Journaling A Past Time, A Legacy, A way to stay Sane!

journalsJournals, blank books, are one of my favorite things to get as a gift, to buy at the store, and to give to a fellow journal writer.

They have so many different journals to choose from now.  There are leather bound journals, silk bound journals, painted journals, journals with flowers, dragons, landscapes, designs, and just about anything you can think of.

There are big journals, small journals. pocket sized journals, journals with lines and without.  There are journals with questions to help you think of what to write, to write down your memories, or dreams.  I love journals.

This year has been really hard.  I have felt quiet lost at times, missing my parents so much it hurt.  I fell into a deep depression for a time.  It took awhile and a lot of effort to get back up out of the darkness that was threatening to swallow me up.  My journals helped to save me.  I could write whatever I wanted and not worry I would offend or upset anyone.

For the first year after my parents died I kept a journal where I wrote letters to my mom everyday, sometimes several times a day.  I had been so close to her, I was used to talking to her everyday, and it was a way for me to keep talking to her, to gradually accept that she was gone, but would never be forgotten.

I shared many things in my journal written to her.  I told her a lot of the things I wish I had had the time to tell her when she was here.  I apologized for some stupid mistakes.  I shared some new experiences with her.  Then as the year drew to a close and my journal was almost full, I realized it was time to let go.  I was okay with that.  My journal had allowed me to hold her close for awhile longer as I grieved.

There’s not a day when I don’t still miss my parents and wish I could talk to them, but I’m better prepared to face a future now, and I know that they are somehow watching over me.

If you’ve never tried writing in a journal then I encourage you to give it a try.  Keep it safe, keep it private.  Unless, you are journaling with a friend or spouse where you each take a turn writing a page. Free your mind – learn to journal, try it, you might like it.

Cherry Coley (c)

Side note*  there is an App for smartphones called “Momento”  it is a daily journal.  You can even set a reminder and it will ask you – “how was your day?”  It’s a great way to start keeping track of your memories and the moments in your life.

Choose Carefully!

Today I am thankful for the wide range of emotions we are blessed with.  Emotions can make our world pleasant, sad, angry, happy, content, or restless, depending on how we apply them.

 My grandmother used to tell me a story that her grandmother told her.  It is an old Cherokee Legend that has been passed down through the generations – a bit of wisdom in story form.  I smile at how well-known this story has become, but know it’s because of such a strong message presented in a simple and memorable way.  The story goes like this:

 An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

 “It is?” said the boy.

 “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, and ego.”

The grandfather continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, comfort, humility, kindness, patience, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

 “What happens between the wolves?” the boy asked.

 “Sometimes there are great battles that rage on for a long time,” the grandfather replied. “This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

 The boy thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The grandfather replied, “The one you feed.”

I have never forgotten the message in that simple story.  It is a simple reminder that our thoughts become things.  The choice is yours – which wolf will you feed?

 Cherry Coley ©

In Defense of Journaling

I love journaling

Journaling is a great way to work out problems, get a better look at things, track progress, relieve stress and remember events. 

 A journal is a wonderful thing to give your child later in life.  Not just a scrapbook, but a journal of things you experienced with them, events in their lives, struggles you went through, it’s a wonderful gift of love. 

 I personally keep different journals for different purposes.  I have one that I use generally for just daily rambling thoughts, problems and occurrences.  I have a journal where I write to my mom.  I was very close to my mom and the urge to share things with her and dad is still very strong.  It’s not something that will ever go away, so I created a journal specifically to share those type of things, it doesn’t serve any other purpose, but it does seem to help a bit with the grieving and some part of me feels like I am still sharing with her. 

 I love to read travel journals.  Those people who travel and share pictures, thoughts, experiences are terrific!  I have done this on occasion and intend to again in the near future.

 I also like the parenting or mommy type journals too!  The mommy and daddy experiences can be entertaining, laughable, informational, and priceless all at the same time. 

 I love the grandmother and grandfather type journals as well.  Those are often deeply thought out, full of resources, clichés and insight that only comes with a life full of experience. 

 Journals for stress management, weight loss, career and personal development are all effective ways of getting things down so you can chart progress, mindset, and emotions and see patterns that might be holding you back.  Journaling is a great way to see what works and what doesn’t. 

 If you aren’t a journal person or have never tried it, then I urge you to try.  People do journals in all kinds of different ways including: photography, sketching, painting, graffiti, writing, and computer illustration or photo shop.  It doesn’t really matter how creative you are or aren’t, it’s your life, it’s also your decision on if you want to share your experiences or just create something for yourself to look back on. 

 Here are a few links to other articles on journaling that you might find interesting:

 www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2007/07/journaling/

 www.journalforyou.com

 http://www.createwritenow.com/journaling-tips/

 http://teengirlsthatwrite.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/trying-to-move-on-when-it-gets-tough/

 Don’t be intimidated, just have some fun.  A journal is a record of your personal journey and where you are right now, and it can be as personal or public and for whatever purpose you choose. 

 Cherry Coley ©

Journals and Creativity

Photo by Free Books

I used to want a diary so bad when I was growing up, the kind with a little lock and a key.  My mom finally bought me one, but it proved to be a mistake.  She would sneak in and read it when she felt like it and then would start asking me questions about the stuff I had written.  It really bothered me as well as hurt me.  A journal or diary is a personal thing, a place to put down things that you want to remember.  I stopped keeping a diary and destroyed the one I had.

 Over the years I have on occasion, usually at challenging times in my life, kept journals.  Then about two and a half years ago I began journaling daily.  These journals are not diary’s though occasionally they may seem that way, they are instead a written down thought process.  I write down problems, events, dreams, wishes, drawings of things that pop into my head, and other stuff that I am working on in my personal growth areas. 

 I have come to respect and love journaling as it gives me an outlet, a place to brain dump and work through things before going out and trying to present whatever it is to the world.  There is another notebook I keep for “page writing.”  We writers and artists can get blocked at times.  Creativity just seems to go out the window and when you sit down to write, the blank page just stares back at you almost menacingly.

 In order to combat creativity block the easiest thing to do is get up, first thing in the morning and handwrite 3-5 notebook sized pages.  You just write anything and everything that pops into your head no matter what it is, just dump it out on the page.  Don’t worry about grammar, or complete sentences, and especially if someone should ever read it.  It’s also important that you never go back and read it either.  Those pages are simply to clear the cobwebs out of your head and free you to be creative again and they really work.  Sometimes you have to do this daily, sometimes it only takes one or two days for the creative thoughts to start flowing again, but either way, it’s a great exercise and will unblock the blocked every single time.  The best thing to do with the pages when you’re done is destroy them.  When you write anything and everything in your head often what comes out is griping, complaining, worrying, about other people you love and are close too.  You don’t want to leave something like that where it would ever be found, so best to destroy it.  Plus, you don’t need to reread it at any time, because it’s a method of bleeding the poison that was blocking you out of your system.  So just get rid of it and get busy doing your creative thing again.  You will be so glad you did!

 Cherry Coley ©