Monday, February 21, 2011

Why I Love My Journalling Practice

Learning to quiet our minds in this fast paced society is a constant battle.  I have kept a journal most of my life, and have found it to be one of the best ways to process and cleanse the clutter in my mind.

Why keep a journal:

After reading several books for yogis, artists, and all those looking to find some inner peace; I have discovered the the practice of keeping a journal is recommended by several individuals, including myself, to manage and release all the excess data in our heads. 

In yoga and meditation the mind is often compared to a monkey that constantly jumps and swings from thought to thought with no real destination.  The "monkey mind" is the source of most individuals lack of focus, and is both frustrating and exhausting.

In meditation our goal is to control that hyper monkey, but it's not always that easy is it.  Everyday I journal first thing as it is a way to get all of those thoughts out of my head.  Once these ideas, lists, conversations, etc. have been put to paper they rest quietly on the page and out of my head.

Another reason to keep a journal is it is a great way to discover the messages of your subconscious self.  After a period of time you may find patterns and links that warn you, and guide you through your life's path.  All the noise from relationships, computers, work, and life in general often over power the messages are hearts are trying to make us aware of.  In your journal you are in a place without judgment or censorship, and you may find yourself surprised by the words that you have kept with in yourself.

How to keep a journal:

The first and the most exciting part is get yourself a journal.  Check out the handmade journals from Etsy that are as unique as you, or just use some paper and keep it in a folder.

I do highly recommend keeping a handwritten journal and NOT the computer.  Our minds tend to be less critical and more focused with good old fashioned pen and ink.

As mentioned earlier I have found it most beneficial to write first thing with my breakfast.  The mind is still in a state of relaxation, and you have the benefit of starting your day with more clarity.  Listen to your body though the best part of this tool is there are NO RULES, and what works best for me may not be best for you.

Do however write in your journal whenever you are feeling overwhelmed, confused, or anxious.  Step back take five minutes or so, and spill your guts.  You'll find the weight will have been released after putting your thoughts on paper.

If you are still wanting more guidance I highly recommend reading and working through the book "The Artist Way" by Julia Cameron as she goes into detail about keeping a journal and has great activities/prompts to get you started.   Don't be deceived by the title you don't have to be an artist in the traditional sense this book was written for business men and painters a like looking to get unstuck.

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