The content in this journaling series is from what I shared with my recent in-person journaling class. My original idea was to try and create an online class, but ultimately decided to create a blog series in which to freely share this information.
I feel very passionate about journaling and the great tool it can be in helping to discover more about who we really are, but I find information on journaling is scattered over many places. Also, there’s a lot on bullet journaling (the most popular type of journaling right now), but there isn’t a focus on all the broad possibilities of journaling or why it is so important. I hope through this blog series I can address these things as well as express why I find journaling to be such a vital part of my life.
So let’s start with why I believe journaling is so important. The best way I can do that is to tell you how journaling has affected my life.
I didn’t always journal, and when I did start it was very infrequent. Maybe once a month or two and it remained this way for a while. Usually my journaling was just a dump of negative emotions and when I went back to read what I wrote, I’d become incredibly depressed. Because of this, I decided I didn’t want to write because I didn’t want to depress myself further. I thought “What’s the point?” “Life sucks and it’s nothing but a gaping raw wound. Why make it worse by spilling my crap on purpose?”
Well, what I didn’t realize at the time was that actually writing all that negative stuff out was helping me by releasing that information and setting myself free from it at least for a little bit. But in that period of my life I had dug myself into a pretty dark hole, so even a little bit of light didn’t seem to reach me all the way down there.
Eventually, I decided writing about myself was pointless so I began writing stories about other people that I created from my imagination, and even though I didn’t realize at the time, this form of “journaling” was just as cathartic for me because I was channeling a lot of my pent-up emotions into my writings.
It wasn’t until about three to four years ago that I began to understand how important journaling was to me. Along the way in my fiction-writing journey, I also began to consciously take the time to do journaling. The more I wrote in both, the better I felt about many things, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that something simple but very important dawned on me — I kept going through the same crap over and over again.
So I thought — “What can I do to help break up this frustrating cycle?” I realized I had the answer sitting on my shelf for about a year. My butterfly journal.
Originally, I purchased the journal because I wanted something special to write it but when I got it, the journal was so pretty and perfect I didn’t want to mare it with all my crap. So instead of writing in it, I let it sit. I mean really out of all my personal baggage, what was worthy enough to go in this special book?
Well, in my search for a way to break the cycle of my endless repeat of negative emotions and baggage, I ultimately decided to put the most important ideas, thoughts, and memories in my butterfly book. But I would also include quotes or positive things that touched me and really inspired me.
That’s how I ended up with what I have now. A collection of troubles, but also the things that lifted me up when I needed it most. And every once in awhile, I’ll take a stroll down memory lane and flip through my journal, and those words are there to give me a sense of accomplishment and hope for the future, because I realize that I am working upward toward the light. It’s been a slow and painful journey, but I am getting there, one journal page at a time.
Journaling has changed my life in a very big way. I am incredibly thankful for the gift of time that I have gave myself each and every time I consciously chose to sit down to write in my journal. Some people (and I did this for a long time) make excuses that they don’t have time to journal. But I say, “Why not?” Why not take the time for yourself? Don’t you deserve that one on one time with yourself? Don’t you deserve to discover the best possible you? Don’t you deserve to take a meager ten to fifteen minutes out of your chaotic and demanding day just for you?
But what is journaling exactly? And how do you journal? Are there different ways to journal? You can find out more in the next installment of this series in Journaling Series Part 2: What is Journaling?