I began keeping a journal when I was in my teens. The first one a had was one of those black & white marble-covered composition books the you use in the States. I filled it’s pages with my first attempts at poetry and short stories, as well as whatever was burdening or brightening my budding spirit.
In the meantime I have almost an entire shelf filled with the journals I have kept over the years. I graduated from the composition books to those black hard-cover booklets with red corners, then on to leather-bound notebooks I found on sales one time (I brought the last three they had!). It’s amazing to pull one off that shelf at random, and dive back into the person I was in college or during the early years of my marriage. In those days before the internet and online blogs, I printed out entire passages from books that had an indelible impact on my life, as well as quotes and the names of songs that became interwoven into the unique soundtrack of my life. It’s interesting, too, to discover which things that so moved me back then and now have sunk into total insignificance, just as it can be frustrating to recognize myself struggling with certain bad habits or obstacles as clearly today as I did back then.
It wasn’t until a bit later that I would put more structure into the cathartic practice of writing my journal. Instead of simply allowing my writing to follow any path it wanted to take based on the external or (more often) internal happenings in my life, I experimented more and more with different types of journaling exercises to further uncover the truth about the person I am – and to explore in depth the things that make me tick, hum and sing. I found myself writing about everything from what talents and gifts I wanted to be able to make use of in my career to how I envisaged spending my time as I grow older.
Whether you are a person for whom writing is already a way to free and explore your spirit or you are someone who has often thought about keeping a journal but never really gotten around to starting one, I’ve developed a selection of journaling exercises for you.
TO GET STARTED
I’ll be posting three different journaling exercises from tomorrow till Friday. Each one will have a different slant and address different aspects of your life.
- Before you begin, it’s best to separate yourself from any and all distractions. That means turning off the TV or radio, switching your cell phone to “vibrate”, and maybe even ignoring the door bell.
- Give yourself a minute or two to center yourself…to quiet your mind…to concentrate.
- Read through the exercise once or twice.
- Then – for 30 minutes – WRITE : Any- and everything that comes into your mind about how this subject resonates with you
How do you feel when you are finished? Do you feel liberated and relaxed or did something plop up onto the surface of your consciousness that irritates, frustrates or saddens you? Before you get back to the busy-ness of life, at the very bottom of the page write down the one word that best describes your mood!
If there is anything you’d like to ask or share about any of the exercises, please feel free to post it in the comments section or – if it’s more personal – to me directly.
WHAT COMES NEXT?
If three exercises aren’t enough and you’d like to keep up the journaling momentum, contact me! I have put together a journal with two weeks worth of journaling exercises, and I’d will send you a copy.