Originally, it was teenage scribbles. “Dear Diary… Lance sure is cute.” Then in college it peeked into some deep existential ponderings. Or maybe just more talk of cute guys, fantasies of European travel, and how excited I was to get Prince tickets AND see Pat Benatar.
Then as a mom, it became scrapbook memories when my boys were young. “Andrew came down the stairs this morning wearing 8 shirts” and “Tyler said today “if you ask me what the weirdest thing on earth is, I’d have to say people.’”
I’m glad for the snippets I recorded, especially things my sons said and did that would have fallen out of my memory. I’ve also used journals as travel logs to keep track of the small happenings that occur on vacation en route to the Big Destination and the nuances of nature, people watching, amusement parks, and animal spotting.
My jottings in recent years began again as what I call joy journaling. Some call it gratitude journaling. Simply writing down the things you are thankful for each day is more than enough reason to get a journal. There is big power in gratitude and it has changed my life.
My love affair with journaling has gone to new levels this year. In the past nine months, I have filled four journals. I journal every morning. Some people need coffee to start their day, I need to put pen to paper.
Writing untangles me. It’s as if my innards sometimes are knotted up shoelaces. Journaling unravels it peacefully and easily. There is no frustration or impatience. There is no hurry or worry. As I write, clarity comes. Ideas come. Calm comes.
I close my journal each morning smiling. I feel good to go about my day and my life. It’s like a renewed energy pours forth. Sometimes I write to recount and process. Sometimes I write to ask myself the deeper questions.
The answers we seek are always inside of us.
I have a conversation within the pages. I write: Dear Divine Wisdom in Me, blah blah blah and I pose a question. Then usually I get a question back. So I write that as if dictation and then I answer. Then I get another question or comment. I write a response. It’s a dialogue that helps me discern.
For a while, there was a stretch when my answer every morning was “Stop thinking so much!” I know I am not the only one to overthink, overanalyze and overcomplicate. I get messages every day or inspiration. Some are like fortune cookies: Be open to surprises.
What journaling does for me is ground me. It centers me. It brings me to that place of internal wisdom that is the true guide. I have some segments that someday may be shared as books or blog posts, but for now I am grateful for the clarity and direction I receive.
When it comes to decisions that need to be made, I get out of my head and into my journal. Typing on the keyboard is pretty good, but there is a different connection with the heart when we write with pen on paper.
A fellow blogger asked me what was my greatest benefit in journaling. So many pop up. Grounding. Centering. Clarity. Calm. Peace. Relaxation. Wisdom. Inspiration. Discernment. Guidance.
For me, journaling is my mediation time. It quiets me. It soothes me. It uplifts me. I no longer use a journal to vent frustrations or espouse anything. I use it as a tool to get back in touch with me. I have a GPS in me and its clear signal comes through when I take time to plug in each morning.
If I had to nail down one reason for journaling, it is that it keeps me on track. The simple act of writing in the morning, never knowing what is going to happen, keeps me on my path where I am happiest. That is huge. And that is enough.