Monthly Archives: March 2014

Journaling and the authentic life

Journaling and the authentic life

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At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. – Lao Tzu 

There are so many voices telling us what to do, what to say, what to wear, even what to think. How do we know what we really want or who we really are? How can we find that still small voice that is our own in the midst of all these other voices?

A journal can help you live an authentic life. It is one of the tools I’m using to discover who I really am and what I really want in life. The wonderful thing about a journal is that it lets you explore your feelings without judging, blaming, or rejecting you. It accepts you for who you are.

I started journaling when I was about 13, in painstakingly perfect cursive handwriting. My diary entries were short and unemotional, merely a phrase or two describing what I’d done that day. A few years later my journal became a best friend with whom I shared all my secrets. Adolescent angst poured onto the page in stream-of-consciousness rants. In my twenties and early thirties, the journal sustained me through break-ups, moves, and self-doubt. I wrote mostly on scraps of paper, finding fancy journals intimidating.

Lately my journal has become a messy catch-all. I buy fancy, but inexpensive, journals, and write as messily as I want about anything that strikes me. I use techniques that I’ve learned in the “Journal to the Self” class, things like Dialogues, Unsent Letters, Clustering, and Captured Moments. I record my dreams. I jot down ideas for creative writing projects. I make lists. I write down inspiring quotes from books I’m reading. Because there are no rules in journaling! You can make your journal whatever you need it to be. By incorporating new journaling techniques, each with its own focus and advantages, I’ve expanded my journal: there are endless possibilities!

In her beautiful book, A Walk Between Heaven and Earth: A Personal Journal on Writing and the Creative Process, Burghild Nina Holzer says,

A journal can be anything! You hear me? A journal can be anything!…You can make it              your sitting practice – a daily meditation, a quiet time with yourself. I like to take mine for a walk, whether my legs move or not. My writing is a walking meditation, I find stillness in movement. My journal is a vision quest, searching for something, entry after entry, finding myself. (p. 11-12)

My journal reminds me of who I am when I feel lost. It helps me to listen to that still small voice inside me that always knows.

Write for 5 minutes about who you are and what you want.