I have written, sketched, collaged and doodled in journals for several years. I remember when I was around 12 my uncle gave me a journal and told me he’d pay me $1 for each entry I wrote, up to $15. I think I wrote 15 entries in just a few short days. Nothing like having the motivation of getting paid to write! That experience introduced me to the world of exploring my deeper self through words. I wrote off and on for years.
About 10 years ago I read The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron and that’s when I fell in love with what she calls “morning pages.” It’s basically writing, as much as you can, first thing in the morning. Writing without thinking about it. That was a new concept for me when I first started. It was hard to not think. But the more I practiced the easier it came. My writings were filled with questions, reflections, confusions, frustrations, and celebrations. The more I wrote, the more clarity I discovered.
After finishing The Artist’s Way, I didn’t write morning pages everyday, but I did visit my journal regularly. My journals have become my old friends. I can look back at them and see where I’ve come from. I can see my struggles. I can see my patterns. I can see my fears. I can see how I longed to be me, to live a life that was true to my nature, one where I felt alive, vibrant and free.
Through writing, I have created visual reminders in my journal. I can return to them when I’m lost and confused. I can trust them, and they help me awaken to that place that I know is always there. I now can say I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, and I believe my journaling practice has helped me get here.
My journal used to be much more black and white. I would paint and sketch from time to time, but mostly I loved the freedom of a simple black pen on white paper. It’s only more recently that I discovered my great passion and joy for art journaling. I now merge my love of free-form (no thinking) writing, with my love for intuitive (no thinking) painting, to express a deeper side of myself.
I journal because it makes me feel safe. I journal because it helps me build strength. I journal because I discover new dreams. I journal because it helps me find peace of mind. I journal because it gets me out of my head and connected to my heart. I journal because I long to go deeper. I journal to learn more about me and this life I’m living. I journal to stay grounded. I journal to explore my creativity. I journal because it helps me remember that all of the answers I ever need in life are within me, and that I am right where I need to be in this moment.
Your Personal Reflection: Do you journal? If so, why do you journal? If you’ve never tried journaling, what other forms of free-form, intuitive expression have you allowed yourself to explore?
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