Last week I was asked to write a guest post on journal writing by a wonderful woman who is an internationally known author, singer, and creative mentor who uses and teaches journal writing as a healing modality. My post will be published on December 13th, but because it will be under my real name – and I write Anonymously here – I won’t be linking up. However, I can publish it here and now. Because it had to be 600 words or less, I edited quite a bit out. Maybe in the future I’ll expand on my own journal practice in future posts.
Diaries! That place where your secrets were kept, secrets needing to be protected from the watchful eyes of parents and snoopy little brothers. I can still see myself laying on the bed, my bedroom door closed, filling pages with big loopy lettering made in No. 2 pencil. I wrote about other girls, first periods and first bras. I poured out my heart when I wasn’t invited to a party. I chronicled my parents fights, and that night I accidentally discovered them naked in the pool.
I wrote about boys. A LOT!
There was something exciting about each new diary started. They whispered of POSSIBILITIES. NEW BEGINNINGS. FRESH STARTS.
I’m not sure when diaries became ‘journals’. Little hard-bound books were eventually replaced by steno pads and spiral notebooks. It didn’t matter what they were called, though. That FRESH START feeling didn’t change.
In the 70’s, I wrote out all the angst and longing of a teenager that didn’t feel like she fit in and so desperately wanted to. In the 80’s, my journal absorbed the crazy-hot desire of a single 20something trying to make her way in the world, where I often waxed poetic. Words poured out of me, filling empty hours and a deep-rooted need for self-expression. I wrote about other girls, who was dating who and the heartbreak of not being invited to a party. I chronicled the liberation of not living under my parents’ roof.
And I wrote about boys. A LOT!
It was after my first child was born in 1986 that my “Morning Time” was also born. Working full-time, I found it easier to stay awake after his 5 am feeding than to go back to bed for an hour. It didn’t take long before I discovered the treasures to be found in the quiet solitude of Predawn. I would sit at the dining table with my coffee and journal, gazing out the window while body and mind awoke. I watched the changing seasons of my life reflected in the big Maple tree in our backyard, and I wrote and prayed. Intentions were set for the new day, my head and my heart purged, and blessings counted. During the brief periods when I didn’t practice it, I felt the difference – and not in a good way.
30 years later, I can still be found in the wee hours with my journal and coffee although, thanks to menopause, it’s more like 3 a.m. (I wrote through THAT, too!). While the hour and view has changed, my journaling journey hasn’t. It’s still the best friend ready to listen without judgment, the husband who never zones out, the psychiatrist who doesn’t requirement payment or an appointment. And perhaps, most profoundly, it’s the Ear of God that’s always Present.
After nearly 50 years, I’ve journaled my way through marriages, divorces, births, deaths, and more sorrows and joys than I can count. Most recently I wrote my way through a breast cancer diagnosis and 18 months of treatment. Frankly, I don’t know how I would’ve survived without it. Writing is healing. It’s cathartic. It’s revelatory. It’s doesn’t care if I’m happy or scared, strong or weak, or blonde, bald or gray (smiling).
A journal is unconditional in its acceptance of all the Flawesomeness of my life. All I have to do is show up – authentically and faithfully – to reap it’s magic:
The Alchemy of my Soul.