October 16, 2014

How to Have a Relationship with our Minds.

Walt Stoneburner/Flickr

“Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind.”

~ Natalie Goldberg

Your life is worth writing about.

Regardless of where you come from, what you have experienced, who you know, when you were born, or why you exist, one thing is absolute: we are all on this earth for a finite period of time, and no one will experience this magnificent, mystifying, wild blip of life exactly the way you do.

It’s one of the most delicious paradoxes: we humans are all children of Source connected through some great creative mystery, and yet each one of us can touch the snowy branch of a pine and have a completely unique response to that simple incident.

Keeping a journal is one way to honor our individual experiences in life. It’s also a way to develop a long-term, deeply loving relationship with your mind.

Why a Journal?

Journals are records of our lives. Not just what we did or who we saw that day—although that may be an aspect of many entries—but a chronicle of our time on this planet, in this life, as us. The practice of keeping a journal is very much like practicing meditation. It focuses our attention, quiets our racing thoughtsmand leaves us more aware of and open to the world around us.

If you’ve ever lost track of time doing something you love, you’ll know what a powerfully healing gift that can be. Journal-writing is transformative in the same way.

A journal can be a traveling partner, a confidante, a best friend. Writing in it offers us a restorative time of solitude. Those around us will benefit as well. It’s amazing how much energy we can give back to others when we take a few minutes a day to ourselves, for ourselves.

What if I’m Not a Writer?

Writing is communication. If you can talk, you can write.

It’s true that many us were scared off by writing while in school. There were a lot of rules about style and structure. Many of us felt immense pressure to sound as smart as a textbook or as eloquent as Shakespeare. So, the thought of writing on a regular basis might feel about as fun as signing up to take the SATs every day of your life.

In fact, a journal is a place of non-judgment. Your words, as you wish to write them. No one needs to read your entries unless you care to share them. And that’s another gift that journal-writing can give: Your words can be shared with future generations. After you’re no longer dancing your unique dance on this earth, your words can live on to benefit your children, their children, and onward.

How Do I Start?

Find a blank notebook you love and a pen. Sit down somewhere that makes you happy. Get writing.

Remember, no one sees the world like you do. Your life is worth writing about. And you’re the best author for the job.

Exercise: Try these journal-writing prompts.

>> What’s in front of you? Describe it.
>> What was your first thought this morning? Isolate it and elaborate.
>> If you had a different first name, what would it be and why?
>> What was the last thing you whispered? Tell the story.
>> Who makes you laugh? Write about him/her.
>> Choose something in the room. Tell the story of how it got here.

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Walt Stoneburner/Flickr

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