Why keep a journal?

imageAbout a year and a half ago, my spiritual director recommended that I keep a journal.  That is a practice I started way back in high school, but it had become hit and miss over the years.  At times of crisis or transition, I would always return to journaling because I knew it was a way for me get in touch with my thoughts and feelings.  Writing would help me to get below the surface and enable me to reflect on my current situation and put it in context.  But once the crisis was over, or somewhat resolved, I would set aside my notebook or put it back on the shelf.

Journaling seems to be rising in popularity.  I was surprised to learn that my daughter, Lynne Dorner, a Certified Holistic Health Coach, mentioned it in her bestselling book: “101+ Secrets from Nutrition School.”  One of her teachers was Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way.  She presented writing “morning pages” as a way to be open to the creative process and to discover changes that you want to make in your life.  It helped inspire my daughter to follow her dream of writing a book that would help people lead healthier lives.

For me, journaling has an intentional spiritual component.  Writing morning pages is like taking my “spiritual temperature.”  Where am I in my relationship with God?  What are my prayer requests?  How can I be more open to the Spirit?  How is God speaking to me today?

These are some of the prompts that I use to start writing.  But there are some days, like this week, that I just sit with a blank page in front of me and say: “Ok, God, I’m listening for your still small voice.”  And then I listen.  Sometimes I will start doodling or even grab some magazines and start making a collage.  I find that tearing pictures or words out of a book or magazine, those that speak to me, helps me to find my deepest self and what I am yearning for in my heart.

I encourage you to start writing, even for just a few minutes every day.  If the words don’t come, start doodling or making a collage.  Images will form, and your deepest self will be revealed.  It can get you through any storm, or stir the waters if need be.

Get a plain notebook, or treat yourself to a fancy journal, and begin taking your spiritual temperature.  You might be surprised at what surfaces.  Journaling stands ready to lead you and guide you to a happier and healthier life.

For more information on journaling and related topics, check out these resources:

http://www.LynneDorner.com and her book’s website http://www.nutritionschoolsecrets.com

http://www.sacredlifearts.com and Sibyl Dana Reynolds links to

Sacred Writing Practices for Women Who Write

The Center for Journal Therapy:  http://journaltherapy.com

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron: http://juliacameronlive.com/

The Artist’s Rule by Christine Valters Painter: http://www.abbeyofthearts.com

 

 

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