For as long as I can remember, I have always loved to write. When I was younger, I diligently kept journals, but back then, they were called diaries. Sometimes, I knew what I wanted to write about, and other times I felt stuck in my life and my emotions. But, once I put my pen to the paper, my ideas came pouring out of me. Writing about my day grounded me in my experience. Writing about my emotions gave me clarity and serenity.
However, as I grew into an adult and became a wife and mother, my life got busier and busier. My days were not only filled with my own activities and responsibilities, but with my children’s as well. By the time I was able to sit down and unwind, I was too tired to write. My sense of self began to decay; I tucked my emotions away and left them buried deep inside of myself.
I have moved fourteen times in the last twenty-five years. Three of those moves have been in the last three years. I always joke and say, “I am a professional mover,” and although I have become quite efficient in regards to packing and organizing, through my journaling practice, I have also realized the effect that all of these moves have had on my body, mind, and spirit. To sum it up, it was almost impossible to stay grounded when I was always in a state of transition. Ever since this last move, I simply could not ignore my need to write. In the middle of a huge transition for my family and myself, I made it a priority to journal for at least five minutes – every single day. Now, writing has once again become an irrevocable part of my life. It has become a grounding force in the face of so much change. It’s allowed me to connect to a part of myself that’s often shrouded from other people.
Sometimes, when I speak out loud – no matter what I have to say – I often feel like I’m not heard. I have always been soft-spoken, and I’m still working on learning how to project my voice. When I write in my journal, not only do I feel heard – I feel validated. We are often our worst critics, and journaling has opened up a new chapter in my life: one on self-love. I have met many women in the last few years who feel similarly. The truth is, women are experts on playing so many roles and wearing so many hats that we lose our true selves in the midst of all of the various identities we are expected to acquire. People start depending on us and expecting us to perform excellently in a multitude of ways. Whether it is a job, a spouse, a significant other, children, parents, or even a pet, we subvert our own needs for the needs of someone else. We think about ourselves last, or, sometimes, we don’t even think about ourselves at all! As women, we lead by example, so when we forget about ourselves, other people in our lives tend to follow suit. Then, the inevitable happens: one day, we wake up and we feel stuck or unimportant.
When was the last time you truly connected to yourself?
This is why you must keep a journal. Journaling can help us access the parts of ourselves that we’ve hidden away under our responsibilities, the expectations others put on us, and our never-ending to-do lists. What I’ve found that’s helped me the most in my journaling practice is the process of keeping different journals for different things, and one exercise I recommend to everyone – male or female – is to write down one positive aspect of yourself every single day. One day it maybe a single word, one day it may be a sentence or even a paragraph. You never know what you will discover! You may even end up writing a book.
When I journal, it is a release. It helps me to sort out my feelings and emotions. There is something about writing everything down – it’s a process of owning what you have to say and getting it off of your chest. I’m a private person, and although I do yoga, meditate, hike, walk, and eat healthfully, I’ve discovered that I still hold so much inside. I’m a great communicator, and I am good at helping others to express themselves, but I’ve learned how to bury a lot of my emotions so deeply inside of myself that oftentimes, I’m not even aware that I’m doing this! Some recent health issues (which I will share in more detail at a later time) forced me to slow down. I could not perform my usual activities, and my pen and journal became my release. Many thoughts and emotions, as well as memories, resurfaced. For the first time in my life, I could not exercise. Writing was the only way I could move.
Sometimes, it’s scary to slow down and just be with ourselves. Inevitably, we work harder, we work out harder, we cook more, clean more, do more, plan more, and before we know it, we are moving at the speed of light, never stopping for what we truly crave. Suddenly, we feel depleted, tired, overloaded, and as if we can’t get anything done. I know this process firsthand.
Journaling will allow you to find your inner light.
When I started journaling, I was able to find my light again. This time, the light shined from my deepest core to the outer layers of my being. What I mean by this is that journaling comes from the soul. It allows you to be raw, real, and to own what you are feeling. What I have discovered through my journaling is that I am loud, strong and powerful. I hope to transfer some of that into my voice, so when I speak, I am not only heard, but people want to hear more of what I have to say. Who knows? Maybe, through my writing, I can become a voice for others who are in the place I was in. And, if I can help others find their brilliance, beauty, power, and their voice, they can pay it forward, and inspire others to do the same. I believe that each and every one of us has the power to create a spiritual domino effect.
However, big changes all start with one thing: taking the time to journal every single day. I know that carving out a few precious moments for yourself will allow you to connect to your deepest wants and desires. Undoubtedly, journaling will help you develop your voice, and connect to your inner power on a daily basis.
I have recently designed some journals. The words and colors all came to me in a meditation, and I hope that they inspire you. Please stay tuned, as a very special journal will be honoring an amazing person. I’ll give you a clue: love never ends!
I loved reading this Gayle, and could relate to so much of what you said! Gives me a much needed push to start journaling again!