I think I may be hearing some groans. I know, journaling is not for everyone and that might include you. I have used journaling exercises over the years in classes and workshops ~ sometimes met with excitement and readiness and other times with rolling eyeballs. Bear with me and keep an open mind.
Many years ago, I had a wonderful neighbor who journalled on a regular basis. At that time, she had been keeping a journal for about 10 years or more. I can remember wondering what she could possibly be writing about. In my mind, I thought of a journal as a place where I documented what I had already experienced ~ a place to capture the tangible experiences in my life.
Eventually, I was introduced to an alternative perspective that shifted the way that I viewed the journaling process.
What if journaling wasn’t just about documenting what has already happened?
What if journaling could lead me to self-awareness and self-connection?
What if journaling was really about exploration?
As I began to experiment with various forms of journaling, I found that a whole new world emerged for me. Sometimes, I would use a specific question and allow my thoughts to flow out the end of my pen without concern for where they ended up. At other times, I would simply start to write and allow myself to be guided.
Answers didn’t always arrive immediately. In fact, at times, I found that I encountered more questions and confusion as I worked through the process. But, eventually, something was worked out.
Write For Yourself
You do not have to identify yourself as a writer to experience the benefits of a journaling practice. In fact, it is best if you can let go of any need for perfection as you go through the process. You are not being asked to submit your journal anywhere although at times, you may be guided to share something that you have written. Ultimately, this creative expression is for you alone.
And when I say, “creative expression”, I am not suggesting that all your writing will emerge as poetic and profound. That is not creativity. Creative expression in this context refers to the expression of who you are as a creative being at any point in time. Your words are an expression of your creative energy ~ the energy you possess to powerfully co-create your life experiences.
Resist the urge to edit or censor yourself. At times, we can become concerned about the reactions of others to what we have written. We wonder how others would be impacted if they were to find our journals. Try to move past this fear so you can authentically express the truth of your soul as it emerges. And keep your journals in safe places to help you feel comfortable.
Sometimes, that fear is not just about others reading your words, but can also be a fear of hearing your truth yourself. Remember, you already know whatever it is you are avoiding putting down on paper. Your soul already knows your truth and it remains whether it is on the page in front of you or not. So, go for it!
Forms of Journaling
There are a number of formats you can use when engaging in journaling activities. I’ve mentioned a couple already including free flow writing and writing in response to focus questions.
You can engage in an interview style of journaling as well that involves writing both parts of a dialogue. This can help you to delve more deeply into an area that you are wishing to explore or a place where you feel lacking in clarity.
Bullet journaling can be really useful for those of you who feel less inclined towards this type of self-connection activity. Using bullets allows you to capture the meat of any insights that might arise for you as you engage in other forms of self-connection and in some ways helps you to document what is emerging for you in certain areas of your life.
Writing is a form of self-expression. It is a way of communicating with your inner self so that you can gain clarity in areas of your life that might feel murky at this point. Journaling can open the door to the expression of your emotional landscape and help you garner the information that your feelings are trying to share with you.
Listen to Serving Consciously with Lynda Monk:
Lynda Monk, MSW, RSW, CPCC is a Registered Social Worker and a Certified Professional Life Coach with a specialty in therapeutic journaling and expressive writing for self-care, burnout prevention, stress reduction and replenishment for helping, healing and health professionals.
She is the co-author of Writing Alone Together: Journaling in a Circle of Women for Creativity, Compassion and Connection, as well as co-author of the international bestseller Inspiration for a Woman’s Soul: Choosing Happiness. She is also the creator of Life Source Writing™ and producer of the Creative Wellness Guided MeditationsCD.
As founder of Creative Wellness, Lynda is an experienced workshop, course and retreat facilitator for both live events and online programs. She has supported hundreds of individuals to write for increased well-being, self-care, self-discovery, clarity and success. She lives with her family on Salt Spring Island, BC where she tries her best to write every day. Learn more at CreativeWellnessWorks.com
Elizabeth Bishop is the creator of the Conscious Service Approach designed to support helping professionals to reconnect with and fulfill their desire to make a difference in the lives of those they support. Following the completion of a diploma in Developmental Services and a degree in Psychology and Religious Studies, she completed a Masters in Adult Education through St. Francis Xavier University, providing the opportunity to test and refine the elements of the Conscious Service Approach. Elizabeth is the host of Serving Consciously, a new show on Contact Talk Radio. Simply tune in to www.ctrnetwork.com and click Listen Live at 12pm PST every 2nd and 4th Friday.