Getting Outside Yourself in Journaling
Journaling is a practice we can use to get to know ourselves better. For the most part, we thoroughly enjoy the experience, and it leads to greater self-confidence and personal health.
There may be times, though, when your journaling seems bogged down in too much You. You realize you’re in a rut and you’re starting to dislike yourself.
This sort of thing happens often in relationships with lovers, family members, and friends. Now and then we need to get away by ourselves, even though we may love these people with all our hearts.
It’s the same with your journal. You need a way to refresh your outlook, from time to time. Often, the best thing may be to walk away: go see a movie or clean the house.
But you can also refresh the process through journaling itself, and by doing so you inject lasting fascination into your practice.
- If you’re tired of the same old-same old in your journal, become a journalist! Instead of talking about your personal reactions, write about your surroundings: the people, environment, and what’s going on.
- If your writing is full of “I wish…” or “If only…” or other sorts of heavy sighs all the time, try having a dialog with a mentor. Write out your conversation with a beloved teacher from your past, or an admired person in your present. Find out what the Dalai Lama or Saint Francis or Oprah has to say to you. Just as importantly, find out what you have to say to them.
- If you feel as though you’ve discovered all there is to discover, and you’ve reached rock bottom, start dreaming! It is patently untrue that your well of inspiration has dried up. All you have to do is distract yourself a bit. Instead of your usual journaling, fill up the pages with fantasies of whatever kind you wish. Be outrageous, take it way over the top. Tell lies, tell stories, create other worlds. Keep journaling this way until you’re ready to get back to “real life.”
Note that each of these exercises rejuvenates you by forcing you to focus outside your accustomed thought patterns. The key element is the introduction of an “Other,” another person or thing with which you interact.
Here is a bonus exercise, though it is not for the faint-hearted. Since the jump-start to lift you from journaling doldrums is the presence of the “Other,” all you really need is your own reflection! The “Other” that is always with you is your own soul.
Take a long hard look in a mirror. Stay gazing at your face past the time when you think you’ve seen everything. Concentrate particularly on the eyes. Then take up your journal and write about what you saw.
Using the toxin to kill the disease – that is, using journaling to conquer your journaling ennui – will not only restore your joy but it will also bring epiphanies that will sustain your practice into the future.
About the Author
Mari L. McCarthy – The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Journaling for the Health of It. Mari offers counseling and encouragement to writers through her many online journaling resources as well as private consultations. Please see http://www.createwritenow.com/journaling/ for further information. Mari’s latest publication is titled, Get A Job! Journal Your Way to Your Most Rewarding Career. Go to http://www.createwritenow.com/jobs-journaling-ebook/ for details.
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