I have been thinking a lot about how my journal has changed my life and been instrumental to my growth and development. It has been with me all along this winding journey and I am so grateful. I have been journaling since I was little, whether it was to record lists, tell stories, or recount the sordid details of an affair of the heart. For more than 30 years my journal has been my constant companion.
When I am coaching people through life transitions, I often refer to the roles we assume throughout our lives and how they change whether we want them to or not. Upon reflection, it appears that my journal has also changed as I have, becoming what I need it to be, without question, and without judgment. It has been my best friend. It has been witness to my greatest failures and greatest triumphs. It has heard my cries of pain, fear and rejection as well as hollers of pride, success and glee. From secret holder to peace maker, my journal has played several significant roles:
Secret Holder: This is where it all began, circa 1980, when I got my first diary. It would be the place where I would write everything that I felt, everything that I didn't want anyone to know that is! Over the next 30 years it would be where I expressed the truth even if it didn't make me look good. When I wrote my book, "What If They Knew? Secrets of an Impressive Woman", it was as if I was writing in my journal; I experienced these feelings simultaneously: complete safety and complete vulnerability.
Task Master: Whenever I am on the verge of being overwhelmed (one of my big secrets is that this happens to me occasionally because I take on too much) I lean on my journal for support. With pen in hand, I am able to dissect any project, regardless of the size, into to manageable parts and see my way through with grace and confidence. It makes me feel accomplished even before I begin, I love it!
Dream Weaver: I have always believed that if dreams were written down, they would be more likely to come true. There have been many times in my life when my dreams were so big, I felt like nobody would support them, so I turned to my journal to protect them until it was time to share with the world. I am a writer, not a painter, but I have drawn pictures of my wedding dress, house on the lake, and images of the life of my dreams because I wanted to make them come alive. It makes make me happy to know that I have shared and that these dreams are on the way.
List Saver: I have been a chronic list maker for as long as I can remember, and my journal has held hundreds: places I want to visit, fun things to try for the first time, wishes for the future, presents to buy for others, presents to buy for myself, healthy meal ideas, favorite movies, books that changed my life, inspiring quotes, and so much more.
Progress Tracker: I have used my journal to record the progress that I am making toward goals I set. Recently, I incorporated a suggestion by peak-performance expert, Brendon Burchard into my current daily ritual. Each month, I choose an intention (it's great to choose a trait that you will really need to make the most progress toward your big goals) like, "I am organized" (that's mine for August), and at the end of each day, I list those things that I did to support that intention or that I received as a reward because I was true to that intention. I hold the intention in the forefront of my mind when I am making choices and then celebrate my success each evening. Of course, it also gives me the opportunity to see where I may improve but there is always tomorrow.
Daily Reminder: In a similar fashion as the Progress Tracker, a great role of the journal is to provide a daily reminder of what is truly the most important way you can be that day. By beginning each day with a written affirmation such as, "I am Happy" you will set the tone for the day and send a message to your subconscious mind that this is true. It will raise your vibration and allow you to attract those things which make you happy throughout the day. I love writing my affirmation on the top of my to-do list every day.
Peace-Maker: There have been times when my insides did not match what the outside world could see. This bubbly, friendly extrovert had a lot of repressed anger, disappointment, and guilt settled in her stomach and her journal slowly showed her that it was okay to let it go. I have found that journaling about my deepest fears has brought me to a peaceful place where I have found forgiveness for myself and for others. It has brought me to a knowing that I could not find any other way. Perhaps it is because I am a writer; other people may find this same peace through talking or another physical outlet. All I know is that without this process, I would not be who I am today.
As a daily practice, I recommended journaling to all my coaching clients as a way to safely express how they are feeling and for all the other reasons I listed above. Journalling is a healthy way to express negative emotions and work through the mire that comes with self-examination too. It has helped me heal as I have tapped into the deep recesses of my soul. The process anchors me and provides me with a ritual where, every day, I honor the truth of who I am. Isn't that beautiful?
I go to bed with a smile on my face every night because the last thing I do before turning out the light is record my blessings. This grace and gratitude is available to you, too. Allow it into your life.
Do you have a practice that you'd like to share? Our readers are always looking for great tips so please comment below or email me privately. If you'd like to learn about more daily rituals that will bring you greater peace of mind and clarity, click here to learn more about my coaching program Finding Grace & Gratitude.
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