Tag Archives: intentions

Journaling for entrepreneurs

Last week I presented a 20 minute talk about journal writing to a group of 15 small business owners at a networking breakfast. They’re a great bunch with whom I network on a regular basis, and as they can be quite lively I was curious to see how they would respond to some quiet time to write reflectively.

Having explained a little bit about the power of journaling I then led them through 4 carefully selected journaling prompts – to break them in gently!

I was thrilled that for 10 whole minutes the whole group – most of whom were not accustomed to this type of activity – sat and wrote. The sense of mindful calm that descended upon the room was luscious – and something that I have become very familiar with, and fond of, when encouraging groups of people to reflect together.

In the spirit of reviewing and setting goals and intentions for the New Year, the prompts I suggested were:

I am grateful for..

It is a time of…

My accomplishments this week have been…

Next week I promise myself…

After the session there were a number of questions and comments, and a real sense that beginning the day mindfully was a positive thing.

I hope that more business owners will give journaling a try to gain perspective, test out ideas and tap into their inner wisdom, creativity and resourcefulness. After all this is the true spirit of the entrepreneur.

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Filed under Entrepreneurs, Goal-setting, Reflection

Birthday meditation – and an announcement

First my announcement.

After months of prevaricating The Journal Writer’s Handbook is now available on Kindle. Click on the cover image to go right ahead and buy it!

I don’t know exactly why I was prevaricating. Partly fear of getting the formatting right for electronic publication; partly loyalty towards ‘real’ books. In the end I realised that the Handbook would work well electronically, as all the indices could be neatly hyper-linked and navigation would be easier. Hurrah for giving myself a rational talking to.

So there it is. And the reason why this is linked to my recent birthday is because getting it done became my gift to myself. Completing it on time felt brilliant, and now I am resolved to set a target to achieve for each of my future birthdays.

Birthdays are times of new commitments to ourselves. They mark the anniversary of our first involuntary breath, and we can honour that every year with a special voluntary act of our own.

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Filed under The Journal Writer's Handbook

Snapshot time!

The last day of the month is the time for journaling snapshots – a review of all that the out-going month has meant and a quick look inside for our next intentions. It’s something I look forward to every four weeks, and it’s happening tonight!

Meanwhile yesterday I met a woman who told me about her annual practice of writing herself a letter just before she takes down her Christmas decorations, reflecting on the year, how she’s feeling and what she might have planned for the year to come. She then tucks it away at the bottom of the decorations box, waiting for her to pick it up and read it the following Christmas time. I love this structure!

Happy snapshots!

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ESSO-powered journaling

No – I’m not talking about petrol, and I don’t wish to be an advert for fossil fuel consumption.

ESSO stands for the things I most yearn for in my life, and which I found myself writing about the other day – Ease Simplicity Serenity and Order. I love how acronyms present themselves to me and invariably bring a new metaphor along for the ride.

Those who know me and my family personally might well scoff. You know what creative chaos we live in. But if I don’t form the intention to be with more ESSO, even if it’s a pipe-dream (OMG, when will this oil-industry analogy let go?), then I have not a cat in hell’s chance of staying sane.

With ESSO in mind I picked out a new journal this week, and found one which depicts singing birds on branches next to neat little bird-boxes. I proceeded to plan my week, including all our meals, and even shopped for all the menu items. I made sure all the laundry and all the ironing got done in one attempt, and I managed to clear away all the clutter from the bedroom floor.

A little order has gone a long way to support the ease and serenity of my time this week. Maybe I have been fuelled by ESSO after all.

What are the things you’re most yearning for right now? Can you make an acronym or acrostic out of them? And what’s the metaphor that accompanies it?

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Filed under Creative process, Reflective Writing Practice

Journaling in the face of tragedy

Six days since Sandy Hook.

Throughout the week my mind has periodically reached across to Connecticut to be with the grieving families – the Mums, Dads, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends. Periodically I have felt my own tears fall at the horror of what has happened – the desolation and the unimaginable grief and pain being suffered.

But I’m daring to imagine it. To put myself in the shoes of those who have been so dreadfully affected. To reach out with my thoughts and to say “I hear you, I feel you, I am so sorry, and I promise to tread on with love and conscious awareness in memory of all those that lost their lives, especially the children , so vibrant, innocent and full of promise.”

