Category Archives: Journal Writing

Make a distinction

The only resolution I made for 2018 was to distinguish between the work I do for love – my own writing, and the work I do for money  – word-smithing for businesses.

Distinctions bring clarity. And clarity enables us to be creative, productive and to attract opportunities effortlessly.

One of my most favourite books is A Room with A View by E M Forster in which he champions love and truth over social niceties. Without the honest appraisal of what we truly love we will forever be “in a muddle” – and therefore less effective in our efforts.

Giving more focus to the things we love rather than the things we do out of obligation imbues us with clarity and power.

So it’s worth being honest with ourselves and making the distinction.

As a result my writing spark is back with a vengeance. I’m having fun writing my blog and new business enquiries are arriving at my door. Before I was muddled in my thinking about writing – so my focus and energy were confused and dissipated. I was perhaps falling for the assumption that having more things to focus on would rob me of time.

Rather having sharper focus on more distinct things feels like I have generated more time, and infinitely more ideas. Inspiration and words are flowing; and my skills are in demand.

The Journal Writer’s Handbook contains an exercise called Lists of Distinction, encouraging you to distinguish between your talents, gifts, skills and interests. Sharpening your focus on each throws up more clarity, more possibility and more choice about the things that lead you to a greater sense of creativity, fulfillment and joy.

Don’t be muddled. Be distinctive. Make your own distinctions.

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Filed under Creative process, Journal Writing, The Journal Writer's Handbook, Uncategorized

What outcomes are you attracting?

Today was the day my Mum was scheduled to have complex spinal surgery. My plan was to drive the 159 miles to be with her. So at 9am I began packing the car and getting ready to leave. I then received a phone call from my brother asking me where I was.
“I’m still at home” I replied.
“Good,” he said. “Stay there. They’ve just cancelled the op.”
Over the course of the ensuing ten minutes I came to understand that the surgeon called a halt to the proceedings because the operating theatre had the wrong table in it.
I began to feel angry and sad, and confused. I heard the tears in Mum’s voice. She’d been terrified of this procedure, and to have it denied her in the eleventh hour was piling on the agony. She was even gowned up and had a line drawn on the skin of her back to mark the incision point.
Yet the surgeon refused to proceed with the wrong table in theatre. He explained that he was not prepared to risk it as he has to work within a tenth of a millimetere from a nerve that if damaged would result in paralysis.
In a quiet moment of reflection after I put down the phone I realised that everything is working out perfectly.
Through this aborted process Mum got to see how much care and attention was being paid to her.
For example, there were 6 people on the team for her op – plus the lead surgeon – and including one guy who’d driven 189 miles to be there. Mum was the only one on today’s roster. All these people had gathered just for her.
 And the fact that the surgeon was prepared to send everyone home and cancel the op rather than run the risk ought to offer Mum a good deal of reassurance about his conscientiousness and duty of care.
I then realised something quite bizarre:  that between us Mum and I managed to attract the cancellation. Through her fear and my resistance to her fear together we have conspired to co-create the eventuality of this operation not going ahead.
In other words, while she was harbouring mortal fears about the procedure, I was pressing for optimism, healing and mobility. We were pulling in opposite directions, and in the process managed to cancel out the op.
I am blown away. I am so grateful for this lesson. And I am also appreciating that Mum and I have another chance to prepare for this operation with less fear and resistance, and more trust and confidence.
Everything is working out perfectly.
In the light of this my reflections are that journaling can be a very powerful magnet for our lived experience. However we express ourselves in writing can play a part in how we shape our lives.
So if we frequently use our journals to rant words of anger and bitterness, then we reinforce angry and bitter experiences in our reality.
If we use our journals to write our appreciations and love letters, then we enhance our reality with loving and appreciative experiences.
In fact, whether we write it or not, our lived experience will be affected by how we feel.
And it’s important to know that there isn’t always a counterweight (my resistance to Mum’s fear) to neutralise our fear, anger or bitterness. Sometimes we create our own momentum, and whether it’s good or bad, positive or negative, the more we feel it, the more we attract it.
Pay attention to the outcomes you are attracting. And use your journal as a tool to reinforce the feelings that will create the outcomes you desire, rather than perpetuate those you don’t.

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Filed under Journal Writing, Law of Attraction

Be your own Valentine

It’s 1st February. The month of love. When spring is thinking about being sprung and kids everywhere anticipate padded red envelopes being left in their lockers and desks; while restaurants charge an arm and a leg for everything served with ‘a raspberry coulis’.

It can also be a time of anti-climax. The Valentine isn’t quite as heart-felt as you’d like; the service in the restaurant is a bit slow and the red rose a bit wilted.

Heart.jp

So this month try something radical. Instead of waiting for Mr or Ms Right to declare their undying love, do it for yourself. In your journal.

What if you wrote yourself a love letter, the way you want it to be? What if, every day in February, you sent yourself a billet doux, written by your own fair hand, in your journal.

Don’t be shy. Be loving and  kind. To yourself.

And while you’re at it, treat yourself to your very own signed copy of The Journal Writer’s Handbook, available here, while stocks last.

 

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Good vibrations

2018 is opening up before us and I wish everyone a very happy, peaceful and abundant New Year.

This is typically a time when we renew our journaling practice with more dedication. Reflective writing is a great meditation, giving us space to find our inner voice and express gratitude for what we have.

So I want to offer you a slightly different journaling approach to not only give you greater clarity but also to help you improve your experience moment to moment. This arises from my own understanding of the teachings of Abraham Hicks, and from applying a few different techniques in my own writing as a result.

