everydaybalance

inspirational tools to create life balance in your everyday

using a journal

August8

I cannot remember a time when I did not have at least one journal that I was using. As a child I preferred the tiny journals with pictures of flowers or my favourite cartoon character on it. These days I love journals that feel good and open to lay flat so that the pen moves across them with ease. Spiral ones are great as well because they turn over on to themselves. I love how thick paper soaks up the ink. Cheap spiral journals are great fun to decorate with pictures from magazines, light and easy to throw into a bag and good for a budget. Experiment until you know what works best for you.

When you use a daily journal they become like an old friend. You pull it out of your bag to sit down with a cup of tea and suddenly you are no longer alone. I have sat in comfort at cafes all around the world having magic moments, just my journal and I. I keep my journal with me everywhere. As a writer, you never know where inspiration will hit you. Not long ago, I wrote the poem under “poetry in august” at every red light between Artarmon and Narrabeen (not recommended for mindful driving!).

In your daily life you never know when you will need to pour your heart out on the page. The journal is always there. My journals are rarely re-read. They exist for the present moment and then line the shelves of my bedroom. The people that have lived with me know that there is a sacred confidentiality around journals. These days Peter and I both keep journals and they sit on our bedside tables, private unless read aloud. This gives you the space to let your hair down in your journal and dance with your thoughts, ideas and the mysteries of your emotions. Give yourself the freedom to play on the page.

Regular journal practice has had so many wonderful benefits for me over the years. I find that when I am journaling regularly I am less moody, I am clear about what I am feeling and I reach the goals that I set. I truly believe that when we are able to marinate our thoughts on the page, we move through our days with more ease and understanding of who we are in this present moment.

When starting a regular journaling practice it helps to set a time each day, much in the same way that you would approach a meditation practice. Find yourself a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted and make yourself comfortable. Enjoy the moment. Set your clock for fifteen minutes and begin writing. I was taught not to edit when journaling, allow your thoughts to flow across the page and don’t judge what comes out. It may surprise you! Let it out anyway. These are only thoughts, they happen and are changing all the time. By giving yourself time to air out your thoughts, you give yourself the freedom to feel all of your feelings. When you are finished writing, close your journal. Do not feel the need to re-read what you have written. Give yourself at least a few days and then you can look back.

When, and if, you choose to read over what you have written remember to not judge the writing. This is a safe place for you to make spelling mistakes and just get the thoughts to the page. Looking back on your journals can give you insight into the patterns in your life in regards to your likes, dislikes, struggles and joys.

Drawing support when you first start journaling is a wonderful way to support this practice. Checking in with a friend who is also journaling can be helpful to share your feelings or you can work with a life coach and use this tool as a vehicle for change. Reading books on writing can also be helpful. ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron is a wonderful resource when it comes to using a journal.

Most of all, enjoy your time writing. Your thoughts are a gift and your voice on the page is unique to you.

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