A new friend

Journal writing seems like such a simple endeavor, but many find it hard to begin or to sustain.

by Sue Meyn — 

We hear so much about the value of journaling today, including research that shows it improves immune system functioning and reduces blood pressure. Journal writing seems like such a simple endeavor, but many find it hard to begin or to sustain.

You could compare getting started keeping a journal to starting a new friendship. It takes time and lots of get-togethers to establish the kind of trust that allows you to open up and speak freely. The more you take risks and have positive outcomes, the more likely you are to try again. As you do so with your journal, you will soon begin turning to it first when you have a problem that you need to “talk” about.

In today’s world, we are so busy and surrounded by so much noise that it can be hard to listen to our inner wisdom. As you write in your journal, you will find yourself dipping into that wisdom — what I like to call magic — and discovering that you know much more than you realized. You will be empowered and affirmed as you write, even though much of it may seem quite ordinary at the time.

You might begin with a “five-minute sprint” — actually setting a timer so you know when you are done; you can always add more time if you choose. Begin with an open-ended question to help you focus, like what is going on in my life today or how do I feel?

After writing for five minutes, you will find yourself making a shift from external awareness to inner attention. It is important to have no expectations and to simply get your pen moving. Remember, you are making friends with youself — so there is no need to rush the connection.

There are no rules in journal writing, but there are guidelines, such as always dating your entry and writing in your own voice and natural vocabulary. Additionally, you will want to guard your privacy, so keep your journal safe and for your eyes only. It is a respectful way to begin this special friendship and will pay off with deepened trust and richer expressions of wisdom.

The new friendship we find in a journal can bring us comfort, listening, recognition and love, and we all can benefit from more of that. Try reaching out to your new friend.

 

Sue Meyn, L.P.C., has been part of the counseling field for over 30 years and facilitates groups for The Wellness Community, an organization that supports cancer patients. www.journalmagic.com, sue@journalmagic.com or 480-945-9180.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 30, Number 1, Feb/Mar 2011.

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