I was listening to a podcast today on the healing power of journaling. I have to agree, there is something magical about engaging in a daily practice of writing. I am not talking about Dear Diary, The boy (YOU KNOW WHO!!!!) who sits in front of me in math class borrowed my pencil, I thought I would die. As a 13-year-old, this was important journaling. But as an adult, I find journaling to be very cathartic and informative in a different way.
I became a committed journaler the first time my heart was broken. I poured my anger, hopes and dreams onto pages and squirrelled them away, never to be seen by human eyes again. It was a way for me to let the flow of thoughts out of my head and onto a surface that I could read as an outsider. Sometimes those thoughts didn’t make sense, just random rambling feelings that needed to get out of my brain. More often than not, the words tumbled out and I would read them and be shocked about my thoughts of feelings. It was as if I wasn’t the author but had a young girl lived within who was writing profound thoughts. Reading it back helped me sort through thoughts and feelings in ways I didn’t know I needed.
There is something magical about flow. Cursive writing becomes butchered when I handwrite but is a very fluid way. The words become strung together and become a secret code that only I can read. This was helpful when my exhusband found my journals and was reading them. I worried about him ever finding the pages and then fearing his wrath. I vowed never to write anything down that you didn’t want anyone to read. Looking back I think I wanted him to read the entries. That is ultimately what helped with my transition. Words have a way of knowing what you need.
Editing your entries are unproductive. Write with a reckless abandon. You don’t have to know what you need to write about, it will just come. I find in these times I write what I need, not what I want. When I look over my thoughts, sometimes profound words of wisdom pop up and I highlight those words to be used in projects or write the words on my arms and legs for daily reminders that my soul knows me better than I know myself and it makes sense to listen to her. She has not steered me wrong yet. It is only when I listen to others that I get into trouble. Through journaling and meditation, I am learning to trust myself, my gut is never wrong. It leads me down roads that I have to travel. The reason may not be clear until later, but its always a good one.
As I have aged, I find I write more observation and how it makes me feel rather than judgements. I watch behaviour as if I am a therapist and then think about the why. I struggle with acceptance and values, morals and obligations. I just know what I want in my life and what I don’t. Journaling has taught me that. Through observation, I have also learned you are who you surround yourself with. I want to surround myself with nice people who treat vulnerable people with respect and protect them from harm. Simple, kind and honest people are who I seek out. Life is not that complicated.
I find I write more when I am sad or angry. When I am happy I am not that inspired and I will engage in photography instead. Photos capture my happy feelings in ways descriptive words cannot. But deep melancholy and soulful thoughts just flow from my pen when I am struggling with people and actions. I have written volumes of journal entries this year but I have also taken thousands of photos. Life is funny.
Writing it out helps you figure that out.