Journaling. The very word suggests a journey, only this one more ethereal, one of the mind and spirit. Take the time to explore your emotions. Write down what inspires or concerns you, even those things that puzzle you, and see solutions begin to take shape.
With its roots as far back as the beginning of time, journaling has long been a way to express emotion and clarify thought. Think of the drawings discovered in prehistoric caves, creations far and away more than interesting pictures. Consider the writings of Old Testament scholars who, after generations of the word passed down by mouth, inscribed the story on parchment, thereby preserving it for future generations. And then move forward, stopping to think about journals kept by explorers Lewis and Clark in early America, by Theodore Roosevelt in 1880 on a visit to his future wife or by those like Anne Frank, imprisoned by the Nazis. Journals give insight into personal lives but also provide snapshots for future generations of what life was like back when.
Time would often attempt to rob us of the opportunity to journal, however. From those smart souls who have learned the value of every moment, here are some suggestions to help you get the most from your journey inward:
Find a favorite spot, be it a lap desk and a screened-in porch, a computer poolside or a favorite desk in the corner of your bedroom. Go there often to think out loud about what is on your mind.
Never force yourself to journal. Instead, write when you feel called to write. Many times, this author has partially written pieces with the intention of completing them later. Better half done than not at all.
Don”t be afraid to write when the moment moves you. Keeping a pad by your bed is an excellent way to capture thoughts that come in the night.
Stay up late or get up early to cure ringing phones, barking dogs or inquisitive kids.
Let your mind wander, grabbing onto whatever it yearns to express and to get insight about what matters most to you.
Don”t delete! Save your thoughts so someday you can relive the moment. One minister writes dates and brief comments in the margin of his Bible next to verses that speak strongly to him. Later he can connect with how he was feeling at a given moment and see his growth.
Realize the wisdom of releasing fears and concerns onto paper or a computer screen, thereby freeing you to move on from something that may be blocking you.
Refuse to let distractions prevent personal productivity. Close your mind to whatever is going on around you, and just write. Later, you”ll appreciate the verbal scrapbook that will remind you not only of where you were and of how you were feeling but will show growth and progress.