Another shuffle of the mood index cards brings me to the mood of alertness.

An alert person is awake and aware, perhaps having heard an alarm go off, or having received a more metaphorical wake-up call.

Being alert is a great thing. It helps us forge ahead with our projects and feel fulfilled at the end of each day. It’s easier to focus on important tasks, write lists and get into action.

However, unless our attention is gainfully employed and we can find a useful focus for our alert state of mind, we may have a tendency to think too much, over analyse or get ahead of ourselves and develop unrealistic goals.

So being alert is very much about being present, dealing effectively with any alarm bells that may be going off, and focussing on what we can reasonably and safely achieve right now.

Helpful inquiries might be:

“What am I waking up to?”

“What alarm bell is ringing?”

And always find a way to anchor this alert mood by getting curious about it. How does it feel in your body to be alert? What is your attention most immediately drawn to? What tendencies do you have to get ahead of yourself?

An extract from The Journal Writer’s Handbook by Juliet Platt


So, if you’ve arrived at my blog from my newsletter you will know that over a month ago I told you I was going to publish journaling exercises right here to suit different moods. And, after a bit of a delay, I’m finally getting round to it.

Here’s the first one – loneliness. It may seem like a strange place to start, and normally I might start earlier in the alphabet with a mood like “active” or “afraid”.

But no. Just because I like to keep things interesting for myself I decided to write out all the moods onto blank playing cards, then draw one at random each time I would come to write my blog. That way I don’t know which one’s going to show up. And it might leave some room for intuitive serendipity or juicy coincidence, which we journal writers live for.

So lonely it is.

Of course as I’m writing this my inquiring mind is wanting to know whether I am at some level feeling lonely myself, and whether this is a good or a bad thing. Am I isolating myself? Are there people I ought to be connecting with but right now I’m not? How do I feel about loneliness?

Great questions! I’ll save them for my journal later.

It is often said that you can never be lonely with a good book. The same can be true even if that book is your journal.

Gaining perspective on our life and becoming aware of the different levels of consciousness that are available to us can trick our mind into feeling less lonely. It can even start to feel positively crowded!

Striking up a dialogue in our journal with a comforting figure in our life, or even with our body or our creative self, is a way of accessing different voices which are meaningful to us, and which bring us different perspectives, as if from different people.

And sometimes we know that what’s needed in order to help us feel more connected and less lonely in the world is to actually reach out and say hello, ask for help or do a favour for someone.

The maxim ‘give in order to receive’ is a useful rule of thumb, and whenever we notice a lack of something in our life – like company, friendship or love – it’s always worth reflecting on how much we are making ourselves available to others in those terms.

In order to alleviate feelings of loneliness try the inquiry “what more can I give”, and act on what emerges for you.

Extract from The Journal Writer’s Handbook by Juliet Platt



Logging the journey

January 24, 2012

Thanks to the apparent breath-taking arrogance and cowardice of the Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino we have a graphic and tragic lessson in the importance of being fully present in our experience – and how devastating the impact might be when we’re not. Metaphorically speaking, we are each the captain of the ship of our life. We’ve got […]

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The power of journaling to reignite right-brain brilliance

January 9, 2012

I’ve recently been thrilled and inspired by Iain McGilchrist’s excellent book, The Master and his Emissary, a tome of incredible research scope, which posits the central idea that the left hemisphere of our brain has hijacked much of our cultural, political, economic, social and spiritual history in the West for the past two millennia, and […]

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Self-awareness + Volunteering + Networking = Big Society Leadership

March 24, 2011

 On Friday 18th  March I attended the Swindon Strategic Partnership Conference for public, private and voluntary sector organisations to get together and forge a united, “Big Society” way forward for our North Wiltshire town. The meaning of Big Society continues to elude many people. But sitting in that conference hall last Friday I started to […]

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The Rhythm of Life

February 3, 2011

The snowdrops are beginning to push through the cold ground, and are reminding us of the rhythmic cycle of the seasons. It’s a sight that always triggers a sense of optimism for new growth, warmth and life to come.  Rhythm is everywhere. Not just in music and the usual sounds of our day, but in […]

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Time to Reflect

November 28, 2010

Sometimes life is too busy to stop and think, or to truly reflect on our progress. Yet as we approach the close of the month – and also the close of the year – it feels like a naturally reflective time. One of my most favourite journaling exercises is one I learned from journaling expert Kathleen […]

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My very first journaling workshop – a resounding hit!

November 8, 2010

Saturday was the first ever journaling workshop I’ve set up and run in Swindon – and it was awesome. After advertising in Swindon Link, in my newsletters, in promo emails to my contacts and even on the radio I was chuffed to bits to attract ten participants, all of whom threw themselves wholeheartedly into the day, and […]

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Los Treinta y Tres – 33 Heroes return from their ‘journey’

October 14, 2010

What an astonishing, compelling and moving thing it was to watch the rescue operation in Chile yesterday. Thirty three men restored to their families after 69 days trapped half a mile below the ground. Quite a heroes’ journey. The interesting thing about the archetypal hero’s journey, so often quoted by wise men and personal development […]

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The magic of journaling

October 10, 2010

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 […]

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