When I conduct a journaling workshop, I always encourage the participants to practice writing right away. I usually ask them to remember one particular situation that happened recently that created a very strong feeling. When the feeling is strong enough then it is very easy to start writing it out. It could be positive feeling or negative feeling.
Most of the people find it a lot easier to write the negative one and it is okay. A participant expressed disagreement to me when it came to write a negative feeling. She said that by remembering a negative feeling and writing it, the feeling would become even stronger. Then it is against the purpose of journaling. Because the purpose of journaling is in fact to finish the negative feelings and empower the self.
How can journaling finish the negative feeling and empower the self? When you are writing a journal, you need to sit on the seat of the ‘real I’. You are listening to the ‘false I’, either the ‘depressed I’ or ‘the arrogant I’. This ‘false I’ is in fact the ego. The ego is false. It is the ego that creates the negative feeling. Let the ’false I’ speak about the situation and feeling clearly and honestly and let ‘the real I’ listen. She is a good listener. She is very patient, mature and wise. She always listens very carefully. When the ‘false I’ finishes speaking, let the ‘real I’ speak or share some wisdom to your situation. Let her empower you.
You are not the feeling. You are the creator of the feeling. The feeling is your creation, but your creation is not you. You will become very clear about this. You are distanced from your feeling. You are detached from your feeling. Because you are detached from the feeling, so you can observe the creation better. You can write it in a detached way.
When you write your journal in this detached way, as if you are an observer of what is happening inside you, the feeling will become weaker and the ‘real I’ become stronger. Become a detached observer. It is said that emotion dies under observation.
In every workshop on journaling, I always encourage people to start writing with an honest heart. Open the heart and start writing the feelings out, because this is how the heart will get healed. Be honest with the self by writing the feeling out.
Some people find it so hard to do it. They said that they have fear that others might read their journal, that other might know their feelings. Is it really harmful if others know what you feel? Fear is definitely unhealthy. It doesn’t make the soul free. Someone shared that when she was a teenager, someone read her diary and told everyone about what she wrote in the diary. This made her really ashamed and since then she stopped writing it.
For me, journaling is the best way to deal with any negative feeling and finish it quickly. I agree that some emotions might be so strong and it takes more time to finish. You might need to journal it several times. But it will definitely become weaker and weaker if you keep journaling it. Finally it will finish completely. When it finishes, you don’t feel it anymore. You still remember the situation, but the feeling is no longer there. Then if others know what you felt, it will be okay with you. I remembered I shared my journal with a friend. I read it for her. She knew what I was writing about. She knew my situation, what I felt and also how I was dealing with that. We laughed together.
This journaling is primarily for the self, not for anyone else. In fact this is a good practice to know the self better, and understand the self better. It is a practice to develop self-awareness. In the long run, it will build a healthy relationship with the self. When you have a good relationship with the self, you will find it very easy to relate to anyone. It is just not possible to have a good relationship with others when the relationship with the self is not healthy.
In my office most of my colleagues had made their plan for taking christmas and new year leaves since the first week of December. My boss got a leave sheet circulated for everyone in the division. I planned to take earlier leave this year, on the third week! And I think that it was the best decision. I had a solo trip to several cities. It was so enjoyable. I decided to take intercity trains for this trip. It had become my long time dream to enjoy a trip by train. Actually it was not a total vacation, because I had several ‘workshops’ during that time, short journaling workshops! It might be more a sharing than a workshop. I was really happy doing it. I am happy knowing that more and more people are interested in journaling.
I came back from my vacation only a few days before Christmas when most people started their vacation. I think the timing was just perfect for me. I definitely enjoyed my vacation without having any hassle. Though my flight back was two hours delayed, but it was still okay with me. The airport was a bit crowded due do some delayed flights. When your heart is happy, you just don’t want to get disturbed by those little situations.
During the christmas and new year holiday what I want is just having some quiet moment at home. What about you?
Wishing you all a very happy new year!!
When someone asks me how to keep writing or how to keep being inspired to write, what I can suggest is to write what she or he observes. To observe means to see. Use your eyes and your heart to see what is happening around you. Each and every moment in your life is interesting if you don’t miss it and you give time to reflect for yourself. It is always interesting to write it down. It always gives you a lesson to learn, if you are ready and open enough to learn. Lesson from life doesn’t have its own timing like in a school. It may come any time. So be always ready for what life is going to teach you through your observation. You are the student and life is your teacher.
This is what I observed last week when I was on a train. It was 8 hours trip. I was sitting in the aisle. An Indian family blocked the 3 double-seats, two in front of me and one on my left. They were going on a family trip. They were with three boys. The 3 boys were very special to me. The youngest one was only 3 years old, very sweet with his curly long hair, looked more like a girl. They looked more alike with the mom than the dad. All of them had smiling happy faces, especially the mother. I noticed that they looked very happy during the 8 hours trip. They enjoyed the trip. Unlike any other children who ussually become cranky for some times and start teasing one another. They looked very happy and very peaceful. “This is a happy family” I said in my heart. I enjoyed seeing them, especially the kids.
Finally I said to the mother “Your boys are very special. They look so happy.” She said: “Because they love train” Hearing this from the mother, the second boy said : “I love boat too.” This made me smile.
Where does the self get lost? It is lost in our own head (mind). The mind creates thousands of thoughts everyday. It keeps busy and also noisy. The mind is always occupied with thoughts, ideas, plans and dreams. It is like a jungle, full of thoughts. You might find it very difficult to make it silent for just a moment. The self gets lost in this jungle. You might have heard a story of a queen who lost her necklace. She searched for her necklace around. She kept searching the necklace that she did not realize that it is in fact around her own neck. This story refers to our self-discovery journey. We might have searched for the self “outside” which in fact it is lost “inside”.
