Using Meditation for Journal Writing

As a teacher, my goal is always to help students understand the wisdom within. It’s possible to tap this wisdom through the practice of journal writing. One amazing suggestion to empower your journal writing is by using an entrance meditation.

An entrance meditation is anything that works for you to quiet yourself before you begin writing. This process of settling the day-to-day busy-ness of our brain then engages the more intuitive, creative, symbol-oriented part of our brain to inspire our writing. For some a long walk, time in the garden or a warm bath is helpful. For others, a beautiful quote or lyric from a song works. Even a few deep breaths can be magical. For those who want to try a more focused quieting, yoga, listening to calming music or mindfulness meditation can be very effective.

Listening to a focused meditation designed specifically to inspire your journal writing can be particularly powerful. These meditations often use a visualization activity — taking your mind on a journey and guiding you to write based on the inspiration you glimpsed. Such visualizations can take you back or forward in time to see things from a different perspective, help you call forward the people present in your life today, or influencers from the past to inspire new lessons in your life, or use vivid imagery to help your brain see the bigger themes, symbols and insights we’re sometimes too busy to take in.

I’ve recently begun recording some of my students’ favorite journal meditations on a free app called Insight Timer. I hope you’ll join me there next time you need some special inspiration for your journal writing. You can even revisit this blog post as audio on Insight Timer.

Until then, give yourself at least three deep breaths each time you interact with your journal. You’ll see a difference in your writing!

 

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels.

Stream of Consciousness Writing

Oh how fun just to follow the pen! Lots of flowy, streaming inspiration for your journal this week. Go-with-the-flow Aquarius Season kicked off on Sunday. And yesterday, we celebrated John Hancock’s birthday and his famous signature with National Handwriting Day.

Here’s how you can inspire some Stream of Consciousness or flow writing in your own journal:

  • Set the mood. If you want to open up your head and let your pen take the lead, try a few moments to settle yourself. So many options to try — do some relaxation breathing, take a walk, listen to music, take a long shower, meditate.
  • For any settling, I’d recommend about five minutes of whatever quieting activity you choose.
  • When you are ready, just start writing. Set a timer for 5-8 minutes and just follow wherever the writing goes. No worries if you jump around on ideas, restart, change the orientation of the page. The spontaneity/unpredictability is one of the reasons this type of writing can be so engaging and insightful!
  • As soon as the timer ends, reread what you have written and create a final reflection of the overall process and any insights or observations you now have.

Want to try my favorite entrance technique? Set a timer for 5 minutes and just sit. Let your mind go as many places as it wants. Really. Don’t worry about clearing your mind … just follow it! Then write. My busy brain is so busy all the time, I find a sense of calm in the chaos of allowing myself just to think.

Stream of Consciousness is just one of 18 amazing techniques I teach during Journal to the Self workshops. Learn more on the Workshops page (online and in-person session). Or, same page has info if you prefer to sample first, try a free technique; or let’s schedule a no obligation phone call to chat about how I can support your own change journey.

On MLK Day: Perspective

If there’s one lesson I take from the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it’s about how great the world could be if we would each take a bit of time to think about life through the lens of another’s perspective.

On the date we celebrate his birth, I invite you to learn more about the journal-writing technique called ‘Perspective’. This writing tool happens whenever you change the point-of-view. Maybe writing it from you in the future, you in the past, you in the third person. It becomes a tool for understanding when you write it by changing who the author is.

For example, I get to teach this one as a guest speaker for a high school sociology class near me. We talk about writing about what life would be from the viewpoint of a different gender. What it might have felt like to be an American at different milestones in our history – depending on where you came from or the color of your skin.

To try a Perspectives write today, just take a moment to think about the point-of-view you’d like to understand a bit better. Sit for a moment and reflect on the feelings, emotions, lessons, opportunities, challenges. Then write. Finish with a reflection write to process the overall experience and any insights.

Perspectives is just one of 18 amazing techniques I teach during Journal to the Self workshops. Learn more on the Workshops page (online and in-person session). Or, same page has info if you prefer to sample first, try a free technique; or let’s schedule a no obligation phone call to chat about how I can support your own change journey.

 

Clustering: On ‘Thesaurus Day’

Happy birthday Peter Roget (inventor of the modern thesaurus)! Okay, I did have to look this up. But I love that it’s a thing.

In honor of Peter’s love of words, I’d invite you to try the Clustering technique in your journal today. Clustering is a quick and simple technique that tricks your left (thinking) brain into taking a break, so your right (scenery) brain can write. This is consistently one of my students’ favorite techniques and they always get delightfully surprising and useful insights, in a fast and fun way.

Try it out. As a prompt, use whatever word inspires you in this year 2020. Or try:

My Priorities 2020

Write your word in a circle in the center. Then branch, doodle and scribble all the thoughts that emerge. As some point, you’ll just feel done. When that happens, review the diagram and describe in words the story it tells. Do the branches relate? Or contradict? Are there lots of short branches? Or a few long ones? What are the arrows, underlines or notes in the margins telling you? Note whatever trends, themes, insights you notice.

Now go back and skim your doodle again, as well as the words you’ve written to describe it.  Write a short reflection: whatever observations, surprises or ideas you have. This might be an emotional feeling, a sense in your body, or the seed of an idea you want to follow up on.

Clustering is just one of 18 amazing techniques I teach during Journal to the Self workshops. Learn more on the Workshops page (online and in-person session). Or, same page has info if you prefer to sample first, try a free technique, or let’s schedule a no obligation phone call to chat about how I can support your own change journey.

Today’s the Twelfth Night – An Epiphany!

Count 12 days from Christmas, and you land on – January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany. In religious tradition, this is the date the three wise men finally completed their journey. The word roots mean ‘manifestation’ (as in the three kings manifesting their quest to see the baby Jesus). But the word also means ‘an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure,’ according to Merriam-Webster.

What an amazing prompt for your journal. This year I had the pleasure of seeing the Public Works version of Twelfth Night based on Shakespeare’s play of the same name at my local high school. Talk about being blown away – and also inspired to discover! The theater director reminded patrons of the ties between the Twelfth Night story, and the concept of an epiphany.

Enjoy a special rendition of ‘Eyes of Another’ presented by the members of Public Works in Central Park to get started. For a writing Springboard, try:

If we’d open our hearts to each other’s beat…

When you’re ready, try a Perspectives write. Write about your own beat from the point of view of someone else (like your best friend). Or jump into the shoes of someone special and write about their beat in the first person.

Here’s to the year ahead!

Perspectives is just one of 18 amazing techniques I teach during Journal to the Self workshops. Learn more on the Workshops page (online and in-person session). Or, same page has info if you prefer to sample first, try a free technique; or let’s schedule a no obligation phone call to chat about how I can support your own change journey.

 

Photo from Amazon.com.