Journaling To Heal: Week Two - The Gloss Magazine

Journaling To Heal: Week Two


With so much uncertainty and confusion going on in the world, making time for self-care is more important than ever. Journaling creates a safe space in our day just to be with ourselves in a compassionate and nurturing way. The mere act of putting words onto our feelings is cathartic, and when it is done with love, it is healing. Last week we established a ritual for journaling – this week we’ll look at the practice of connecting with ourselves in a loving way through the art of journaling.

The beauty of journaling is that it opens a pathway of expression for all that lies within to come forward. Our journal becomes a safe space that holds the flood of our emotions, cares and worries, and also our hopes, dreams and desires. Journaling allows us to drop our guard so that what lies within can come forward for holding, for comforting, for loving and ultimately for resolving.

When poet Paula Meehan held the Ireland Chair of Poetry, our MA class in creative writing in UCD was blessed to have her as our lecturer. Paula taught us the art of writing from the soul, from that place deep inside us where our truth lives. She showed us how to scry for the story that wants to be told, like a diviner seeking out underground channels of water.

In journaling we are scrying for our own story, for our own truth. The pen in our hand is the hazel rod that connects us with the energy of what lies within and with all that lies beyond our conscious awareness. With the pen as our divining fork we connect with our inner energies and allow them almost to write themselves onto the pages of our journal.

The art of journaling is the art of free expression. We give ourselves permission to write freely so that we can find out what wants our attention, how we really feel about certain situations, why we feel that way, and to tease out the complexities of it all. In time, our journaling will also help us to discern the way forward with grace and ease.

Of course, be prepared for your journaling to be messy. It’s going to be messy because we are messy. Be prepared for strong emotion and even tears – and let them flow. Let your writing be an outpouring of your emotions and feelings – that’s the whole point of journaling.

On the other hand, some people are naturally more reticent and find it difficult to get any words at all onto the page. In this case, a good technique is to write about your reticence, write about why you find it difficult to write, and in doing so, what you need to know will be revealed.

The path to healing through journaling lies in being prepared to write what wants to be written – no matter how unexpected or surprising. Write it all down on the page and commit to holding it, and yourself, with compassion and love until your pen helps you to write resolutions you didn’t even imagine were possible.

The joy of free writing is that it closes off the rational, judgmental mind – the part of us that wants to know, to reason, to be logical and practical, the part that judges and criticises – both ourselves and others. The rational mind stifles our creativity and our emotional self, it blocks our inner child and our true self-expression – not because the intellect is inherently mean – but because it simply doesn’t understand those parts of us.

Journaling creates the opportunity to re-connect with these other parts of ourselves and to be curious and receptive to the different energies in us that want a chance to have their say. Free writing liberates us from the need to know the answer, the need for a plan, the need to know how to fix the situation – instead, it allows us to find out what the situation actually is – and to discover the deeper truths that lie behind that issue. There is always a deeper truth and journaling is a safe way to discover what that truth actually is.

In my experience, love lies at the heart of everything in life – even in painful situations that cause us hurt, it always seems to come back to a lack of love either on our part, or on someone else’s part. The plain and painful truth is that we were unable to love ourselves or others in that moment – if we could have done better, we would have done better. Recognising this helps us to move towards forgiveness of ourselves and others. With our heart as our guide, journaling allows us to write the missing love back into our life stories.

Journaling gives access to our non-rational intelligences: to our creativity, our intuition, our inner knowing and wisdom, and most of all, to our heart. Journaling opens up channels that we cannot access when the intellectual mind is in the driving seat.

Journaling allows us be the natural storyteller of our own life and no one will be more riveted than us to read our story as it emerges onto the page from the well deep inside us. What could be more healing than getting a true picture of what’s going on deep inside us? Until we know what’s in season for us to address, we cannot address it.

This week I invite you to be present to your journaling practice as if you were welcoming a dear friend to your home. The friend you are welcoming is your own true self. Let the pages of your journal be the meeting place for you and your soul, and following the wisdom of Paula Meehan: scry for the story your soul wants you to hear.

Using the same preparation that we used last week, when you are still and present, pick up your pen and start to write – write the first thing that comes to mind. Or, if you prefer a prompt, here are some to get you started.

Today what I want to write about is …
The thing that is really on my mind is …
The biggest impact of this pandemic on me has been …
If I could, what I would like to do / say/ be / know is …

Then write freely for 10 minutes, or for as long as the creative stream flows.

Next week we’ll explore how journaling can help us to find the golden thread that runs through each of our lives – the thread that connects all our life experiences, good and bad, and that ultimately holds the power to heal.

In the meantime, happy writing!



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