And I’m doing this in my journal, in order to bear witness, to acknowledge the precariousness of life, its preciousness. Our journals are where we can extend our thoughts to those who are hurting; where we can name and own our own vulnerability, and pledge our intentions and commitments in the name of the victims.

Don’t talk about the end of the world this Winter Solstice. Remember that for 27 families in Newtown this has already happened. And it’s happening all over the world too. In Syria, in Palestine, in Pakistan. Every day the world ends for someone as they lose their most precious loved one to violence, war, disease or poverty. Three out of four of these killers are man-made, and are the result of people not bearing witness, not reaching out with compassion nor admitting and sharing our vulnerability and our precariousness.

This Winter Solstice let’s use our journals to apply ourselves to the particular reality of the last days, months and years of suffering that we have escaped while others haven’t.  Let’s remind ourselves what it is to be grateful, and how we must treat others the way we would like to be treated ourselves. Let’s individually and collectively reflect on what we each might do. And let our shared appalled reaction spur us into making a new resolution for ourselves – to live well in our place, and to turn the horror into compassionate action for those people on our doorsteps.

The world will not come to an end this Winter Solstice. But let’s hope something does. Let’s hope it’s our tendency to sleep-walk through life without paying attention to what’s really needed, nor to the part we each can play.

RIP Sandy Hook victims.

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Filed under Current Affairs, Journal Writing

Use your journal to consciously create your perfect Christmas

The festive season is without doubt a time for lists – presents to buy, food to prepare, cards to write, recipes to follow, the last minute preparations before the big day arrives.

It’s funny how this festive frenzy of list-making often serves to put us into auto-pilot mode, so we can merrily tick through all our items, keeping panic at bay and helping us feel like we’re ready. But ready for what?

I propose that while we’re indulging in our seasonal lists we try a couple that are a bit more intentional, a bit more consciously aware and a bit less ‘auto-pilot’.  And as one of the most famous lists at this time of year appears in a song, make your list 12 items long to match!

For example:

The top twelve things I love about Christmas; my twelve favourite festive movies; twelve things that make me feel ‘Christmassy’; my twelve perfect festive ingredients; the top twelve songs on my perfect Christmas playlist.

It’s also a time to reflect back on all that the past year has brought us. So how about a list of your top twelve achievments; the twelve things you’re most grateful for; your top twelve lessons learned; your top twelve highlights of 2012… The list, as they say, goes on.

By naming the things we’ve accomplished, and the things we look forward to at this time of year, we can set our intention and consciously create our perfect holiday – and then have fun reflecting on it all afterwards.

(Excuse the split infinitive – I’m boldly going with this one.)

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Filed under Journal Writing, Reflective Writing Practice

Transform your relationship with time through journaling

How do you think about time? Is it something you feel you haven’t enough of – or do you find yourself wishing it away?

Time is a phenomenon that is simultaneously astonishingly simple and mind-blowingly complex. It touches all of us and it stands still for noone. It flies and it ravages, is easy to measure yet devilish to define.

However in our journals we can influence how time passes, if not cosmically, at least psychologically.

Journal writing provides us with the perfect space to review and reflect on the memories and lessons of our past, create our intentions for the future and make the  most of the present moment. Taking notice of our current surroundings, the people we interact with, and the sights, sounds and smells of our present reality enable us to live each moment fully – and writing about it all enables us to relive it at any future moment. So time – or at least how we fill it – becomes collapsible, and each present moment contains elements from both past and future. Our time becomes timeless, eternal.

Once we get under the skin of our relationship with time we start to understand how effectively or otherwise we use it. Look out in particular for the link between anxiety and procrastination. The more anxious we become about a task, the longer we perceive it to take, and the less readily we find time to actually get it done. But journaling helps us to make clearer distinctions between perceptions and reality, so anxiety reduces, tasks become no more than tasks to be prioritised, and suddenly we find we have more time than we thought.

Journaling helps us identify our own rhythm, and once we allow ourselves to live life at our own pace we suddenly get into a state of flow, finding ourselves accomplishing more in an hour or a day than we ever knew was possible.

Eventually we become less focused on quantifiable time, and much more interested in the quality of how we spend our time. It’s all relative of course, as Einstein would tell us. The great thing is we can choose how we relate.

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Filed under Journal Writing, Time Management