How it started
I first began keeping a diary when I was 11 or 12 after reading The Diary of Anne Frank. Learning about her life from her diary entries inspired me to keep one of my own, just in case future people wanted to learn about me. I was a young, self-absorbed tween, cut me some slack. This was keeping a diary, however, not journaling.
I would write about every little thing that happened to me and how I felt about it. Going back I can read about my first kiss and how slimy it felt. I can read about my first heartbreak and how devastated I was. I can relive meeting my current love and how annoying I found him back then. All of my trips and adventures, from my tween years through my 20s I have recorded in dozens of diaries.
How it shifted
When I had kids, my writing fell off a bit (having small children is not really conducive to having time to yourself). But as I aged, the tone and purpose of my journaling changed. My writing became less about recording what happened and more about my feelings. I wrote letters to people (that I didn’t send) to work through my struggles with them. I wrote about my desires, disappointments, frustrations, and worries.
The more I studied yoga and meditation, the more I dove into this form of journaling. I was no longer recording my life, instead I was figuring out what I was feeling and why I did the things that I did. My writing was stream of consciousness, bullet points, poetry, run-on sentences. Sometimes I doodled pictures, or placed photos or stickers on the pages. Feelings poured out on the pages as tears flowed from my eyes. I always feel better after I write.
What it’s all about
I have found this type of writing to be cathartic, a type of release. It is also incredibly informative. I often start with a question to myself, something I have been struggling with, or if I just feel stuck or emotionally paralyzed. When I start to write, uncensored, I allow my thoughts to move through my pen. I prefer pen to paper, rather than typing, as I feel like it taps into my subconscious a bit better. Connecting to my body in this way, helps me connect to what’s in my mind and heart. Whatever comes to my mind goes onto the paper, in whatever form it appears. I don’t think about what I write, I just write.
There is no planning, no worrying about spelling, no thought to creating an essay of any sort. This writing is for no one else but me. Sometimes my words flow out as a poem with stanzas that all start the same way. Other times the thoughts come so fast, I just write bullet points. I might revisit the bullet points and flesh them out a bit more, or I might leave them as they are. The point is not to follow the rules that you learned in English class, it’s just free flow.
This free flow allows you to tap into what is under the surface, all of the thoughts and emotions that you usually censor. By connecting to the feelings that drive your behavior, it helps you understand the beliefs behind the feelings. There are so many beliefs that we hold as truths that actually aren’t. When you can let go of those beliefs, and figure out what is actually true, healing happens. You are enough, you are not a burden, and you are worthy of being loved.
Join me on Wednesday, August 16th or Tuesday, August 29th at 11am EDT for a FREE webinar, “Embrace, Express, Empower: Exploring Your Emotions and What is Holding You Back!” Click here to register! If you can’t make it live, the webinars will be recorded and emailed to you.
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