Monday, December 24, 2012

Journaling the Journey: Follow Up

Today's post is by Deb Lewis:

I mentioned Janet Conner’s book Writing Down Your Soul in my last blog. These thoughts in the blog over the weeks have been my response to Conner’s suggestions in the book: Show Up, Open Up, Listen Up, and Follow Up. In the book, she has much to say about each of these points.

As I was thinking about the idea of “Follow Up” for today, I reread my journal to see if some of the patterns that are emerging that I mentioned in my last blog were things that should indeed be “followed up”. So far, other than to continue the practice of writing and going more deeply into “listen up”, nothing really seems revealed. The book would tell me to continue to be patient… and just keep on writing.

Since I am new to this practice, I asked Janet Lott, who first recommended Conner’s book to me, if she would share from her much longer experience with spiritual journaling. She sent me the following in response, which I gratefully include here. Janet says:

*      Yes, I have continued to journal. So much of this sounds cliché, but it's my experience and it's what has kept me going back to my writing on a deeper level
*      Let go...write like no one will ever read it (even yourself!)...write a fairy tale about going deep inside yourself. I like to see my insides as an actually place with rooms - I go down to see what's going on. My entrance is in the forest in a place no one can find but me, and I jump down a hole kinda like Alice in Wonderland. It's been very revealing and healing for me
*      Write about or to yourself in third person - a story, a description, a compliment, etc....and be oh, so gentle with yourself.
*      In some seasons I fill a notebook full in two weeks and in other seasons (like this past year) it takes months to go through those 100 pages. I am still in the same notebook that I started months ago.
*      For me, I am journaling all the time and sometimes I actually write it down. What I like most about my little cheap notebooks and my refillable pen is that they don't have legs and walk out on me when I ignore them.
*      They are so patient and willing to write when I am.

*      And mostly . . . listen. Be still and listen. Then just start writing and see what happens. Sometimes I write nonsense words and sometimes I surprise myself with what's on the page afterwards. Sometimes I doodle or draw.

*      Two more resources that have really loosened me up to listening and writing are "The Artist's Rule" by Christine Valters Paintner and "Seven Thousand Ways to Listen" by Mark Nepo.

I plan to try a number of these suggestions myself, becoming more creative in how I approach my journal! If you have also been journaling in this season, whether regularly or not, may Janet’s experiences and suggestions encourage you, too! And if you haven’t been journaling but the idea has caught your interest, perhaps consider making it a (gentle) commitment to at least write when you feel called to do so in the New Year!

Blessings on your journey,
Deb Lewis

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