Are you a committed journaler? A wanna-be journaler? An off and on journaler?
Journaling has been an essential part of my journey. Journaling has helped me make all of the key decisions in my life, it has helped me make meaning during times of heartbreak and frustration, it has been a repository for the poems that needed to be written and the words from the soul that weren't heard until they formed themselves on the page.
And yet, I have been an on and off journaler and I know there is even more potential in those pages that I have left untapped. Now, in the middle of my life, I can feel the urge to start writing down some family stories for my nieces and nephews. I also feel the gravitas of wanting to live the years ahead with great consciousness - and I know that journalling is a key to that.
My mentor, Marlene Schiwy, wrote a deep and thorough book about journaling - A Voice of Her Own: Woman and the Journal Writing Journey. In it she gives the following reasons for journaling:
to broaden self-awareness
to explore personal identity
to have a trustworthy confidante
to pour out feelings and emotions onto paper
to create continuity in our lives
to preserve memories of ourselves, of people and of events
to cope with discontinuity, change, loss, grief
to explore creative impulses
to capture ideas for stories, poems and other projects
to record and explore dreams
to celebrate accomplishments and successes
to engage in a dialogue with the world around us
to discover what is sacred in our lives
to deepen our spiritual journeys
to remember beloved family members and friends
to understand the story of our lives
to sort out thoughts and clarify ideas
to survive traumatic circumstances
to take stock of our lives, from time to time
to clarify our life’s purposes
to reap the wisdom of the unconscious
Wow. Sounds good, right? Who wouldn't want to journal after reading that list?
So, how about a couple of opportunities to support yourself in making journaling more of a commitment?
I am offering a short creative journaling course through the Creative Grief Studio (and if you aren't into journaling, there are a whole whack of awesome courses being offered). In this course we will be using the myth of Demeter and Persephone as a jumping off point for our journaling so you never have to worry about coming up with something to write - it's the perfect way to re-ignite your journaling fire. Over the course of a week I will be giving you journaling techniques (I don't want to call them prompts because they are more instructive that that) that you will be able to return to again and over the course of your journaling life to reap all the benefits from the list above. The week of journaling will be bookended by two phone calls and supported by a dedicated online forum space that will allow time for connection and sharing. I am really excited about what I have put together for this course - I just finished a 9 month exploration of the myth of Demeter and Persephone and I can't wait to invite you into yourself via this ancient, archetypal story. It is a story of loss, of unbridled grief, of parents and children, of women in transition, of reclaiming and reconnecting with ourselves and of deep feminine wisdom. This myth was used for centuries in Ancient Greece as part of the initiation rites into the Eleusinian Mysteries. So there's that. too. If you feel called to join this myth adventure - sign-up here.
The second journal support offering is from creative and artist Lisa Sonora Beam. She has had great response in the past to her 30 Day Journal Project and she is offering it again starting July 1st. Completely free, Lisa and friends will give you prompts, ideas, and ways to connect with fellow journalers. Lisa is an artist so if you are curious about adding a visual element to your journaling this will be the place to explore that.
As I finish typing this, I have beside me on my desk a pile of reflective journals from my students in my psychology class - reading these journals tells me more about what they have learned than any test ever could. In the same way, for us, there is something about that quiet space on the page that takes us deeper than any Facebook update or personality test - it brings us home.