Journal Threads

Journal Writing by Ana L. Palles

Journals have been popular for years. There are journaling classes and journaling groups in every community. And many of us take for granted that we already know the many different uses for journals.

Although we might know, often we don’t put them into practice. We forget how use fullworking with a journal can be! It can help us with career issues, relationships and even our finances.

Journals are threads that help us figure out our feelings about something; paths that call our attention to something important in our lives. They fire up our creativity. One of my favorite uses is pulling out, or discovering, knowledge I didn’t even know I had. I call this communicating with myself.

  1. Communicating with Yourself
  2. Most of us do it. We go round and round in circles figuring out how we really feel about something. Sometimes we’re faced with a decision that we simply can’t make. We do all the right things, reviewing the pros and cons, asking ourselves if we’re better off one way or another and still, we are in a dilemma.

    When I find myself standing at a crossroad with my brain spinning out of control, my stomach tied up in knots, and no closer to an answer, I do a little journaling free flow exercise.

    I like starting this exercise with my own lovely ritual. I feel that it helps my mind and my body get into an open and serene state where I feel that the communication lines are up and all channels are open. Since I’ve done this so many times before, my mind and body recognizes my preparations and I find myself in that peaceful, serene place quite easily.

    How To?

    Find a quiet place and remove all distractions or interruptions. This means no phone, no television, just you, your pen and your journal in a quiet space. Your objective in all of this is to blank your mind. No reacting, judging, or evaluating; just silence in your mind.

    Begin by setting your intent in whatever way works best for you. For me, I sit in prayer for a few moments and call upon my angels and guides for support in whatever I am asking for help with.

    I carefully and specifically ask for only guides and information that is beneficial and useful to me come through. The few moments I spend in silent meditation calms my brain and helps me focus my mind on connecting with spiritual guidance.

    I consciously focus on my breath. Noticing how the breath enters the lungs and fills my body with air.

    Sometimes I spritz the room with a beautiful flower hydrosol or essential oil spray. And sometimes I use incense which creates a sense of reverent preparation.

    Some folks play their singing bowls for a few minutes, letting the vibrations wash over them. Whatever routine you use, relax and go within into a more meditative state.

    After spending a few minutes preparing myself, I feel refreshed and present. This is when I move onto the next step which is formulating my question. I write the question in my journal across the top of the page. I take a few minutes reading and re-reading the question, really focusing my attention on the question. I repeat it slowly to myself and deliberately keep my mind as clear and connected as possible.

    Now I am ready to let messages come through. I stop once again and ask my angels and guides to help. I then read the question to myself once again, very slowly, and let my hand write whatever it wants. I don’t stop and read what is being written, I don’t try to figure it out. I simply let my hand loose upon the page to write whatever comes through. It is surprising to see my hand fly across the paper writing so quickly that my hand can barely keep up. I don’t look at what is coming through while I’m writing because that stops the flow and engages the brain. I simply let myself go. You’ll know when you’re finished. Your hand will stop and you will feel pretty spent.

    Now take a look at what you wrote. Read it without judging it. Just read it out loud and start making connections. What did you want to say to yourself? Treat this as a message from your deepest places getting through. I have found some very profound messages come through for me doing this technique. 

  3. Crafting Change 
  4. When we want change in our lives or just want to shake the cobwebs out of our daily grind, we often find our path forward with our diaries and journals.

    One of the easiest and most effective techniques for creating and manifesting life change is writing your intent in your journal. You don’t need to know how your intent evolves, but identify what you want. Identifying what you want helps you find your life changing paths and see the opportunities open to you.

    So, again, make your intent tangible by writing it in your journal. If you get invited to an event that you would normally turn down, maybe you should reconsider and accept. Sometimes when we least expect it, our dreams are working hard to come true for us. Give yourself a chance. Stay open to possibilities.

    Another way of creating change in your life using your journal is spending time reviewing the past, examining the present, and the imagining the future.

    Rachel, a nurse and teacher who runs a support group for healers keeps a journal to help her with creating positive change in her life. She starts out by asking herself a series of questions that she labels past, present and future.

    Such as, what were my disappointments or sorrows this past year? How did they change me? What has inspired me? What blessings have I received? What blessings have I given? What patterns and behaviours have I noticed in myself? How am I different this year than last? How have I worked with the lessons I’ve learned this year? What do I want to bring about in the coming year? If I could sum up my desires and deepest yearnings of my heart into one sentence, what would that be?

    She sets aside two hours each day over a five day period and answers these questions each day. We can each come up with our own set of questions, some more complex than others, but they all wrap around the same themes.

    Creating change starts by wanting shift in your life. Use your journal as you navigate the changes in your life. 

  5. Finding our Creative Passion
  6. In The Complete Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron discusses restoring one’s creativity by approaching it as a spiritual practice. One of the pivotal tools she describes is the morning pages.

    Put simply, the morning pages are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness: “Oh, god, another morning, I have NOTHING to say. I need to wash the curtains. Did I get my laundry yesterday? Blah, blah, blah …” They might also, more ingloriously, be called brain drain, since that is one of their main functions … The morning pages will teach you to stop judging and just let yourself write. (Cameron, Julia. The Complete Artist’s Way. Penguin, 2007. 25, 27.)

    Don’t even read your morning pages, but use them to clear some of that noise that gets in the way of your creativity. Clear your pipes and let your creativity stream down. Just write.

    Another way we ignite creativity is by journeying in our imagination. When I taught creative writing to my eighth grade students, I brought a photograph or picture from a magazine and had them write a story around it. The kids had a lot of fun with the exercise and I always got some interesting stories. So grab a favorite photo or picture and write about it.

    Even more powerfully, you can inspire your creative self by using guided meditation. We can explore our surroundings and discover interesting things about ourselves in the process. I once did this in a workshop on Brighid, Celtic goddess and Saint. Our instructor made great use of our journals. She set a lovely, meditative state in the room and then told us one of the ancient Celtic legends. The end of the story left us standing at one of Ireland’s sacred wells. Our instructor suggested that we spend a few moments imagining ourselves peering over the beautiful scene. Smelling the thick, green moss covered in moist droplets, listening to the sound of water trickling and feeling the cool air upon our face.

    From there she suggested we look around and see what happened next. Where did this scene take us? Did we meet up with someone? What were they wearing? What did they say? Did we take a walk through a forested path? Did we hear any sounds in nature? What did we smell or taste? How did we feel?

    We spent the next twenty minutes or so writing in our journals what we were experiencing. It was a lovely exercise and one that opened all of us up to a sensory feast. I often go back and reread what I wrote. Each time I do, I relive all the images and feelings that were ignited that day. And it is like a peaceful oasis waiting for me between the pages of my journal.

So pull out your favorite journal and give these different techniques a try. You’ll be surprised at what you discover, and the shifts that begin happening in your everyday life. These journeys are passionate and imaginative experiences. Best of all, you’ll get a tremendous personal benefit.

Try these methods out in any one of our elegant journals.