by Susie Michelle Cortright
The fountain of personal wisdom may be as close as your nearest pen.
Thatís because the single most essential instrument for nurturing your spirit is a personal journal.
The word "journal" may mean 100 different things to 100 different people. For a psychologist, it denotes a tool for a patientís self-analysis. For the writer, it may be a notebook of ideas and ramblings. For most of us, the word denotes a day-to-day diary, a log of action and reaction.
For me, a journal is a notebook of ideas and solutions that I have discovered using my conscious and subconscious mind.
Journaling is a remarkable device for easing worry and obsession, for identifying hopes and fears and for allowing your creative self to expand, increasing your level of energy and confidence. It harnesses the power to tap into successively deeper layers of your subconscious mind while it zaps the nervous, passive energy that ties your stomach in knots and leads to more guilt and worry.
Journals are tools to help you discover the wisdom you already possess. Sometimes, this wisdom will surprise you. Other times, it will challenge you. Always, it will come directly from you, empowering you to trust yourself and to take action by giving you the deep-seated knowledge that you know more than you think you do.
You will have found the answers within yourself, and you will return there for further instruction.
In addition to revealing your personal insight and wisdom, the journaling process can help dispel feelings of loneliness and confusion by helping you discover a unity within yourself. As your conscious and subconscious mind work together to solve problems in black-and-white, the ideas are validated and more easily applied, even if you never share these ideas with a soul.
THE ART OF JOURNALING
The act of writing has tremendous potential to tap the subconscious and to arrange conscious thoughts in a clear pattern as words flow from your mind down your arm, into your hand and across the page.
Banish your internal editor. This is that voice that booms from the darkest recesses of your brain: "You shouldnít be writing that."
Here are a few tricks to banish this voice.
Date each entry in your journal. Note the time, place, and any details regarding your mood and emotions that will be necessary for context when you read back on your work.
After you have finished a journal entry, take a walk or get up for a glass of water before you reread your entry, and remember to reread this entry with compassion. Then, write an Insight Line--a sentence or two about what you think the piece is trying to tell you.
Sometimes this Insight is as plain as day. Other times, it will take a little reading between the lines. If the subject is a delicate one, there is nothing wrong with putting off re-reading it for a few hours, days, even weeks. Some entries you may not read again at all. The Insight comes from the act of writing itself, the Insight Line simply helps you discover it.
KEEP THE WORDS FLOWING
There are as many journaling techniques as there are people who practice the craft. The important thing is to explore the underlying layers of your mind--using whatever conduit works for you.
Get creative with the techniques you use. We all have a subconscious mind that communicates to us in a different way. If you are stuck and have nothing to write, try recording snippets of conversations, facts, feelings, fantasies, descriptions, impressions, quotes, images, and ideas. Draw pictures. Make a collage from a magazine. Use the technique that best suits the way in which you express yourself. You know your own mind and how it best communicates with the world. I promise youíll have an even better sense of the way in which your mind works after the completion of a few journal entries.
Clustering is one method that works well when the ideas donít flow on their own. Put the central idea in the center of the page and circle it. Then, without pause, make associations, placing them in new bubbles and tying them to the main idea. The result is a complex matrix of ideas, many of which you didnít even know you had. If you wish, compose these thoughts later into a cohesive essay that says exactly what you want to say. Or simply move on.
Whatever your technique, start mining your subconscious today.
Susie Michelle Cortright is the founder and publisher of Momscape, an online magazine devoted to nurturing the nurturers. Read inspiring articles and essays, and register to win free pampering packages. http://www.momscape.com
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