Journaling is a way to discover the self which has been hidden behind the thoughts, ideas, plans and dreams. This is an inward-journey. By writing them down one by one, you will experience more clarity in seeing the self. You are removing the veils. You will be able see your true self.
I remember I was sharing a taxi with four people on our way back from a program. The program was a big one, attended by many people from different countries with variety of languages. We could not know everyone in the program, because it was too big. The program was organized so well. Everything was very well-organized, including our transport. When I booked the taxi for my return journey at the transport department, I didn’t know whom I would share the taxi with.
An old lady was sitting in the front row next to the driver, and in the middle row there were one young man from Russia and two middle-aged men from France. I was sitting at the back row with our luggages. The space was very small and the luggages were piled up. It was a 4 hour journey. How would you enjoy a 4 hour trip with people you don’t know? What I did was listening music. Music really helps to enjoy the trip. I am always ready with some music in my smartphone and an earphone for a trip. I think music has the power to change our mood into positive one, quite instantly. Some times I had a conversation with the passengers who were sitting in the middle row. We talked about the weather, the journey to our home countries, our flight etc.. A general topic.
We stopped for a toilet in the middle of the trip. Everybody got down from the taxi. There, when I had the opportunity to talk to the old lady who was sitting in the front row. I was so amazed about her. She was 80 years old, traveling alone. She is from Colombia. She didn’t speak English, but I think she could understand a little. She could respond simple questions like ‘Where are you from? What time is your flight?’ We talked and shared on how much we enjoyed the program we just attended. I talked mostly. While talking to her I could see the light on her eyes, shining very brightly. The happiness inside was reflected on her face through the eyes. it was just so obvious.
I said to myself “This is what is called inner beauty.” The beauty of the soul that is coming from the heart of an old lady. The more permanent beauty. Not the beauty because of the cosmetics. Cosmetics only brings beauty on the skin, not the heart.
I still remember the lady’s name was Gloria Carmago.
My friend wanted to introduce me to her long time good friend. It was interesting, she said : “I am sure you will like her. She is a feminist.” I said to her that I was not a feminist. And she quickly clarified : “No,no, I mean that you might get an inspiration to write through meeting and talking with her.”
I think she is right. I get an inspiration to write in my journal book or in this blog mostly after meeting and talking with people. So I always love to meet people – new people, long time contacts or strangers. It is always interesting to talk with them. I believe that each one has hidden amazing things that we do not know until they are talking with us.
I always remind myself that anyone I meet always has something I could learn from. And I never miss the lesson.
Thank you, Amanda.
When someone asked me how to start writing, I said : “Just write what you see, what you hear and what you feel.” You don’t need to be very creative to start writing. And you don’t need to have a talent to do it either. You only need an intention. Because writing is a skill, so everyone can develop this skill through practice. Just like speaking. Each one of us learned to speak when we were very small and we can speak now, we can express our thought and feeling through speaking. In the same way, writing is also a skill, it is also expressing thoughts and feelings. Everybody can express one’s thought and one’s feeling through writing.
You do not need to worry when you express your thought and feeling. Remember that you are writing for yourself. You are not writing for someone else to read. Liberate yourself from any worry or fear of being commented by anyone, being judged by anyone. In fact no one can criticize what you express, because your thoughts and feelings are always personal and nothing is wrong. To write them down is to be honest to the self. When you are honest to yourself, you will feel very comfortable with yourself. Start writing and start expressing what is inside you.
The mind keeps thinking all the time. It never stops. When you express it in writing, the mind slows down its speed. It becomes much lighter, not heavy.
I remember when I started sharing some thoughts through short journals via WhatsApp to friends and contacts, very soon I started hearing from them a question why I did not start writing a book or creating a blog. This blog was not created at that time. Some said “Someone may copy your idea (story) if you just share it freely.” I thought what I had been writing and sharing to people were more about my personal experience. How could people copy a personal experience? I think it is not possible. In the beginning very often some people asked me if they could share it to their families and contacts or not. And I always said “Sure, you can.” I let them share it in whatever way the wanted to share it. My mission was to share it to as many people as possible. And my mission stays the same until this very day.
I have no worry if someone copies my thoughts. I believe that no one can ever copy an experience. Because an experience is always individual. It is never the same. In this way I free myself from any fear or worry.
I shared with a friend on how I am so passionate on journaling. It has become my hobby for the last four years. I am writing on my 21st notebooks now. I notice that I become very particular in the notebooks and pens I am using for my writing hobby. I said to him that I spent more than USD 300 for the notebooks and pens. I am only using one brand and one particular design only for the notebooks. And the design has been discontinued. I do not like the new design. Knowing this, I hunted to several different bookstores in one day, hoping that they still had the stock of the old design. I got about 25 notebooks. I thought it would be enough for my journaling hobby for another 5 years or so.
Spending USD 300 only for notebooks and pen! My friend said that how much I paid for the stuff is the value of my happiness. ”For five years of happiness, you pay only USD 300. It is very cheap!” he said. I never thought of doing this calculation. There are so many people out there who buy their happiness with much higher price. Some might buy a brand new car, a new camera, a new smart watch or a fancy trip. All the marketing people say that you need to buy all of those stuff, because they will make you happy. Really?
He said to me “I think you don’t need a fancy trip to be happy.” In fact, I was smiling in my heart hearing this from him.