I am grateful for today. Places I want to travel to. The list of lists goes on… This is really helpful when I am feeling anxiety but don't really know the cause. I will list things I am anxious about, and for some reason just listing them out lightens everything a little.
Asking questions - This where my journaling naturally tends to go. If I am in a place where I really need to sit down and hash things out with myself, I almost always end up asking myself questions. Most specifically WHY questions. And then I ask why again and again until I get to the root. “Why do I feel like this?” is a great place to start. "Why is it that I think this way about (enter thing I am struggling with)". These burning WHY questions often really lead somewhere if you respond with honesty and zero judgement! My goal is to just keep asking why until I reach the FINAL BOSS WHY and understand the cause of the universe! Oh, sometimes you might respond with more questions, and that’s OK too, because it will direct the curiosity where it wants to go and hopefully lead to opportunity for deeper discovery.
I couldn’t end this post without highlighting some of our handmade notebooks that I have created and used for all of these purposes! With recycled paper and a thoughtful design, journaling becomes a tad more enlivened and purposeful. My guided journal 'You Are the Magic You Seek' was inspired by all of the healing I have found in journaling, too.
Do you have any journal strategies for healing and self-discovery? Comment below with your ideal practice, I’d love to hear more ideas!