Journaling as a Spiritual Practice

As a kid, we all probably had diaries.  We kept track of who we liked or doodled our names with the person we had a crush on's last name.  Mine always said "Jessie Posada".  John Posada was a cute little boy in 3rd grade who every single girl had a huge crush on.  My diaries were filled with how much I wanted him to be my boyfriend and how cute he looked that day (too bad he didn't know I existed LOL)  I'd also keep track of when my friends and I were fighting or if Jenny's outfit looked cute or not on any given day.  Or information on the girl we all called "Miss Piggy".  Not because she was overweight, but because she was dating "Kermit", another boy in class (who I have no idea why we even called him Kermit).

Then we grew older and our entries change into our deepest, darket secrets.  Again, most likely, our crushes.  We thought those entries were 100% protected by that little strap that held that teeny weeny little lock with the teeny weeny keys.  And we guarded those keys with our lives.  Then maybe our little brothers or sisters found them and we had to find more secure places to hide them (like under our mattresses....yes, that's a great place to hide our secrets!).

But eventually, we outgrew our diaries, and found the spiritual nature of the journal.  

 A diary is where we keep our private thoughts about daily life.  A journal is a place to explore the deeper parts.

And when we find the deeper things to write about, we end up learning more about ourselves.  The act of writing itself can be extremely spiritual in the fact that by learning more about who we really are, we are learning about humanity as a whole.  And when we learn about humanity, we learn about the nature of life.  Which is probably the most spiritual thing you can do as a human.

Through introspective journaling, we can work out our thoughts and feelings, and even heal old wounds.  We can explore truths and non-truths, past loves and future romances, things we've kept inside of us and the things we keep outside that we never let in.

And there are so many ways we can accomplish these tasks:

  • The meditative state of freewriting, as in Julia Cameron's Morning Pages, can serve as brain dumps that clear out the muck from within so we experience more bliss in our daily lives without anything weighing us down. Check out 750 Words for an online program based upon this idea.  I honestly can't get into this myself, but I do know it works for many people.
  • Guided prompts can lead us to places we've never thought possible.  Places we'd never have thought of on our own.  Check out this list of 15 self-discovery prompts
  • You can write a letter to the person you're angry at.  You can be horrible, and mean, and say things you'd never say in real life.  Then either throw it away or delete it.  And and then rewrite it with a clear head, if sending it is something you need to do.  Or you can keep an Unsent Letter journal, which is a place you can store all of your unsent letters.  This is a type of journaling because it gets out your anger, and reduces great amounts of stress in your daily life 
  • You can write about spirituality.  As either a religious or an agnostic person, you can write about common beliefs in the world, and how you apply your own life principles to them.  Like "Is there a god?" or "What is existence?"  Or as an atheist, you can journal about experiences you've had up until now with "god" and how it differs coming from a place where "god" can mean anything, rather than some dude sitting up on a cloud watching over us.  You can write about how science can be spiritual or how you've found spirituality in nature.
  • You can write about an illness and how it's changed your life for the worse and for the better. 
  • The list goes on and on!

Journaling isn't just for young teenage girls, it's for everyone, including men.  We can write out our lives in a way that we can't speak about it.  We can figure things out and become better people after doing so.  

Many years ago, I once wrote a horribly sad journal entry about how much I hated the world, and all the people in it.  I was so sick and tired of being treated like there was something "wrong" with way I live my life (or actually more so, my personality), that it all just built up and came out in a journal entry.  When I wrote, I took every single person who ever hurt me in my life (and that I was still letting hurt me because of my anger) and basically told them to "fuck off".  Then as I wrote, and wrote and wrote, I started understanding how terribly messed up those people were, because of the terribly messed up things that they experienced in life.  And then something I never expected to happen, happened: I started to forgive them.  I started to see life through their eyes and understood why they were so mean or so angry or selfish.  And I started to see that I wasn't a sweet little princess either.   I did have a part to play in my own hurt.  I wasn't the only victim.  And upon realizing this, I could let my anger go.  My huge list, came down to two people: one was an ex-boyfriend who used to hit me and the other was my mother.  These were the two I had to work on forgiving and letting go of the pain they caused me.  All the other ones were just in the past.  And I could finally accept that.  

Journaling is one of the most healing things you can do for yourself.  And being in touch with my own inner-self like that, healed me more than any therapist ever did.  Not that therapy isn't great, because it is, but journaling should be something we're taught from day one, that all humans on earth should do.  We'd all be a lot more mentally healthy and we'd deal with life's ups and downs in a more productive way if we had.  

Sitting down each day, pen in hand, in a quiet place (or somewhere with headphones and good music), is a spiritual retreat in itself.  Taking time for you to record your feelings or even just what you ate that day or what the weather is like, is "you" time.  And that, my friend, can make all the difference in your life.  

Do you journal?  If so, do you keep a written one or an online one?  If not, what's holding you back? One woman I knew said she was scared of her kids finding her journal if she died.  I say, so what?  Let them know you.  Leaving journals behind for others to read can help them mourn you after you're gone as well as know who you really were.  But if that idea scares you, get a lock box to store them in and hide the key.  Because in reality, journaling is just for you, and you alone.  Nobody has a right to read your private life without your consent.  But at the same time, feel free to give consent to those you truly trust.  

But I honestly hope you consider getting a journal if you don't have one already.  You can get a spiral notebook, or a fancy expensive one.  It doesn't matter what it is, it just has to feel right to you.  Just grab your book, get a cup of whatever you like to drink, go to a private place in your home, outside, or in your own mind, and write.

I promise, you won't be sorry.  

Do you have an inspiring journaling story to share?  Or you do have a blog about journaling?  Share it below!  I'd love to expand my mind some more and learn more about journaling 😊

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