Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Power of Journal Writing

I have often been asked about journal writing and how I do it. One of the blessings of sharing is that it solidifies my beliefs in the benefits and helps further ingrain my commitment to the practice.

First off I think that eventually it needs to be adapted in such a way that is beneficial to each individual. With that said, I do know that the practice of regular journal writing is the very exercise that does lead to that unique discovery of our true selves and what specifically works for each of us in all areas of life. But I also know that in the beginning of this quest to become a journal writer and before that deep, inner treasure is found, it is helpful to have someone who has already taken that path share some of their experience and discoveries. Thus it would be beneficial to follow someone's practice for a time to get a general feel for it, but always staying focused on the internal experience in order to fine tune and personalize it.

The first recommendation I would make is to read The Miracle of the Morning Pages by Julia Cameron. It can be downloaded on kindle and is really just a short essay on the benefits of writing in what she calls "morning pages" and she gives tips about when to do it and how.

What I have found to be beneficial is to write by hand. I have lengthy journals written on a computer and I do feel there are certain benefits from that form of writing, but I also know the magic of hand writing. I do both but lately more hand written with a pen that I love writing with.  One thing I have discovered from my quiet experience in this beautiful awareness process is the benefit of making a simple task pleasant.

I like to write in my journal first thing in the morning when my surroundings are serene and quiet. I like to have a diffuser going to fill the air with a pleasant aroma and I sometimes light an essential oil candle. I have especially benefited when I take my this little ritual into a natural setting.

I no longer write the events of the day unless it is to express gratitude or to document a powerful truth I have learned from my experience. I feel like my photos on my camera can adequately document the events of the day. I mainly try to write feelings of my heart and whatever comes to mind. Sometimes my journal acts as a way to purge negative feelings, but I strive to understand my personal frustrations and then turn them into a positive way to deal with them.

 I especially like to start my morning ritual with prayer, scriptures, and then journal writing. It has often been said that we pray to talk to our Heavenly Father, we read scriptures to have Him talk to us, and I add; we write that which we have learned to imprint it on our hearts, thoughts, and beliefs, and then write commitments about how we intend to act accordingly. Journal writing, for me, has joined prayer and scriptures and become my third witness of truth.

Writing in my journal after reading my scriptures gives me something very profound to write about. I benefit immensely from taking a truth found in scriptures and then making it personally applicable and connecting it with my experiences. It is miraculous how relevant what I happen to read that day is to what is happening in my life. As I discover truth in the scriptures, I discover where I fall short and as I honestly write about my weaknesses and mistakes, I benefit from dealing with them in the light of that handwritten admission of my shortcomings. I thus learn immense gratitude that because of my Savior, I don't have to be defined by my sins. Making that connection by writing about it has increased my faith and optimism.

Feeling grateful is an important part of my journal writing. I experience more to be grateful for as I write what I already appreciate.  Expressions of joy are also an important exercise in what I write. I discover more of what brings me joy as I write about what has already brought me joy.

I challenge any one reading this to put it to the test and find out for yourself what joy can be found in journal writing. And then please share it with others. Pay it forward.

No comments: