The magic of journaling

by Juliet Platt on October 10, 2010

in Journaling

I’m really excited about the journaling workshop that I’m going to be leading in November. As the nights draw in there is nothing quite so delicious as sitting next to a cosy fire, pen and favourite note-book in hand, reflecting and scribbling, dreaming and planning.

Journal-writing is an ancient past time which endures, probably because there continues to be noone more fascinating to us than ourselves and our own experience. “One should always have something sensational to read on the train” says an ironically earnest Oscar Wilde.

These days journal writing is typically considered the preserve of over-sexed politicians cashing in on a waning career, or under-sexed, angst-filled adolescents trying to figure out who they are and what this complicated thing called life actually means.

I suppose I was one of the latter, and in my case I never really got out of the journaling habit. I’m still trying to figure out what life is all about. Happily though, my journal has yielded some answers over the years, and it is some of these that I’m keen to share.

“Isn’t it a little self-indulgent?” is a common question, warily asked by people who know deep in their heart of hearts that self-indulgence is absolutely what they would revel in, despite having avoided it, resisted it for years.

Of course journal writing is self-indulgent. It’s all about ourselves, what we think, what we feel, how we perceive and approach decisions and choices, how we react and respond to whatever life throws at us. In this sense it is an indulgence of self. However somewhere beneath the irony, Oscar Wilde knew, and I concur, that our journals are not necessarily vanity.

People new to journaling are often surprised by what they read in their notebook. Not because it’s sensational, though occasionally that might happen, but because the voice on the page seems so clear, insightful and wise that they cannot believe it’s their own.  

When clients ask me about this I congratulate them. This is truly a wonderful thing to happen. Journaling from a place of deep authenticity enables us to connect with the inner wisdom of our sub-consciousness. It enables us to liberate our true, essential voice. And once we’ve done that, we can strike up an intriguing dialogue. We can discover hidden resources within ourselves that we never knew we had. 

But the surprise doesn’t end there. Because as we get to know our inner ‘still small voice’ we find that it isn’t actually as self-focused as we might think. Unlike  the usual internal narrator of our daily dramas, our essential voice is far more aware, far more grounded, and far more no-nonsense. It is a voice that speaks to us, if we allow it, of our impact, of what is fair, and of what action we ought to take to be kinder not only to ourselves but to those around us too. It is the sometimes poetic, always intuitive, voice of the less self-deceived. To encounter it authentically, and to create an inner dialogue with it, results in far less indulgence, and far more awareness of self and others.

So what appears on the surface to be a fairly self-centred exercise, that of reflective journaling, turns out to be a way of helping us relate better, to ourselves, to others and to life itself.

Well worth a self-indulgent afternoon next to a cosy stove. See you at the workshop in November!

There are still spaces available for the journaling workshop from 9.30 am to 4 pm on 6 November 2010 at Lower Shaw Farm in Swindon. Cost £40 including lunch and refreshments. Give me a call on 01793 727994 to book your place.

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