I have a piece of art that was given to my by my youngest daughter for my birthday. It goes like this:
Writing is the process one follows to learn what is already known deep within:It sharpens the spirit, disciplines the mind and leads to solutionsIn the spaces between words and solitude observe what happens when words and silence meet.Words matter. Pay attention. Write to learn what you know.By Mary Anne Radmacher
I have found tremendous healing through the process of journaling. It is so that as I put pen to paper (or fingertips to keys) the words start to flow and out comes the depth of my soul. Sometimes I go back and read my words and am surprised at what came out. I didn’t know I knew what I knew.
Journaling is a profound step in listening to your self. Taking the time to spend with your self and writing what your thoughts and feelings are is taking the time to listen. Perhaps we find that we need someone to listen to us when we are struggling. But there is something about taking that time for your self. I am a verbal processor. I find that sometimes in speaking what I need and how I feel is all I need to find my answers. The person at the other end doesn’t have to do much more than listen to me; they don’t have to advise me or give me their opinion. They only have to sit with me and listen to me. Writing/journaling is like that. We can process our feelings and we are giving ourselves validity that we exists in ourselves a “knowing” that is right for us. And really no one else can give it to us. We have to give it to ourselves. I feel like it is the “secret of life” to finally figure out that all our needs can really be met within “our selves” and actually can only be met “within” our selves. We won’t find it outside of us.
If we are struggling with something going on inside us, it is time to take heed, as I believe it is our soul wrestling with our head, trying to tell us to stop, listen, you have something to pay attention to with you. Our western society struggles with being quiet and listening. We have become fast-paced with so many things going on in our lives that we don’t take time to be with ourselves. And if we start to feel uncomfortable inside, it is merely our soul asking us to pay attention. And if we have a sense of emptiness and/or loneliness, it is time to listen to what we already know deep within us. And what better way to learn about that process than to journal.
I have books of journals that I have written over 20 years. These journals started about a year before I really went through some major depression. I believe that year before when I started journaling, I was searching and trying to make sense of what was going on inside of me. I had everything going for me on the outside, yet, there was this sense of something missing, something more that was needed. And as I went deeper into depression, it became more and more apparent that I needed to do something that would give me some answers. I searched outside of myself and kept hitting dead ends and so I went inside and I started to write. It was a long road to recovery (or at least it seemed long then), about a year. But it was through my writing that I discovered many answers that I wasn’t paying attention to before.
Take some time, get out your journal and begin to spend time just “free writing”. I like what Julian Cameron suggests, in her book The Artist’s Way. She suggests writing morning pages, which is to fill four pages a day without thinking. She calls it a brain drain and you write as fast as you can, just write, don’t think about it, don’t edit it. Let yourself empty out. And through that process you can learn a lot about yourself, how you are feeling, and maybe what you need to bring into your life to be more loving towards yourself. Because in this face-paced world, we often do for everyone else and we leave our self-care as the last thing. And how dishonoring is that? We have to make ourselves a priority and take the time, even a few minutes a day to quiet down, reflect, listen, and learn about what we are feeling inside of ourselves.
Watson Pfeifer, J Journal To The Soul, Wholeness Healing Today, 2 (5)
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