For 2018 I’m advocating a much more mindful approach to reflective writing. Instead of allowing your pen to move across the page and regurgitate the same phrases you use to express your fears or anger or dissatisfaction, deliberately choose to open your entry with some positive words.

For example write ‘I want’ rather than ‘I don’t want’. Write ‘I appreciate’ rather than ‘I am grateful for’. Notice how focussing on the things you want and the things you appreciate will raise your feel-good vibe.

According to the Law of Attraction taking this approach will have the magnificent effect of attracting more feel-good experiences, and the more we relax, trust and enjoy the more we are making ourselves ready to receive.

So for a more joyful, abundant and love-filled year use your journal to practice the art of appreciation, and to evoke how fabulous it’s going to feel when you achieve what you want.

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Metamorphosis through art and journaling

It’s always a huge privilege to talk to artists about their work. I find it brings their creations to life for me in a way I don’t know that I’d get just by viewing their work in a gallery. I love to understand their process, the questions they begin with, the choices they make and how these present themselves.

Creating art is vital to our humanity, though often in our utilitarian, materialistic worldview it is more convenient, or more practical, to believe otherwise. However I am a fan of art and artists.

As a journal writer I like to reflect on what art has given me whenever I have encountered it. A couple of weeks ago I enjoyed a fabulous conversation with Swindon-based multi-media artist Jill Carter. Her collection Curious Narratives contains drawings, found items, photographs, stitched dolls, journals and items to wear, chronicling her time travelling in Italy, in search of the mythical Sybils, the prophetic women of the Classical world.

The Sybils

Jill’s Sybils, depicted here in pen and ink, are left to right a doll, a healer and a donor. It feels like these are symbols of her process and motivation.

I am intrigued by what dolls, and stitching, mean to Jill. Both are central to her work. Jill tells me that dolls signify our childlike creativity and expression, but she also considers them to be the story keepers, representing ritual and spiritual healing, like religious icons.

After working in social settings Jill describes feeling overwhelmed by people’s stories and how she felt herself being drawn to stitching dolls. I wonder whether this is about containment, holding in that which we cannot process or resolve. It’s like praying, transferring our pain onto an inanimate approximation of ourselves, in the hope of transformation. And the thought occurs to me that this could be why some people find dolls creepy – the artificial, frozen features are the repositories of unidentified fear and suffering.

After the stitching comes the healing. This feels like integration, and is akin for me to journaling. Once we are healed, once we have that clarity, then we can give. It is a metamorphosis of sorts.

Where are you on the journey from stitching to giving? How does your journal and your process help you heal?

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Filed under Art, Creative process, Journal Writing, Reflection

What would Nathan do?

It’s day 3 of the 30 day digital journaling challenge and I’m thrilled to be on-board, gaining insights into the journaling progress of so many wonderful people around the world, and also experiencing a new form of journaling for myself.

It’s early days – and I know myself well enough to recognise my penchant and enthusiasm for shiny new things, which can wane after a while, and when real life kicks in – but at the moment I am astounded by the fluency and ease with which my journal entries are tapping themselves out onto my keyboard.

I’ve always been an advocate of handwritten journals, and will never give up the joy of ink and paper, especially when it is beautifully bound, and feels satisfyingly weighty to hold. Plus the fact that I consider writing to be a physical act, involving real fine motor skill and miraculous neural links and networks. Somehow typing has been to this what I would consider Tiger Woods’ Wii golf to be to the real game.

However.

The real reason for this blog  is not to talk about how excited I am to be typing my journal for a change. (Though for anyone wondering what I’m using I have to confess to just creating dated documents in polaris on my android tablet and backing them up to Dropbox.)

No.

The real reason for this entry today is because I want to say a huge, public thank you to Nathan Ohren and his team for making the digital journaling challenge possible – and for being such an engaging and big-hearted champion for personal empowerment through expressive journaling.

I first ‘met’ Nathan in Spring 2013 when he interviewed me for his JournalTalk podcast series. What a great idea! And he turned out to be a great communicator and an excellent talk-show host. Since then he and I have been friends in the social media space and I am always delighted when he contributes his comments in response to events in my life.

Nathan Ohren

So when he invited me to be part of the current challenge I was very honoured. I admire his enthusiasm and drive and willingness to help others achieve their best. I have to admit that sometimes when I’m stuck in my work, wondering how best to contact a prospect or client, or trying to address a thorny communication issue, I often ask myself what Nathan would do. It always helps.

Without wishing to make Nathan blush any more, I’m wondering if this in itself could be a journaling exercise? To identify someone with qualities you admire and wish to emulate; and to enquire, open-heartedly, about what they would do in your shoes when facing a tricky problem.

And don’t forget to thank them when you get the chance.

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Filed under 30 Day Digital Journaling Challenge, Journal Writing

Swindon Celebrates International Women’s Day 8 March 2014

IWD2014Poster

Once again the women of Swindon are gathering to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March.

A packed programme of workshops, art and craft displays, talks, poetry recitals, singing and dancing is planned to take place around the Central Library and Art Galleries adjacent to Regent’s Circus.

The theme of the day is RESPECT NOT VIOLENCE – taking a stand against violence against women – and the Balloon Launch at 1pm will represent the hopes of Swindon’s men and women that RESPECT will always win through.

I’ll be running a short journaling workshop at 1.30 on the 2nd floor of the Library – so come along and learn how to discover your inner icon through reflective writing.

Look forward to seeing you!

 

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