Day 15: Getting Work Done by Journaling

Day 15: What can you expect from a journaling practice? Answers.

Wisdom from the Comments.  Arlene Holtz writes, ” I am really enjoying doing a regular journal session. It’s not always a very profound entry, but it feels good to be expressing my thoughts and feelings on a daily basis anyway.

Krystyna Rawicz says, “This particular meditation and reflection thereafter has unlocked another piece of the puzzle and the mystery which is me for me.”

*     *     *     *     *
We create our own reality. Where we look is where we go. It’s very easy to believe that what drops in front of us is what we should do. Someone asks for help; we have to help, even if we don’t know what we are doing. Maybe that thinking isn’t the best way. A few days ago a lucrative job dropped into my lap. I own my business, and a lucrative job would solve a few problems. It would have been easy to think “the universe gave” me the job. And who wants to say No to the universe?

Left brain/right brain activities. Use the link at the end of the post to download your own full-size copy.

I journaled about it. How could I turn down a lucrative job? The more I journaled, the more I realized this wasn’t a job I could take. I accused myself of being lazy, of not working hard enough. I kept journaling. I went around in circles. Here was a job. Why wasn’t I jumping at it? I kicked myself. I journaled some more. And then I journaled my answer: do the math. My gut told me to trust my brain. And when I figured out the time it would take to do the job well, and the deadline, and the obligations I’d already agreed to, it would be foolish to take the job. It was a huge relief to know that if I looked beyond the money, I could see reality, nicely in focus.

Journaling does that for you. It gets to the heart of the matter. And the brains. And the combination is unbeatable.

Use this link to download your own version of the leftbrain/right brain mind map.

–Quinn McDonald is a creativity coach and the author of Raw Art Journaling, Making Meaning, Making Art. She’s also a relentless journaler.


Day 12: The Ritual to Get You Writing

Giveaway Winners: On Dec. 20, I asked you for your word of the year, and offered two stuffies for giveaways. Congratulations to Deb Prewitt of and Marjorie from  Ladies, use the About tab to send me your mailing address and the inner critic stuffie will be on the way!

*     *     *     *    Day 12 slept past the one-minute past midnight auto-post by 18 hours, so today is going to be Day 12 and13:  If you have settled into a rhythm of writing, there is probably a set routine you’ve settled into. That routine is a ritual. Something you do everyday that creates an anticipation of journaling. If you write in the morning, it is the act that transforms you from sleepy-head to journaler.

Tea, coffee, hot water with lemon can all start your ritual.

A ritual doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. It can involve just you or it can include making tea, watching the dawn, or feeding the cats. But your ritual cannot be casual, something to treat lightly. Your ritual carries you from one state to another–from not journaling to journaling–so focus is necessary.

To shape your ritual, turn your routine into mindful action. Get up, make tea? While the water is heating, notice the increasing heat in the kitchen. Take the tea leaves and breathe deeply the aroma of your tea. Use a cup you love. Heat the cup. None of this is done fast or without notice. Once your tea is brewing, get your journal and pen. Pour a cup of tea, settle into your writing space and begin.

Because writing is a spiritual practice for me, once I’m settled, I say a traditional thank you to the Creator for connecting my soul that wandered the universe at night,  to my body so I could wake up, and that I am ready to listen and worthy to create. Then I begin to write.

There are other steps that come first–I get up in the dark, drink some water while sitting on the edge of the bed, turn off my alarm, get up to go feed the cats. While the cats are doing their elaborate ritual of eating out of each others dishes and patrolling the patio, I sit down and write. I’m a coffee drinker, but it’s too early for coffee.

It’s too dark now to watch the dawn, but as the sun starts to move North and rises earlier, I will change the ritual and sit outside to write. A ritual may not be forever, but it is forever useful in starting your writing practice.

What ritual will you use to start your exploration?

Note: This weekend is Christmas Eve and Christmas. While I generally don’t post on weekends, I always post on Christmas Eve and Christmas for those who are alone and are looking for comfort. The days will continue.

Quinn McDonald is a writer who is exploring journaling with an ink-stained heart.

Day 8: What if You Skip a Day of Practice?

What what a blossom bud in March. . .

Day 8: A group of us are on a 30-day trek of meditation and journaling. Yes, we are doing it at the busiest time of year, and just for that reason–it’s a good time to build in some quiet and personal peace.

If you want to catch up, start here. It’s not too late, just start.

Wisdom from the Comments:

Arelene Holtz had an Aha! Moment: “Then I decided to do a short sitting meditation to quiet my mind. That’s when the proverbial lightening bolt hit me. I have struggled with my own worthiness most of my life, so that part certainly struck a chord in me. However, what really stood out was that I have just had surgery for hip replacement 6 weeks ago and have been recovering from this since then, so now I am really ready to MOVE FORWARD in the new year! ”

Wanda discovered: “I am going to have to work on my focus when walking as my mind kept wandering to things I need to do, instead of relaxing and seeing what was there. I walked for 30 minutes and it was only during the last 7 or 8 that my mind felt clear and open.”

*     *     *     *
The weekend is over and it’s possible that by now you skipped a day of practice. Maybe meditation didn’t go smoothly or you put off journaling and then it got late. What now?

For an artist, the biggest danger is not turning out bad art, it is leaving the studio

. . . bears sweet and juicy fruit in December.

without a reason to return. There is no guarantee that the artist will discover a reason to make the effort to go back.

And there is no guarantee that you will discover a reason to go back to journaling and meditation if you quit. The idea behind doing it every day is to reap all the benefits without struggling with the difficulty of starting up.

The inclination is to examine why you skipped, or even yell at yourself. In my experience as a creativity coach, I’d suggest that doesn’t work. The best tactic is to ask yourself when the best time is to write, and do that. I do believe that we fall into a habit of writing, and choosing the same time each day makes it much easier to remember when it’s time to journal.

Changing your practice time is worthwhile, because finding the best time will lead to a consistent practice. But keeping up the practice is most beneficial of all.

Arelent and Wanda have already discovered something important to bring with them. Don’t risk losing your moments of awareness. If you skip a day, keep looking where you want to go and pick up your journal. It’s always there for you.

Let us know of any positive changes you are experiencing or discoveries you have made.

–Quinn McDonald is a journaler and creativity coach who is strengthening her daily practice with a group of like-minded souls.