Journey Into Journaling – Take 2
This is Part Two of a six-part journey into journaling. To start with Part One, click here.
Allow Journaling to Grow With You
Welcome back! Hopefully you are returning after having a successful first month of journaling. This month, I want to focus on how journaling can change over time and how it can grow with you – if you allow it.
We Constantly Change, So Should Our Journal
My practice of journaling has changed over time and will continue to do so as I continue to change. I used to journal every day after meditating and had a very rigid practice. Now, it has become a little more organic. What I’ve noticed is that how I journal, can be a reflection of how I’m living. For example, my rigid practice when I first started may have been a reflection of my rigid schedule in the past; and that was probably what I needed to support my process then.
As you begin to start a journaling practice you may run into some obstacles. One of the biggest for me was a fear of slooooowing down. We can all be afraid of taking the time to connect with our inner voice. We want to go, go, go, and be sure to keep up with life at work, life at home, and all of our daily responsibilities. Quieting our mind to take care of that inner voice – that inner person – can be difficult. However, I urge you to find the time and I am sure you will find those moments that you spend with yourself to be some of the most productive moments of your day.
Taking Time to Pause
I have come to learn that journaling is an opportunity to pause… yes… pause… pause… feel… and just be… I know, sounds scary, doesn’t it? “But there’s so much I still have to do… laundry, dishes, another group fitness class, eat again…” basically fill the space to avoid being by myself. At least that was part of my story. “I don’t have time to journal.” I encourage you to just notice the resistance and continue to be curious.
As I continue to explore the practice of journaling, I’ve come to realize that journaling can also be a way of practicing mindfulness as well.
Jon Kabat-Zinn describes mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” For me, integrating mindfulness in journaling has become another way of slowing down and taking time to get to know myself and connect with myself on a deeper level – from a place of truth and love. My intention as I write is to live from this place and expand outward as I connect with others.
Setting an intention while journaling can be important; it gives purpose. There are days when I may not have an intention, so I usually set an intention to just be open and sometimes an intention surfaces as I write. My intention varies: sometimes its gentleness, compassion, or courage. Other times I am working toward a specific goal. And, there are times I journal about topics just to have some fun. It varies from day to day. There have been times where I simply write the words, “I am enough,” repeatedly until the whole page is filled. Journaling is a wonderful place to write down and work on positive affirmations.
Focus on topics that speak to you. Journaling is your private practice. It can be what you make of it. I hope you find ways to express joy, come to an understanding with grief, or just find the space in your life to connect with yourself and find what you truly want in life.
Extra credit: Want to make your journaling experience even more interesting? As you write, you will become aware of your thought patterns; however, I invite you to really pay attention to the sensations you may feel in your body as you embrace journaling. For example, notice where you might feel expansion, constriction, openness, tightening, warmth, coolness, or tingling. You may notice a feeling of constricting when you are touching on a topic that makes you upset or self-conscious. You may also feel an expansion when you are journaling and you find you’re a-ha moment or when you realize something about yourself that you didn’t see before.
As you notice, see if you can practice simply noticing with non-judgmental awareness. There is so much information available if we just take time to slow down and pay attention.
Talk to us in the comments about how your journaling practice is going so far. What value have you found? What hurdles do you still face in making this a daily habit?