Even NASA has Journal Power!

If you’re like me, you’re hunkering down for safety, while your head and heart try to process what this pandemic really means on a day-to-day basis.

Astronaut Scott Kelly (the twin who was in space for a year) offered some inspired tips on what it takes to live effectively in isolation.

The NYTimes shared an article written by the astronaut. One of the unexpected findings was the importance of keeping a journal while in isolation.  You can read “I Spent a Year In Space, and I Have Tips on Isolation to Share” on the New York Times (you may need a guest log in to view the content).
His tip on journal writing is about mid-way into the article (bold added for emphasis):

NASA has been studying the effects of isolation on humans for decades, and one surprising finding they have made is the value of keeping a journal. Throughout my yearlong mission, I took the time to write about my experiences almost every day. If you find yourself just chronicling the days’ events (which, under the circumstances, might get repetitive) instead try describing what you are experiencing through your five senses or write about memories. Even if you don’t wind up writing a book based on your journal like I did, writing about your days will help put your experiences in perspective and let you look back later on what this unique time in history has meant.

Turns out you CAN be a rocket scientist. All you need is your journal!

Power for Your Journal

Captured Moment is a writing technique from Journal to the Self that empowers us to write memories from the five senses. It is just one of 18 techniques I teach. My next online class starts April 16th. Join me! Learn more on the Workshops page, download a free sample first, or schedule a no obligation phone call to chat about how I can support your own journey, especially in these uncertain times.

NASA Photo by Bill Ingalls.

Head Heart Gut Instinct

Inspired by February: Head, Heart, Gut Instinct

February is the shortest month, but packed with inspiration. I think of it as Head (Abraham Lincoln’s birthday), Heart (Valentine’s Day, of course) and Gut Instinct (taking a leap into Spring). My posts this month have reflected ways to use this inspiration in your journal.

As we enjoy today, the gift of one extra day, I’ll share some tools to tap the Head, Heart and Gut.

Tools for Head, Heart, Gut Instinct

Be sure to download my free Head, Heart, Gut worksheet. It’s the perfect prompt for the ‘Five Minute Sprint’ Journal technique. Great if you just have a few moments for your journal. And, it works great if you are feeling fuzzy or overwhelmed and wish to better understand what’s going on for you.

If you have more time, or wish to take your writing deeper you can listen to the Head, Heart, Gut audio meditation first on Insight Timer. The guided meditation will help you relax and focus with a short body scan and some relaxation breathing. (File should be live on my Insight Timer library this weekend.)

Enjoy this bonus day that calls us to trust our instincts and take a Leap!

All these journal techniques are designed to help you be your own personal growth coach and guide towards your own vision. Try these free tools and then let’s schedule a no obligation phone call to chat about how I can support your own change journey. Mark your calendar and plan to join me for my next online Journal to the Self® workshop which begins March 12. 

LOL in Your Journal

Reflective Journal writing is so simple to do — and brings amazing insights. I also love those times when my journal absolutely makes me laugh out loud. It’s often when I need a humor break the most, or as I’m making some sort of delightfully profound connection — blowing away an obstacle that had been weighing me down.

It’s really fun for me to share a recent humor example that I think will stay with me forever. I’m reading Writing the Natural Way by Gabriele Rico. One of the activities is to use the Clustering technique as in Journal to the Self®with the prompt word

Afraid

I have to admit I wasn’t overwhelmed with the exercise. But I sat down and began by adding words about the big, bad, scary things related to being afraid. And then I added a protective lower ring I called the ‘safe zone’. And I finished with a core that wrapped around and highlighted the powerful parts of being afraid (like learning and experimenting). I felt done with words and sketched a few lines to contain and highlight the groupings.

I put my pen down, again feeling underwhelmed. But then I shifted the page just a touch to review my Cluster.

And I laughed out loud.

Journal to the Self Online

 

Spontaneous ‘Afraid’ sketch above. Brain diagram summarizes my recent reading. Notice how thinking, emotional and safety/instinct words line up. Even a stem! (Albeit wrong anatomically).

Here’s the sketch that emerged from my Cluster, as well as an image that represents the brain reading I’ve been doing lately about our reptile brain, why it’s programmed to think negatively (to protect us) and how people can use journal writing as a work around.

Darn it if I hadn’t just sketched a whole brain! When I finished laughing I did the next writing step, to describe what happened in the Cluster. In just mere moments I combined items related to my personal goals and business vision, readings and research I’ve been doing lately, and topics I’ve been discussing with a friend. Talk about the time savings, good laugh and next steps all packed into one journal write.

Journal to the Self Online

Hope you have fun watching for the humor in your own journal! Whether you make yourself laugh, or inspire yourself with how super-smart you can be, I hope you can join me soon for a Journal to the Self workshop. It’s a fun and amazing experience of personal discovery. My next online class begins March 12. Apply coupon code ‘Envision2020’ for a discount.

Brain image source: World of Lucid Dreaming

Lincoln Inspiration

Since I studied the Ira Progoff journal method in my twenties, Abraham Lincoln has been my most consistent source of journal inspiration. From his quotes as a Springboard, to his wisdom in Dialogues, and his leadership through Character Sketches I continue to be influenced by his amazing poise, grace and insights.

Here’s a favorite Lincoln quote as a Springboard for your journal, in honor of his birthday today:

Character is like a tree; reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is and the tree is the real thing.

Or try:

What is the real thing? …

Springboards, Dialogue and Character Sketches are just a few of the 18 amazing techniques I teach during Journal to the Self workshops. My next online course begins on March 4th. Join me! Learn more on the Workshops page (online and in-person session). If you’d like, download the free sample there first, or let’s schedule a no obligation phone call to chat about how I can support your own change journey.

 

Photo by Caleb Fisher on Unsplash.

The most personal is the most creative …

Parasite was the big delightful surprise out of the Oscars last night — the first time a foreign language film has taken home the top prize. This was one of many awards the film took home, including Best Director for Bong Joon-Ho.

In his acceptance speech, Joon-Ho shared a quote that he explained in English was “carved deep into my heart” and he acknowledged Martin Scorsese in the audience as the source.

From Joon-Ho via Scorses, it makes for a brilliant Springboard for your journal:

The most personal is the most creative.

Or try:

Carved deep into my heart…

Springboard 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, 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.

 

New York Times photo.

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.

 

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.

Lessons from Stillness

The longest day of the year is here. Today is a reminder of the power of the stillness. The quiet of the winter manifests as an eruption of spring. One is not possible without the other.

What can you learn from the stillness?

This is a great Springboard for your journal. Just write the prompt and follow your pen. Don’t forget to finish by re-reading and jotting down a reflection.

Springboard 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 by Pixabay from Pexels.