One of the things I often note with the issue of keeping a consistent journaling practice is the lack of relevance with what we write. Many folks start up keeping a journal but never find their particular groove of what really matters to them. They often find it depressing to write down how they're feeling or it just gets down right boring since they don't see their life as very interesting, maybe even not worth recording.
Of course, as host of #JournalChat Live for over 6 years, I beg to differ. Every life is worth recording because it's from your point of view, like no other, and your JOURNALING VOICE MATTERS. That's one of the reasons I determined to give folks a chance to share their journaling stories on their blogs and in social media statuses by offering to share their posts where #JournalChat is visible both here on my website (with reciprocating link) and here---> (Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn).
Of course you are welcome to share how your journaling has had the greatest relevance to your life this year. Just follow the guidelines here.
With today's post, I wanted to share with you how my journaling practice has had the greatest relevance for me in 2016...
Although I keep a journal daily, with both am and pm entries, and with evening doodles to make it visually fun as well, there is one technique and purpose that has shown up in my journal pages this year that I think might be helpful to you as well.
One of my favorite techniques is making conversation, or what most call Dialogue. With who?, you may ask. Well, with just about anything or yourself (all parts of you). My aim with dialogue is focused on my personal well being on all levels. So when something isn't right on any of those personal levels, I will head to my journal to figure out what went wrong and what I can do to get re-aligned.
And you know what? I always get an answer to my dilemma. It amazes me what I learn just from asking the questions I want answers to. Of course, it's imperative that I actually do what I'm directed to with the answers I receive (within reason, of course). That's one of the reasons why I know keeping a journal can be a powerful tool to promote and initiate positive change that leads to personal empowerment.
You might think it odd to ask a question of yourself and actually get an answer. And maybe at first it feels a bit strange. But if you're serious about getting what you need, that's often a good prerequisite toward success. You may need to do it more than once if you haven't done it before. But, don't be shy. After all, it's your journal. And it's there for you to help you figure stuff out. And dialogue can be the perfect way to get you there.
When you actually do dialigue in your journal, just use the names to suit your situation, whether it's an emotion, a body part, a situation, a relationship or anything else you need clarity on.
Here's some dialogue to make you smile:
Me: Do you understand the value of talking to yourself (Your Higher Self) in your journal?
You: I'm not sure. I guess it's worth a try.
You betcha! (Enjoy the conversation and create positive change in your life!)
Is there a particular situation or pain you are experiencing that you need answers to? Record this situation in detail in your journal. Now begin a dialogue with the part of it that frustrates you or pains you the most and start asking questions. Pause for the answers, listening intuitively for what you need.
Art Journal Prompt:
Using the word Dialogue as your prompt, doodle conversation that has great meaning for you. Use images that validate how you feel about this conversation and what result you would like to see from the situation this conversation stems from to help you gain clarity.
I always love it when I find a resource that just hits the spot for me as an artist and creative. And Danny Gregory's book, The Creative License, is just such an example. I discovered Danny Gregory through a Creative Living with Jamie Podcast on Jamie Ridler's website. I was so inspired and impressed with the interview, I decided to check out Danny's website and books.
I saw that he had several, one of which I wanted to read right away, a memoir called, Every Day Matters, but I decided to check out his book, The Creative License too. I'm so glad I did.
There are several reasons why I enjoyed and found myself inspired by this book. Danny has a way of presenting the act of drawing from a totally refreshed and relaxed approach, a way of observing your life and the many things and people around you, but in an almost Zen-like quality, totally focused, totally in the flow.
This approach really opened me up to the possibilities of where I could go with my Creative Practice, adding to it in a way I hadn't done before. I did contour and detail drawing in my youth, and did faces for a long time, but all basically from images. Danny's approach to drawing what you see from objects right in front of you intrigued me. I love his step by step narrative for those who have never drawn before or think they can't.
