My first diary entries began at age 8. I was usually mad at my little sister or mad at my mother. There were weeks or months between entries.
In high school I wrote about my crushes and recorded idiotic conversations in great detail. I also wondered about the meaning of life. I was quite fearful and had no language for feelings.
I went through a terrible and turbulent time in my 20’s. There were numerous drunken ramblings in my diary. Fortunately, a couple of books changed the way I approached writing in my diary and transformed my life.
I read all of Anaïs Nin’s diaries. I was fascinated by her life, her writing, her artistic explorations and deep search for meaning through subterranean realms. She was creating a synthesis between “intellect, emotion, and instinct.” I had never read anything like her before but I did agree wholeheartedly when she said, “I write emotional algebra.”
Around the same time I also discovered Ira Progoff’s At a Journal Workshop. Progoff’s method for journaling is quite complex and involves genuine dedication to the method. I wrote using his format diligently until I had two small children and couldn’t keep up with it any longer. His methods do help generate internal change but they also require a lot of dedication to the process.
My journaling practice changed over time as I learned new techniques. Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages, (stream-of-consciousness writing, three pages daily) also generates transformative energy. In writing beyond superficial details, there is a transition into deeper, more meaningful issues.
There are important differences between keeping a diary and maintaining a journal for personal growth and spiritual development. If you want to create and adapt to changes in your life, writing can clarify and illuminate your path, help you discover your heart’s desire and lead you towards fulfillment.
You need to feel free to write whatever needs to be written. If necessary, protect the safety of what you are writing. You can write privately online at 750words.com
Your writing needs to move beyond recording details of the day, venting angry thoughts or just general complaining. It may be necessary to record these things to clear the path of obstructive thoughts or energy, but you’ll need to dive deeper to make progress.
It’s important to identify feeling words and to be as specific as possible. Click here to print out this list and use it for clarification. We feel more than just happy, sad or mad. We have complex inner lives and can begin to identify this extraordinary terrain with practice.
Your journal acts as a mirror. Reviewing what you’ve written provides valuable information. Nin also wrote, “I stopped loving my father a long time ago. What remained was the slavery to a pattern. “ Do you know what patterns are you a slave to?
There is no right or wrong in journaling. It’s really about what works for you.
What more would you like to know about journaling for transformation?