Why Journal? The power of putting pen to paper.Mar 16, 2022
I first started writing a journal when I was pregnant with my daughter almost 30 years ago.
Wanted to record my feelings whilst pregnant, the changes that were happening to my body and myself. It was an opportunity to reflect and capture a moment in time.
I was also studying to teach yoga and although it wasn’t a requirement of my course at the time, recording self reflection is now part of BWY teacher training and it is something that I have noticed all of my students struggle with.
It can be a challenge when faced with a blank page, it can be a challenge to record your thoughts. Its like admitting to yourself all is not well. Its not easy but knowing your thoughts isa start.
Why do this?
Why do we need to know our thoughts?
It will help us to get a sense of perspective and over time understand ourselves better.
You might want to track your progress with something in particular.
But more simply you might just want to hang out with your thoughts for a bit of time.
I always remind people that these words are not for anyone else to read.
You are giving yourself some time and space to reflect. ponder, wonder, dream, observe your feelings, consider your actions. The list goes on.
Just saying that we often open our mouths to relative strangers and speak our thoughts. Thats for another blog post. Mindful speaking.
For now, let us get back to journaling and why it’s good idea.
Putting pen to paper is taking action and owning your words.
The artists way was published in 1992. The sub title is A spiritual path to higher creativity. It is also seen as a book about personal development. It’s a good book to begin with if you are looking for help or inspiration with journaling.
The reasons why I encourage students to journal are many and I will try and explain this in a bit of free thought here.
It is a tool to clear your mind. If you have a problem or feeling of overwhelm emptying your head of thoughts can help to feel relief. You get an over view of what is on your mind. I ask students to look at the words and see if there is a theme, a repetition of any sorts, look at what is coming up. Circle those words and go deeper, question these feelings, thoughts emotions. Name them.
Remember that thoughts, feelings and emotions change in both intensity and with time.
Nothing is permanent.
You can throw the page away.
With practice it gets easier.
In the artists way and other similar systems it is suggested that you journal everyday. A friend of mine sets a timer for 20 mins and only writes for that amount of time.
Remember that we are not writing a book here, its just your thoughts and in a morning practice its going to be your first thoughts.
It is just emptying your mind so that you find clarity.
It is also a mediation practice and the word practice is always important in any sort of personal and professional development.
The aim is to acme more proficient at understanding yourself.
The practiced skills of focus will help to strengthen your mind and perhaps if you are working with issues then eventually there will be a resolve of sorts, or perhaps peace of mind.
WRITING BY HAND RATHER THAN TYPING.
The action of putting pen to paper has a sense of permanence. We are not creating a work of art, for me the messier it is the better. But the sheer act of seeing the ink on the page is a creative process. We start to look at how we write, what is our writing tool, what colours are we using.
What is the quality of the paper or the book that we are writing on. Then what about where are writing, what is our environment like. Do we need quiet space or are we happier in with noise. By asking what makes the experience better we are beginning to take control over our time, place and purpose.
There was a time when time for myself was scarce. The concept of balance can seem elusive as a parent of young children, time moves fast and I was the one managing the dynamic energy of routine and structure for everyone else. Me time was a unicorn.
As I began to see the value of journalling in my life I stared to set my alarm for an hour before everyone else woke up. I loved creeping about my home in the dark, being really careful not to wake anyone up. This was my time and it was precious to me. I needed to clear my head before my day began.
Time has changed for me now that my family have grown up, I have more of it but journalling is a life practice for me. I need to do it and I enjoy it.
Most of the time I write the same thing, wherever I am in the world, I love to watch the morning light. Not a lot changes but in my journal I see a sense of gratitude for where I am now in my head, heart and place.
It has taken me years cultivate this sense of clam and it is an on going process. A life in work. Inner peace and clam are not a given. It takes skill to be aware of what we need to make us feel happy, secure, and at peace with ourselves.
You don’t have to be on a spiritual journey or need to feel that a lack of creativity is going to prevent you from benefiting from journaling. It might be something that you do occasionally.
Stepping back and reflecting on your day, savouring and remembering the good times helps to reinforce feelings of happiness and inner peace.
A good habit will replace bad one.
My journals also become a place where I put things, little notes, reminders of good times, tickets to events, photos, post cards But it is a place were I have worked through challenges and learned a lot about myself.
I also happen to love stationary. I love stationary shops, pens paper and all the trimmings. Paper clips, stickers, post notes. Therefore finding the perfect book to store my inner self is specific to me and I encourage students to find something that they will enjoy using, be that a particular pen and the quality of paper. But don’t wait for the perfect thing, this will evolve over time. Just begin.
I highly recommend these note books that have been consciously formed by Jess Howard who during lockdown created materestudio.com. Jess drew from her experiences in design and everyday life, alongside her penchant for unique materials to create a collection of products to be enjoyed on a tactile and sensory level.
I will be giving away her beautiful new note books from her 2022 spring collection to those who attend my days of yoga. These books are formed using waste from coffee processing, along with post consumer waste fibres. Each cover is distinctively textured with letter press detail.
I would love to hear your comments on this, beginner or long time practitioner
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