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    Journaling: A Tool for the Spirit

    The fountain of personal wisdom may be as close as your nearest pen.

    That's because the single most essential instrument for nurturing your spirit is a personal journal.

    The word "journal" may mean 100 different things to 100 different people. For a psychologist, it denotes a tool for a patient's self-analysis. For the writer, it may be a notebook of ideas and ramblings. For most of us, the word denotes a day-to-day diary, a log of action and reaction.

    For me, a journal is a notebook of ideas and solutions that I have discovered using my conscious and subconscious mind.

    Journaling is a remarkable device for easing worry and obsession, for identifying hopes and fears and for allowing your creative self to expand, increasing your level of energy and confidence. It harnesses the power to tap into successively deeper layers of your subconscious mind while it zaps the nervous, passive energy that ties your stomach in knots and leads to more guilt and worry.

    Journals are tools to help you discover the wisdom you already possess. Sometimes, this wisdom will surprise you. Other times, it will challenge you. Always, it will come directly from you, empowering you to trust yourself and to take action by giving you the deep-seated knowledge that you know more than you think you do.

    You will have found the answers within yourself, and you will return there for further instruction.

    In addition to revealing your personal insight and wisdom, the journaling process can help dispel feelings of loneliness and confusion by helping you discover a unity within yourself. As your conscious and subconscious mind work together to solve problems in black-and-white, the ideas are validated and more easily applied, even if you never share these ideas with a soul.

    The Art of Journaling

    The act of writing has tremendous potential to tap the subconscious and to arrange conscious thoughts in a clear pattern as words flow from your mind down your arm, into your hand and across the page.

    Banish your internal editor. This is that voice that booms from the darkest recesses of your brain: "You shouldn't be writing that."

    Here are a few tricks to banish this voice.

    • Write quickly, allowing the words to freefall from your subconscious.

    • Keep writing. Don't erase or cross-out any words. If you're heading in a direction you would rather avoid, start a new paragraph. These accidental forays may be telltale signs for issues you need to address. And erasing just takes more time that you could be using to focus on you.

    • Date each entry in your journal. Note the time, place, and any details regarding your mood and emotions that will be necessary for context when you read back on your work.

    Sometimes this Insight is as plain as day. Other times, it will take a little reading between the lines. If the subject is a delicate one, there is nothing wrong with putting off re-reading it for a few hours, days, even weeks. Some entries you may not read again at all. The Insight comes from the act of writing itself, the Insight Line simply helps you discover it.

    Keep the Words Flowing

    There are as many journaling techniques as there are people who practice the craft. The important thing is to explore the underlying layers of your mind--using whatever conduit works for you.

    Get creative with the techniques you use. We all have a subconscious mind that communicates to us in a different way. If you are stuck and have nothing to write, try recording snippets of conversations, facts, feelings, fantasies, descriptions, impressions, quotes, images, and ideas. Draw pictures. Make a collage from a magazine. Use the technique that best suits the way in which you express yourself. You know your own mind and how it best communicates with the world. I promise you'll have an even better sense of the way in which your mind works after the completion of a few journal entries.

    Clustering is one method that works well when the ideas don't flow on their own. Put the central idea in the center of the page and circle it. Then, without pause, make associations, placing them in new bubbles and tying them to the main idea. The result is a complex matrix of ideas, many of which you didn't even know you had. If you wish, compose these thoughts later into a cohesive essay that says exactly what you want to say. Or simply move on.

    Whatever your technique, start mining your subconscious today.

    Copyright © 2000 Susie Michelle Cortright

    Susie Michelle Cortright is the founder and publisher of Momscape, an online magazine devoted to nurturing the nurturers. Read inspiring articles and essays, and register to win free pampering packages.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ

    WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! Kick start your imagination, ignite your creativity, and begin your journey towards becoming an outstanding writer.

    Grab a copy of WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! from and receive 2 free e-books to encourage and nurture the writer in you. You'll also receive Write Memories, a journaling workbook available for free only to WEEKLY WRITES book owners. And finally, as a WEEKLY WRITES book owner, you'll have free access to e-mail courses such as JOYFUL WRITES: Celebrate Your Life through Writing

    For excerpts, reviews and what you need to do to receive the 2 free e-books, Write Memories and sign up for free e-mail courses, just head on to the Weekly Writes Book Official Site. (Clicking on the link will open a new window.)


    The Journaling Life: 21 Types of Journals You Can Create to Express Yourself and Record Pieces of Your Life

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between

    Journaling Kit - Four Journaling Books to help you put your life and memories on paper


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