"Jounals can provide a path way to the inner you." SARK
Nothing changes if nothing changes. Think about it: How often do we wish for change in our lives, drive our friends crazy moaning and wailing about it, and still we're moaning weeks, months, or heaven forbid, even years later. We do the “I can’t because,” and the “If only” routines, sprinkled with various tales of our victimhood by boss, family, significant other, city, the government, weather, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
How are we to effectively address the changes we need to create in our life? You may have developed your way of getting enough information, insight and energy in order to take your life on to the next step of its journey. If you have not, I’d like to share a process that has been of use to many: Keeping a daily journal. The idea of journal writing is certainly not new; what can make it new is the daily practice. Begin with creating sacred space, usually in your home.
Sacred can be defined as that which is apart from the material world, and associated with the spiritual or transpersonal. And then again, sacred can just mean something that is set apart and dedicated to a person, object or purpose. With or without an emphasis on spirit, journal keeping requires set-apart time dedicated to the purpose of knowing ourselves, and directing our lives from this center of knowingness.
A formula that has served many to begin journaling is as follows:
1) Purchase the journal of your choice. It should appeal to you in some way, be easy to write in, and easy to stash in a safe, out-of-the-way place. People ask, “Why not use the computer?” Some do and it works well for them. It is true, however that when we write by hand the more creative aspect of ourselves tends to come out. Just do your thing. What works for you works.
2) Decide where you are most comfortable: A chair?
Desk? The bed? With your back to a corner? Facing windows? The idea is to have command of the space
and be with yourself without being intruded upon.
3) What time of day will best afford you quasi alert quiet time? Are you a morning or evening person? Would you rather get up an hour early, or could you schedule sequestered time best in the evening?
4) Shut down your phone and any other techy devise that will grab your attention. I know. We get obsessed and just have to check! Put a sticky note - or do not disturb sign! - on your closed door. Maybe suggesting that you'll be available in an hour. As much as possible decide not to let yourself be disturbed by anything that goes on while you're in sacred time.
5) Decide if you are helped or hindered by music (most useful without lyrics). Do you want the windows shuttered, drapes drawn, blinds pulled shut, or open to the trees and sky? Take every detail into consideration for creating your space in the best way to enhance your sacred time.
6) Light a candle signifying the start of this journal keeping ritual. Incense works as well. However, the candle flame represents - for some - a metaphor for light-bringing illumination. As such, the flame can be seen as conveying spiritual fire and intentionality, which might enlarge your efforts.
7) Ask the God of Your Understanding for guidance. Or if you don't have a capital G god, simply ask that your time be spent in the service of all that is good, helpful, healing and illuminating.
8) Date the journal entry. Begin by reporting what is going on in your life. Include events and how you feel about them. Remembering that there are 4 main emotions we can begin to recognize: mad, sad, happy, scared. And as we get better at identifying our emotions, we'll notice many many emotions that are shades of those four. Write as if you are addressing a trusted and intimate friend.
9) Then re-read what you just wrote and allow yourself to ask questions about your life right now, starting with who, what, when where and how (good journalism questions) about the process you’ve just described. Write them down.
10) IF you dreamed last night, either at the beginning of the day's journal entry or whenever in the journaling process the dream clarifies for you, pick up another color pen - I like to use red - and record the dream with present tense facts, events and feelings...without interpretation. (Such as: This means that. And that is about this! ) Interpretation comes later. We're getting there. Dream work can be mind-blowing and life-altering. You get to decide how you want to work it. Either with a light touch or in depth. Just writing it down gives our deepest self the message that we are listening....that we care. Like any intimate friendship, attention is what most of us crave. Our unconscious isn't any different. When we demonstrate caring by recording the dream - the message, the story, the images we received while we slept - what do you think will happen? Definitely. Our dream-time, deepest-self unconscious will share more.
11) Next step if you want to continue working in depth: Title the dream.
12) Now sit quietly either with your eyes closed, fixed on the candle flame or other object. Allow your gaze to diffuse so your seeing isn't so sharp. Reflect - contemplate - on what you have. Breathe slowly and deeply. Concentrating on your breath. Thinking of nothing. Just being there. Breathing in and breathing out, seven times. Be still. Wait for illumination...a thought...an image...anything that comes is something.
13) If / when you imagine insightful thoughts don't waste them! Write them down in a 3rd color - I like green or purple for inspired AhHa thoughts. Or insights will give us understanding and direction: This does mean that. That is about this! Right then with insights blowing up in your head, and later when you re-read your journal entries, it often becomes clear that you've actually received THE answer you've been asking for. The 3-color ink systems helps to tell which is which when we re-read our journal.
14) Close your journal.
15) Blow out the candle.
16) Go about your day, or go to sleep, with the anticipation that answers to the questions you asked as you journaled will definitely come.
17) When you begin your journal keeping process the next time, first read the previous journal entries, and make notes about your observations over the last twenty-four hours. Now the magic of journal keeping begins to manifest! You'll become aware that your questions are answered through synchronistic events. Synchronicity is cool. Randomly, for no direct reason - I mean, nobody but YOU knows the questions you asked in your journal. Right? - we get a clear answer. I especially love those answers I receive from a overhead convo at the grocery store. Or I turn on NPR and a speaker is exactly addressing what I am wondering about. Or a person I was wondering about texts. You get the drift. It's almost spooky. Like the Universe listens in on our private struggles and concerns. Loving us. Giving us what we need because we were wise enough to question our life direction.
18) Keep at it. Like fine wine, journaling inspirations grow richer with age.
19) Share your discoveries with intimate friends.
20) Enjoy your mind-blowing wisdom.