Good Stuff: Keeping a Journal

Self-Expression

I was recently given a great  book recommendation by a new friend of mine called The Artist’s Way by Juila Cameron.  I was surprised that I had never heard about the book before.  I instantly fell in love with it.  It is all about unlocking or unblocking your creativity.  I won’t go into the entire book, but I highly recommend adding it to your reading list.

One of the things I feel is most helpful about this process is what the author calls Morning Pages.  It is essentially keeping a daily journal.  The Morning Pages are a mandatory part of the process.  You must write three pages each morning before the start of your day.  I have intermittently kept a journal, but I was never consistent.  I have had a lifelong fear of keeping a journal.  My always said that it appeared that those who kept a journal met an untimely death.  I also had a fear of someone reading my journal.  Those fears were so instilled in me that it kept me from enjoying the act of journaling.  As a writer, I was ashamed of not journaling.  It felt like something I needed to do.  Even non-writers  journal their thoughts in some way.

Now that I have made this commitment to a daily journal, I have already reaped the benefits.  My thoughts are clearer.  Writing in my journal every morning seems to sweep all of the mental clutter our of my mind.  I feel more focused.  Keeping a journal is personal so there is no reason to feel pressure.  My old fear of someone finding my journal lead me to feel that everything I wrote had to be perfect.  I would revise my entries and monitor the thoughts and ideas I really wanted to write about for fear that they would be discovered and used to harm me in some way.  Keeping a journal is just for you.  It does not have to be perfect.  I would advise this to everyone.

If you do not keep a journal, here are some things to keep in mind once you start:

  • No pressure  Your journal does not have to be Pulitzer-worthy.  It is just a way for you to express yourself and organize your thoughts
  • Don’t hold back  How will you grow if you are not honest with yourself?  If you fear your thoughts will be discovered, lock your journal away.  Don’t feel bad about keeping part of yourself to yourself.
  • Be consistent  Sometimes your trusted confidant may not be available to bounce ideas off of or  to give you advice.  This is your opportunity to gain answers for yourself.  We all need to trust our own judgement.  Journaling can be a type of meditation.  Think of it as mental exercise.  Being consistent will keep your mind in shape and aid it in growing stronger.

R&R – Replenish and Renew

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Growing up Christian Scientist, I have always looked to natural and/or spiritual solutions for any health problem.  Fortunately, all of my health problems have been minor and short-lived, but there were issues nonetheless.  Aside from my religious beliefs, I have always remained conscious about what goes in and on my body.  It has always been my understanding that any health problem I may have is a result of something in my body that needs to be repaired or replenished.  So, it is logical that there is nothing artificial that can replenish or repair my body.

I have been a long-time believer in natural healing.   I only seek natural/spiritual cures for anything that threatens my physical and mental well-being.  I have often been questioned about my methods effectiveness.  My answer has always been that my goal is to prevent the problem from happening as much as possible by taking care of yourself as a whole.  I focus on not only my body, but also my mind.  I feel that it is important to replenish and repair your body with what my body is lacking and not bombarding it with artificial chemicals and pollutants.

Here is a list of some of the things I do to stay healthy:

  • Meditate  Quieting the mind allows you to open yourself to many of the answers you seek in life.
  • Eat whole food  I make a conscious effort to eat what is natural and what I can consume without processing.  I steer clear of processed and refined sugars.  I do this by eating things that closely resemble how you would find them in nature.  For example, I can’t find pasta growing on trees or planted in the ground so I have chosen to delete it from my diet (this also includes bread)
  • Journal  I keep a daily journal.  The journal helps me identify any changes to my lifestyle that may have influenced my health.  By keeping a journal I can pinpoint when a problem started and what was going on that may have caused it.  I could have been a food I ate or an upsetting incident, etc.
  • Exercise  I try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day.  I usually exercise more, but I make it mandatory for me to exercise at least 30 minutes each day.
  • Find something you enjoy  It could be listening to music, daydreaming, or reading a book.  The main thing is to make it happen at least for part of your day.  We need to put something in our everyday lives that uplifts us and makes us happy.

This is my list.  I would like to encourage all of us to come up with a plan for a healthy life.  Your list may be different from mine as we all have different needs, but the best way to start is to identify those needs.

Write on Wednesday #15

book-genre

Today’s Writing Prompt:  Create a new personality “disorder”, but instead of the issue being a negative one, make it positive (i.e. “permanent smile syndrome” or “obsessive happiness”).  Create causes, symptoms and “treatments”.

There seems to be a ton of new drugs and labels assigned to what I feel to be normal behavior.  I think it would be a great exercise to focus on the good things and to be able to recognize and encourage them.  We should also identify the things in our lives that give us joy and happiness and actively infuse those things into every day.

Living Your True Colors

Eric Tonningsen's Awakening to Awareness

“We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly. Spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order.” ~ Susan Taylor

This past weekend I attended a Toastmasters conference at which there was a good mix of generations, though the largest representation consisted of Baby Boomers. In multiple conversations, I explored the intersection between being authentic, honest and open, and communicating. After all, it was a gathering of Toastmasters so the topic was relevant.

With lead-in variations, I would remark that in a world where success is defined by money, and happiness is just a weight-loss plan away, many of us have lost sight of our most valuable asset: our true selves. Then I’d ask many with whom I spoke, “What, in your view, constitutes being in good faith?” “And how can we, as fairly well-developed messengers, communicate with even more authenticity?

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Write on Wednesday #14

Today’s Writing Prompt:  Have you ever thought about what the world would be like if everyone had access to all the same things in equal measure (education, food, money).  How would the world be different?  How would you be different?  If there were no “haves” or “have nots” how would the dynamics of society change?

Write on Wednesday #13

writing

Today’s Writing Prompt:  Imagine that out of the five senses you are only allowed to keep one.  Which one would you keep and why? OR  You must take away one of your five senses and keep the other four.  Explain why you make the decision and how you plan to adjust.