What are you grateful for today? Or could be a who? Or both? Hopefully lots of each.
When I journal tonight, the first thing on my gratitude list will be my newly unwrapped journal. Made by paperblanks, in the UK, which is where I first found and bought this particular style. I value it for its beautiful cover, its hand bound back, its luscious lined paper. No matter what page I am on, the journal lies flat. It welcomes me. Just as its fourteen predecessors have.
Do you journal? Have you ever? What has the experience been like for you?
Do you keep your old journals, perhaps in a hidden place with instructions for a loved one to destroy them on your death? Do you burn them, offering them as a sacred gift to the universe, a saying good-bye to the past? Do you throw them away?
I'm inclined to keep mine. In fact, I share excerpts on my website. Pam, my Abundance Art graphic designer aptly put it when she said "It's like you're inviting people into your life." Which I am. I feel called to do it.
Deeply, passionately called. Maybe my pain and healing can inspire and encourage someone else.
I first journaled over 25 years ago. March 10, 1991, less than two weeks after my mother died in her sleep at the age of 64. My first entry reads "Heart attack. 50% of all diabetic heart attacks are silent. Mom always was a quiet sort." I would journal sporadically, analyzing the correctness of my grief and anger as if there was a right or wrong way. Writing down excerpts from books I was reading, as if that would sort me out. I stopped after a year.
It would be eight years before I took up the practice again, this time a gratitude journal as I strove desperately to document happiness when deep inside I was broken. An unhealthy marriage had taken its toll on me.
I was so frozen for so long.
Ahhhh … a brief pluviophile respite! There on Feb 2, 2000, I wrote "The rain! The rain! The rain! Awesome thunder through the evening." Even back then, those drops of water and rumbly thunder were balm for my soul.
Now my journals are filled with emotions across the spectrum - no hiding from rage! - and lots of illustrations using water color pencils. Dialogues with myself as inner parent and inner child (a technique learned from Self Parenting by John K Pollard and Linda Nusbaum). And oh! How I love my inner child! I'm so glad I met her and fell in love with her along the way!
I had learned to allow the wisdom of my body, including my brain, explore whatever shows up.
Guess what? Life shows up.
I see now that in my early journaling, there was an unrealized fear that someone would read and judge. Oh, little girl! I'm so thankful we got over that! I'm proud of my outpouring of these last eight years, in the darkest of times, when hope peeked in, when I saw the light at the end of the tunnel only to have it snuffed out… for now, not forever. I'm living safely in the light now, saying hello to the darkness when it appears. I'm raw, honest, real.
There's a different energy, as I use the resources I've learned through years of trauma healing. The energy that's poured into the paper has started to flow through my body and into my life. My healing path continues.
What kind of path are you on? If you haven't journaled, does it feel like something you'd like to do? The only advice I want to offer is that you choose a journal that welcomes you in. Think comfort. For it just might become your refuge.
Come now into my journal, explore the words and images of my journey, including poems. Be inspired and encouraged in your own path. You can start here, where you'll find the Journal section with its own introduction. If you prefer to dive right in, start with Wondrous Healing and navigate to other entries with the navigation bar at the bottom of each page. (see below, which is also a hyperlink - cool!)