I’ve been journalling on and off since I was at least 16. And it has always been an invaluable tool in processing my thoughts and emotions, keeping me rooted in myself. In fact, it is the ritual I must engage in first before I write, producing these blog posts.
It helps to clear my mind, exploring what’s going on on the inside and leaving me in an empty enough space to listen clearly and create.
But as a whole, it has always been a tool for self discovery and understanding.
And it’s not just me. A lot of people over history have espoused the importance of journaling, of regularly writing down your thoughts. It is an invaluable tool.
“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.”Christina Baldwin
Journalling can take many forms, there is no right or wrong way to do it. There is just your way. For some people, journaling is basically having a diary, recording your thoughts and feelings about the passing days like you were talking to a trusted confidante. For others, it is more like a planner, making record of tasks to be done and people to meet. At the end of the day, they both result in a record, a personal history that can be revisited and re-explored.
As for the frequency of journalling, that is also up to you. You could journal every day or every week or every month as you like. Life happens, things get in the way. Sometimes you find the time and discipline to journal daily for weeks on end. And then things get busy and you may get distracted. Going months before returning to the pen and page. That’s okay, just get back on the horse. Return to the practice.
It could also be in any format you like. You could choose the pen and paper, or record voice notes to yourself on your phone or make videos. What matters is that you have a place to record your thoughts. I personally prefer to use dedicated software as my journal space.
Journaling can be passive, recording the events and experiences of the day or active, designing and planning what you want to do, or a hybrid of both.
Which is what I have been exploring with journalling – infusing the classic idea of using the journal as a record with the concept of using the journal as a guide, a framework for yourself – a means of evaluating and keeping yourself on track.
Over the past few years, I got into augmenting my yearly planners and creating an easily accessible record of the plans and goals I had for the year. This document, this book essentially becomes my totem. What actually made it work so well was that it was combined with the thing that i would use almost everyday – the planner. So everyday, every week as I planned and prepped, as I realigned on what I needed to get done. In every meeting where I had to record notes, I was reminded of my goals and purpose.
Keeping my goals and aspirations in front of you constantly helps to keep you on track.
It is so easy in this world, to be swept up by the demands of the day to day, the ever revolving wheels of capitalism and the almost never ending barrage of apocalyptic problems, that we live years being carried by the flow instead of being led by our inner spirit. We live disconnected from ourselves. To combat that, the journal is one of the most powerful and important tools.
It helps us stay connected to ourselves, staying awake, staying conscious, staying moving in the right direction. Our minds get cluttered, and our souls get troubled by concerns of our days. Journaling offers us a place to unburden ourselves, to empty our minds and get some perspective.
It gives us something, a yardstick to measure ourselves by, something to hold ourselves accountable. Once we have written our goals and intents, we commit ourselves to them. They are an indisputable record of the thing that we have intended to do. They serve as a reminder and a call to action.
It serves as a record of our lives, a chance to over view, a chance to remember, to learn from ourselves, to see how far we have come. Life is long, but time moves fast. Before we know it, the days turn to months and the years to decades. Having a library of journals allows us to travel down memory lane, to trace our paths, to understand the past and draw strength for the present.
And with all these wonderful benefits of journaling, the practice is one way to deepen our human experience, to engage more skilfully and to live by design.