I keep journaling because I love it. Just like I love to eat. And to walk. And listen to music. I love most everything about keeping a journal.
I love the ritual of drinking coffee in the morning and writing down whatever is in my head.
I love the act of pasting in images I find.
I love charting how I feel, what I’m grateful for, what I am wishing for.
I love saving poems and pasting them in too.
And I love remembering moments and recounting them in words or writing down something someone said to me during the day.
Once I wrote down everything that everyone I met that day said to me. That was particularly fascinating because so many people told me about how busy they were (and quite a few made excuses for it). This led to much journaling about my own use of language and about how I want my schedule to be.
“Writing is the only way I have to explain my own life to myself.” ― Pat Conroy, My Reading Life
For the past several years, I have purchased in late December the new years’ version of Cheryl Thiele’s Sacred Journey Journal. This format has guided my writing and given me structure after years of “free writing”. I needed that after my Mom passed and I felt lost in my writing. I highly recommend her journal to anyone who wants to get started or re-inspired about writing.
I have just come upon a new journal that I will use this upcoming year – Daily Musings Journal by Lisa, the Mountain Mermaid. I love the artistic prompts for daily and weekly entries; this supports the way I write best – in small snippets followed by longer entries. I love the use of color and the inspiration to illustrate where I have been or something in my mind’s eye.
Journaling is self-care for me. It is a meditation practice that creates calm. It is therapy and invites me to work out problems. It is creative expression and supports my gratitude practice.
“These handwritten words in the pages of my journal confirm that from an early age I have experienced each encounter in my life twice: once in the world, and once again on the page.” ― Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice
I don’t profess or aspire to write like my favorite author Terry Tempest Williams. Her writing inspires my life and often guides my work. But my journal allows me to express myself without comparison to others. I am never at my best when I compare my life, my body, my work to others, and so cultivating my interior world with my connection to my journal nurtures myself in ways that other things often do not.
On retreat I watch women create beautiful art in their journal “doodles”, as I photographed here.
And I watch women develop a relationship with themselves and their journals. This inspires my work and also my own journaling. It can be as enriching to journal in a group with other women as it is to sit alone in the forest (or at Starbucks) and write.
Will you write in 2015?
Helene Van Manen / www.coachHelene.com