Another thing I loved about this book was Danny's voice: his attitude, his personality, his authenticity and his laugh-out-loud sense of humor. Even if you have never drawn anything before, just the read is worth it because Danny makes the whole explanation of why drawing can benefit you so much fun, entertaining and insightful.
This book is full of full color and black and white illustrations and Danny's no-nonsense attitude about getting a daily sketchbook practice going, with no concern for what it looks like, if it's any "good" artistically speaking, and seeing the whole experience as learning more about yourself and your world.
Danny inspired me so much through The Creative License, I decided to start a drawing practice in addition to my daily journaling, watercolor painting and doodling. I've presented several of these drawings just to give you an idea of how I've approached it, with no concern for how "artistic" it looks.
He does recommend starting with just black pen (no pencil, no erasing or correcting--just draw and don't worry about it!) so these drawings are just that.
As an artist, I've always had admiration for folks who keep a sketchbook full of pen and watercolor drawings, and Danny is one of those people. Thanks, Danny, for being a source of inspiration for me as an artist and observer of life.
Write down a way that you are an observer of your own life. Also, write down a way you would like to be an observer that you haven't tried before and what you can do to get started.
Using the word, Observe, create a spread that pays homage to how you view your world. How does your point of view enhance to the way you see life?
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When you look at something in your immediate surroundings that you put there, what comes to mind? Does it just become a back ground visual or does it stir you in some way? Is there a reason why it's there?
It can be anything.
From a piece of clothing to your laptop or the car in your driveway. It could be paint supplies, a toolbox or a memento from a loved one.
It really doesn't matter what it is. It's a matter of what it means to you.
How does it benefit you?
I think when we take a closer look at what we have chosen to have around us, it can teach us something about ourselves. And perhaps having a new appreciation for what it is, what it does and why we chose it can activate a higher awareness of what matters to us.
And, in essence, it can invoke gratitude.
But what is the essence of gratitude? Is it just an attitude? An idea? Or just an expected reference to the Thanksgiving Holiday?
When we see something anew and ask ourselves, why do I have this? What does it do for me? And we answer those questions, we can discover a fresh vision of Who We Are right now.
Especially since what we say today may not have been true a year ago or even a month ago.
How we perceive what we own or what we choose for ourselves can speak volumes about what is inside our hearts. And when we get that fresh perspective on what we may not think about very often, we can find ourselves smiling and saying, Wow. I think I should consider how benefited I am more often.
We can lose sight of the 'why' of what we possess, which can sometimes cover the essence of what we value.
It can be as simple as appreciating the towel we dry our hands off with or the necklace we wear that was a gift from a loved one. Or even the calculator we use in the office.
Seeing anew what we value and saying, I am glad I have this, it makes life easier and more pleasurable, can instigate the essence of appreciation and gratitude that can especially carry us when we feel heavy with burden.
Carry that essence of what you appreciate with you every day. You may find yourself smiling when you least expect to.
Write a list of three things in your immediate environment. Detail where they came from, who gave them to you if applicable or why you purchased it. How does it benefit you most? Would you buy it again if given the chance? Capture the essence of your appreciation for these things.
Art Journaling Prompt:
Use images of some of your favorite things and doodle your appreciation for their value in your life, what they remind you of, and what meaning they have for you.
Dawn engages in many roles: As Writer/Blogger and Artist/Creative and Founder of Refresh with Dawn Herring: Where Art and JOY Align, She enjoys sharing from her vast experience as award-winning, life-long artist and leader in the field of written journaling, offering encouragement and proven tips to other journal keepers. Dawn's focus is on written journal keeping, artistic expression and finding your Creative Voice, and positive change that leads personal empowerment, encouraging you to leave your authentic and positive mark in the world. Dawn is a Commercial artist, hand letterer/illustrator and writer/blogger and enjoys sharing insights, humor, and encouragement as she shares from her life experiences as a woman, wife, mother of two grown daughters and as a Grandparent to a special needs grandson. She enjoys keeping a journal and reading spiritual texts to help keep the light on. May JOY Align with Your Creative Heart.