Writing
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Journaling to Free the Soul

I am now writing on a light-weight, unlined journal. In an earlier blog post, I wrote about moving away from spiral, lined notebooks because I felt the need for change. It wasn’t until I opened the new unlined journal that I realized that there is an advantage to writing on the same type of notebooks. When I first opened the new journal to write an entry, my mind went as blank as the page that was staring back at me – it was as though my mind didn’t know what to do with the blank page.

I am also a trying-to-be painter and I usually doodle and play around with paint on drawing books or drawing pads. Thus, when I opened the unlined journal, my mind couldn’t decide whether I would write or draw.

Julia Cameron, in The Right to Write, tells us to begin where we are. I tried that and although it took a while before I was able to write anything, eventually I began writing…I wrote the date on the lower right corner of the second page. And on the next page, I wrote a couple of paragraphs explaining how I found the journal. Whew!

That was more than a month ago, and my mind has by now gotten used to the idea that blank pages are also for writing on. Writing on a blank page has been liberating in a way, and has given me the opportunity to explore writing in different sizes on a single page, or varying the spaces between lines –  to add variety to the journaling process and exercise the brain a bit.

But the pervading feeling of something being amiss continued to plague me. I had been journaling far too long perhaps, writing on the pages about how I felt, and extracting whatever I could from my experiences.

Journaling has centered mostly on my spiritual journey. Thinking back, I had been journaling the most during the dark and darkest nights of my soul. Those were the days when I grabbed my journal often and filled up a notebook within a few weeks.

Through the decades, my spiritual journey has progressed. As it is with everything that is nurtured, the time comes when the darkness gives way to light, and light begins to pervade everything in varying degrees. This is what has happened to my spiritual life – I had finally reached a place where light is my companion and the dark days are now grayish, beige or brown…no more black days.

I realized that journaling about my darkest years ( and I had plenty) had become a habit, and now that I am, so to speak enjoying the fruits of braving those dark nights of the soul, my mind has found it hard to find the impetus to journal.

Journaling through the difficult times had been one of the most valuable tools in my spiritual journey. It felt liberating to be able to release the dense energies by writing down my feelings on the page.  Admittedly, although I had tried many times to do morning pages, it has never worked for me. I love to journal with intent and purpose, to write my feelings as a way to heal.

I didn’t know  then that what I had been doing is called, transformative writing or reflective writing. I learned this from listening to Mark Matousek during his teleseminar, Freeing Your Soul Through Writing.

Have I freed my soul? To that question I can answer a resounding yes, and add that it is the kind of freedom that we all yearn for. Journaling was one of the tools that I used in my healing journey, hich spanned more than two decades. It is one tool I would recommend to everyone.

Matousek cited a study done in New Zealand : “Writing as little as 15 minutes a day – studies have shown that it improves health in children and nursing home residents, in prisoners, mothers and rape victims.  Fifteen minutes a day of communing with ourselves on the page can radically change our lives, it can radically change our perspectives.”

Mark Matousek’s teleseminar helped me understand the process that I went through as I wrote my deepest feelings, fears and doubts on my journal. It also gave me insights on how best to proceed with my journaling.

I began transcribing the audio recording in the hope of sharing it in this blog, but on second thought, I felt it was better if you listened to him yourself, if you were not able to join the live broadcast.  If you want to download the teleseminar, click here.

When-we-write-we-touch

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6 Comments

  1. Quill & Lantern says

    How wonderful to not be restricted to stay within the lines and draw or paint to express one’s thoughts instead. Maybe the light wants a writer to leave more space on the page days …

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  2. For me, the true liberation occurred many years ago when I moved from spiral notebooks to pre-bound journals/composition books…the fact that I couldn’t tear out entries easily somehow proved to me I had grown in my writing…

    BTW: I’m a Julia Cameron fan from way back; used many of her books at different stages of my artistic development!
    peace

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    • That’s true, Laura, most spiral notebooks give us an easy way to trash what we wrote. I learned that everything we write deserves to be in our journals, even if the inner critic says its junk. Julia Cameron’s books, especially The Artist’s Way, had also been an integral part of my healing life. I still do Artist’s dates – it’s just that morning pages didn’t quite fit into my healing “regimen.” I highly recommend her books. Thank you for dropping by…

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  3. Pingback: How to Begin a New Writing Habit | Writing on the Pages of Life

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