I like to practice what I preach.
So having set my workshop group some homework before our next session in a few days’ time, I thought I’d get on with some homework of my own.
One of the exercises which generated the most excitement at last week’s workshop was the ‘Dear Journal’ piece. The idea of it is to address yourself to your journal, explaining what kind of a week you’ve had, and to ask your journal for any advice. In the second part of the exercise you write back to yourself as your journal, and see what advice emerges.
I did a similar version of this exercise a couple of years ago, addressing a letter in my journal ‘Dear Creative Self’. I got some awesome results that time too, and really learned a lot about how far I can rely on my own creativity.
So this weekend, having got some great feedback when I posted the Dear Journal exercise on The Journal Writer’s Handbook Facebook status, I decided to give it another go myself.
There was a lot of rambling to start with. Just going through my week and what’s been happening. (It was a great week by the way.) But then I got into some more juicy stuff about where I was feeling stuck, and how I was wanting to make progress but somehow felt resistant.
All the time I was writing I was aware that my journal was ‘listening’. And in this I found the courage to begin outlining some stuff that has been floating around in my head but which I hadn’t up til this point been able to articulate. The words really started to flow and in the end I found that I’d written a straight 14 sides, and come up with three brand new ideas!
The question I then posed to my journal was “How far am I kidding myself?” And the answer came that none of the stuff I’d written down was new. It was all stuff that I’d shared with my journal in the past, but without as much clarity and concrete purpose. I could see that everything I’d written was absolutely based in the knowledge, expertise and wisdom I already have, but hadn’t yet figured out how to present.
The particular notebook I’m using right now has an anchor on the front. So in keeping with that my journal reminded me to focus, and to stop drifting from one idea to another. And then she thanked me for talking to her, and reminded me that that’s what she’s here for.
It’s a strange exercise, but its effect is really powerful. I have this sense that I am not alone, that I have an inner reservoir of wisdom that is always accessible to me. This I believe is a truth for every human being, but we frequently forget how to use it. For me, I choose to access it in my journal.