I have been journaling for a few years now. A habit I picked up because I heard that a lot of successful people journal - I remember Oprah once said she kept a gratitude journal. I was reading a book called 'Miracle Morning - For A Great Morning Ritual Routine and Journaling' was an important part of it. I have been doing it on and off, however in March of 2020, I truly committed to journaling.
When COVID-19 procedures forced us to reduce our activities and spend all our time in the safety of our homes, I started reading 'The Artist Way' book by Julia Cameron, a book that has been suggested time and time again by a very close friend of mine, Wafa Al Obaidat, who eventually took me to the bookshop to buy it and that's when it all started!
My first attempt at journaling was when I was 10 years old because I thought I was cool and someone like me should keep a journal. I only ever made one entry, and it is so funny! I was driven by anger at my mom! She asked me to help in the kitchen by washing some mini apples that my dad brought home which most probably would have been consumed by no one else but me (ironic, I know!). If you know me well, you would know I don't like to wash anything in the sink. I would even cook without washing the dishes I used afterwards. Okay I admit it, looking back at this today, I was a spoiled kid! But, I did pour my heart into that journal entry; how unfair I thought my mom was and how on earth could she have the heart to give me such a task (again, spoiled kid!). Sometimes I wish I had more entries like this to help me understand my younger self and my thoughts back then.
Fast forward to a few years ago, my true journaling journey starts after I read 'Miracle Morning' by Hal Elrod and so I started writing what happened the day before. I wrote for a few days and I was ok with it, I even wrote what I was grateful for sometimes. I enjoyed writing that and I still do it sometimes when I get inspired; I feel it's important to spell it out and remind yourself of the blessings you have. However, I do change the format from day to day to avoid repetition. I kept journaling because I felt I just had to do, but shortly after, I got bored as it did not excite me.
Things changed when I read and started following the practices of 'The Artist Way'. The book's intention is to unlock creativity in anyone whatever they do. It asks you to write three pages everyday, without fail, without resistance. I decided to give it a real chance and I did the whole 12 chapters in the spam of 14 weeks. I stretched out the last 2 chapters over 2 weeks each, I was afraid I would run out of subjects to write about.
The first task the book suggests is to write three pages everyday, they called them “The Morning Pages”. Initially, I was worried about being able to fill three pages, then I realized it actually took the full three pages to express and unpack a subject. It asked to write like no one is going to read or dance like no one’s watching (I think of those two things as the same analogy).
At the end of every chapter/week It would list questions that would inspire you to fill these pages. I kept wondering how she came up with all these questions and would I be able to do the same thing myself? and yes these questions were about my feelings, my desires, my ambitions, my frustrations and with no judgement or prejudice I laid them down on my pages. I wrote in my favorite way, with a pen in an Annada notebook (My favorite notebooks because of the beautiful art on the cover and the delicious inner paper).
The book chapters cover a variety of subjects, some of which are positive and easy to write about while the others address the negative emotions and difficult situations. Nevertheless, I wrote three pages, every morning trying my best not to fail. I think I have only missed a day, or maybe two at the most since then!
As I began to come close to finishing the book, I started to worry about my next journaling subjects. Still, when the book ended, the new subject appeared! My next work project, the emotional state I was in, the next task, the next step, and the list grew. I kept getting inspired day by day! I used these pages of writing to have a conversation with myself and discuss any thoughts or ideas, challenges or problems that were frustrating to me; then suddenly I would find the answer on my pages. It came from me for me into my writing. Journaling became like a therapist or a faithful consultant that I can speak to on a daily basis.
I will say though, that in order for this magic to happen you need to learn how to speak to yourself through journaling. You need to give yourself the chance to fully immerse in journaling in order to extract its benefits. Do it on a daily basis without distractions. Think of it as a muscle that you need to exercise everyday.
Today, if I'm asked to choose two things for my morning ritual, it would undoubtedly be my ten minute yoga session and my three pages of journaling. They have become my positive addiction. As I write, I realize more and more things about myself, it has helped me become more productive, and allowed me to focus on what I want, and what I should dedicate my time and attention to.
I can't help but wonder what benefits would you find if you were to journal?
Lots of Love,