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Meditation? No….

Prayer? No….

Exercise? No….

All of these are excellent practices. And I’ve used them all, at various times through this journey, but they are not THE most important. There’s one practice that I cannot live without and it is…

JOURNALING

Some say, “Yuck”. Some say, “Wha??” and some have all kinds of excuses why they don’t journal. For me, journaling has help me reconnect to my soul.

It may, or may not, be for you. Neither of my two girls journal. Maybe they just don’t feel the urge. I don’t recall journaling much in the beginning of this transitory period. Maybe if I had, it would have turned out smoother.

Finding Your Style

My style of journaling has evolved as I have. For awhile, when I was first on my own again, I wrote page after page. There were so many crazy thoughts going on in my head. I was unraveling ideas of how Life ought to be turning out. My style of journaling went from one of complaining about Life and how unfair everything was, to something much deeper, useful and proactive.

In the beginning, though, Life wasn’t turning out like I planned…and I was pissed.

I found writing/journaling very soothing. I was able to just blurt it out all over the page. Nobody was going to see the pages. I didn’t keep them and I honestly don’t remember what wrote on them all those years ago as I struggled with leaving an abusive relationship and discovering who I really was. (still doing that!). Writing helped me return to who I was and helped me express what i liked, what I didn’t like, what I felt was “right” and “okay” and all that was “wrong”. And, many times, I was able to write myself right into understanding someone else’s point of view.

Writing saved me. I wrote nonsense, at first. I felt like I was going crazy at times, and the act of writing grounded me. Now that I’m in a healthier place, it might have been interesting to read back on the pages I wrote. But really, they just didn’t make sense after I’d written them. It was a hard period of my life. I couldn’t appreciate the process at the time. I was hurting badly, emotionally traumatized, and I really wanted to be somewhere else. I cringed at the thought of someone finding those pages after I was dead and gone, or out of the house, so I burned them. I’ve burned lots of journals….

Morning Pages

The pages served their purpose though, and I guess they weren’t meant to be saved. Even today, I rarely look back at what I read. Now I use a form of journaling I learned from Julia Cameron – “Morning Pages”. I have periods of consistency. I’m not what you would call “consistent”. Like I said, it’s a practice. There is nowhere to get to, nothing to attain.

I do my best, and sometimes not my best, to show up on the page. It works best for me when I arise early, say 5:30 a.m., and I can luxuriate in my morning before I have to get going or get my daughter up and going. At that time of the day, I can take my time and write the requisite 3 pages, not judging, not editing, not thinking at all. Just writing. Stream of consciousness, whatever arises. And Julia Cameron is right. At that moment when you think you can’t think of anything else to put on the page, that’s the time when creativity is beginning to have it’s way with you. I love hanging on long enough to get some juiciness down on the page. It never fails to be breakthrough material of some sort.

Practice Makes Perfect, Practice, Practice

The important thing to note is that we have all these practices available to us. Practices that we work at, to help move us through Life. I like to think of them as tools. There’s a time and place for each. I’m interested to know, do you journal? Do you do morning pages? Meditate? Prayer? Silence? Art? I’ve done a variety of all of these over the years, picking and choosing what works. I want to be careful to remain flexible, flowing, consciously choosing what my soul needs to become the best expression of myself. I’m not very disciplined, I guess you’d say. I’m okay with that, more now than ever. I used to beat myself up internally for not sticking to a practice. I know Life flows easier for me when I do them. I also know I’ve come a long way and have put myself through unnecessary suffering by not allowing that flow, blocking it with self-diminishing thoughts and beliefs. Practice. Gentle. Love….

Tell me what you know…