This no longer seems like a good idea for a simple reason: no time. And yet, here I am with an intention to show up and respond to your question. I have grabbed a few journals out of the bookcase where I stash them -- below is what was left behind.
I know, right? You might think, "well, Elizabeth . . . you are old -- maybe this is just a lifetime of scribbling each morning" . . um, sad truth alert? This particular bunch of journals only marks the journey since about 2006 ish . . . so, seven years?
I KNOW, right?
Which brings me to your question: "how, what and why you journal?"
Yeah sure-- I have a thousand answers to those questions and in a perfect world I would have a solid eleven months to expound upon all the dimensions wrapped up within those questions about one of the central activities of my life. However, as mentioned above, I got no time, baby!
In this moment, it is 7:30 am -- I have to feed Daisy, get her out for a good walk, get dressed (possibly wash my face, but that is often optional), feed me, answer personal emails, BLOG<--!! since I set myself to do that every day this month of November, eep -- get my apartment cleaned up for weekend guests arriving this afternoon (hi Bella and Angie!) and be at the office asap as I have bucket loads of Squam work that is calling to me (which means, in reality, that I will be at the office for most of Sunday).
Nothing huge, nothing unlike any other human being getting the day underway when life is rolling out the door . . . and yet, in order to have MY morning, I got up at 6 am -- lit candles, burned some sage, settled into my white chair and journaled a bit with some music going-- thrilling, I know.
The point is: there is never "enough" time. Not ever. Whether it is journaling you make a priority in your life, or the gym, or yoga or reading or painting -- whatever it is -- you gotta simply show up and use whatever you have.
For you and me this morning, my dear Scottish lass, we now have about nine minutes remaining before I must shut this laptop and go.
So answer # 1: HOW? Show up. Pen to paper-- brain dump -- nothing fancy, nothing shaped, simply write whatever is running across your brain with no judgement, no analysis. NOTE: choose your best time of day. Obvs, I am a morning person -- I could never keep a journaling practice at night. But maybe lunchtime is your best time of day? or evening snuggled into your bed with a cup of tea? You have to align with YOUR best energies, for sure.
Okay, seven minutes left.
What do you journal about? My life. Now, this will differ for each of us. Me? I am all about the soul growth. I want to do better, be better, experience the joy of life more deeply, more consistently and understand the pain of life so as to be a compassionate witness to myself and others.
BO-RING. I know! (I know!)
But that's why I journal -- to try and make sense of what happens in my life, and be honest. I also read widely and tend to capture quotes, passages from what I am reading into the journal with notes and prompts to myself -- so it is also a place of reflection.
I just grabbed one of the old journals here next to me that I pulled out for your photographs above. I thought I would simply type out a passage-- but it's too much for this format. I dive deep and don't edit myself in any way -- and, if you think I am Pollyanna in the real world-- oh dear lord, my scribblings here would have you running for a stand-up comedy bar in the bowels of an urban setting where some acerbic sarcasm would provide a strong tonic to the vibration of my focus on the light.
Bottom line? I write for me. This isn't for public consumption at all. It's a personal exercise in spiritual and creative growth. Although, one thing I have learned since starting Squam -- the creative journey IS the spiritual journey. If you really invest and commit to expressing yourself through some creative means -- doesn't matter what: writing, painting, drawing, gardening, weaving, knitting, sewing, cooking, photography -- it. doesn't. matter. -- if you pour your HEART into it and want to improve from a place of joy, you will grow your spirit.
It is just what happens.
So that bring me to your last question: WHY?
Because I was so unhappy in this world for so long. I didn't understand what the point was and was pretty keen on checking out. I now no longer feel that way at all. (of course, let the record show, I am always ready to go-- anytime -- so if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, just know I love you and it's all good).
A HUGE change for me was not worrying about someone I love in pain. Not my job. I honor any and all choices they make. They wanna be a heroin addict? They wanna know what that life experience is all about? I will honor their choice. It's not how I want to live-- but I honor their choice since I know nothing about their karma or how they are seeking to grow their soul in this lifetime. So, someone I love is taking a hard road? committed to depression, committed to anger, committed to physical illness, you name it-- I will honor their path and not process their life choices as my pain.
Does that make any sense? I am typing SO fast here-- I simply don't know what is coming through. Basically, my work is to live MY life and anyone else's behaviors, choices, etc is none of my fucking business, ahem. (THANK you, Byron Katie!)
So, challenges show up for me every day. Of course they do. That's life. How I respond to these challenges has totally changed.
I now see the EXPERIENCE of life as a wild romp through a very challenging physical terrain.
Big hills! Wild, untamed river that must be crossed! Endless desert that has me spiraling in circles!
I still know pain. I still know sorrow. I still know grief. The difference is that I experience ALL of that through the lens of joy, light and love.
Journaling has given me that.
And so? I keep showing up.
Darling girl-- I must fly now-- more soonest--