Giving Mindset Journal

Create a Giving Mindset: The Power of Your Journal This Holiday Season

I’m thrilled to be featured once again on the Insight Timer Blog with a special article about mindfulness this holiday season.

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Create a Giving Mindset: The Power of Your Journal This Holiday Season

The holiday season approaches, and it will be one like no other. Amidst a global pandemic many connections and traditions we look forward to may be a bit different this year. While not a replacement, the blended practices of meditation and journal-writing can be a beautiful alternative for this moment. And perhaps some can inspire new traditions for you going forward.

It’s no coincidence that many of the world’s major religions have traditions of connection, and of light, in what is the darkest part of the year in the northern hemisphere. And lack of connection is one of the most challenging sides of living through this pandemic. This holiday season lands at a time some believe may be in the ‘third-quarter phenomenon’ – a trend that has been noted by those that study experiences of extended isolation, such as living on the International Space Station or at the research campus on Antarctica. No matter the overall timeline of the isolation, around two-thirds to three-fourths of the way through, moods and morale hit a low-point.

With the caution of COVID-19 numbers hitting new records in many parts of the world, but the promising news of vaccine rollouts seeming imminent, it could very well be that the holiday season and the lows of the ‘third-quarter’ of the pandemic will overlap.

So what are some new ways for right now we can use to connect to traditions and others, create a giving mindset for ourselves, and celebrate what is a season of light in so many cultures? The combined practices of meditation and mindful journal-writing gives us a pathway.

Mindful Journaling In The Holiday Season

The practice of meditative and mindful journaling is a simple three-step process:

Begin — Be present: take some deep breaths, listen to an audio journal prompt, take a walk. Let your writing prompt find you.

Write – Shorter is better! 5-10 minutes is just enough.

Reflect – Take a few deep breaths, read and be present to what you have just written. What surprises or insights stand out? Now write yourself one last line of reflection.

You can learn more about reflection writing in the talk below:

Reflective Writing In Your Journal, by Laura Stukel

 

Ideas to combine meditation and mindful journal-writing in this holiday season:

Linger in a few moments of beautiful candlelight

Many different traditions draw from light in the darkness. Enjoy some deep breaths as you feel your body relax. Sit and be present to the stillness. When you are ready, begin to write, using this meditative beginning and then following your pen wherever your writing takes you.

You might want to try this candle breathing meditation by Sara Rabinovitch, Ph.D.

Use images or wording from cards given or received as a springboard into writing

Extend the tradition and the exchange by being present to any inspiration. Reflect on a selected card for a moment and take a few relaxing breaths. When you are ready, use a few words from the card as a starter and then follow your pen.

Connect in a deep way, without limitations of time or space

A Character Sketch journal write is a description of someone dear, using a moment of meditation to be together in your mind (anyone special – perhaps even someone who has passed on). Close your eyes and picture your dear one approaching, then standing near. Finally, be present with them, using all of your five senses. When you are ready, describe your dear one in your journal. To really experience a moment of a giving mindset, you may choose to conclude your session by writing a special holiday card to this person, and mailing or delivering it symbolically to a loved one passed.

Capture special holiday moments

Similar to the technique above, a Captured Moment journal write begins with quiet meditation, and an observation in your mind, using all five senses. Seasonal scents or essential oils add inspiration. To try, simply sit in quiet with your eyes closed, and picture a blank, white screen in front of you. Allow yourself to call forward holiday memories from the past, watching them pass like a movie, or as if flipping through a photo album. Then let one be fully present to you, and enjoy that moment again using all five senses. When you are ready, write, describing this holiday moment in time as if you are enjoying it again in slow motion.

Embrace the symbols, inspiration and perspective of holiday traditions

From images of the sun on the Winter Solstice, to the story of the oil lasting for eight nights, to the journey of the three wise men, we have rich connections to culture, history, traditions and nature in this time of year. Secular and pop culture adds more layers. Using music, stories, family heirlooms, religious texts, or similar inspiration, find perspective and in your journal. Travel space and time as you need to. Write as another person if it suits you. Quietly center yourself amidst your inspiration, and then write.

For example, imagine yourself being among the peoples who placed the columns at Stonehenge, then write as that person observing the season present. Or maybe enjoy the classic song, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and then write from the perspective of Bing Crosby himself, with whatever wisdom he may be able to impart into your journal. Or, Ebenezer Scroorge perhaps? Take in bubbe’s latke recipe, noting the careful way she described the steps, and then write from her perspective as if she was experiencing the present moment in time. You get the idea.

Dialogue with a Grandparent – Meditation for Journal Writing by Laura Stukel

 

Create a Mindset of Giving

Yes, this holiday season will be unlike any we have experienced before. And yes, there are challenges. Remember to take time to be present, and to create new, mindful ways to connect with traditions and loved ones during this season. Blending the practices of meditation and journal-writing will allow us to experience holiday traditions in new, creative and heart-filling ways.

 

Prompting Yourself to ‘Spring Forward’

We’ve gained an hour of sunlight (but I do miss that hour of sleep!). The earth still appears to be sleeping, but change is afoot.

In your journal this is great inspiration. Try a Springboard or a Clustering write.

Spring forward…

As a Springboard write, use the words as your prompt and follow your writing.

As a Clustering write, place the words in the center of a page and circle them. Then branch and sketch as it suits you.

Write for five minutes. When you are done, reread your writing and jot down a few follow notes based on what you notice, observe in your body or any to do’s that may be popping out to you.

Use Your Journal to Spring Forward, Farther!

Springboard and Clustering are just two 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.

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.

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.

Becoming: A journal to tell your truth, faster

Former First Lady Michelle Obama is celebrating the one year anniversary of her best-selling book, Becoming, with a guided (or Springboard) journal. The prompts are designed to help each of us find our voice and are inspired by the lessons she has learned in her own life as well as some of her most memorable quotes. For example, the USA Today shared this example:

“When they go low, we go high. How do you put this phrase into practice?”

One of the tenants of Journal to the Self ® is the art of telling yourself the complete truth, faster. In her book of this name, Kay Adams explains that this statement came to her from author Sondra Ray. Kay describes why self-truth in your own journal is so valuable:

“Your own truth is not your enemy. Don’t try to talk yourself out of knowing what you know or feeling what you feel. You’ll get the best results in your journal if you give yourself permission to write your own truth.”

On the Becoming Journal’s webpage Obama is quoted similarly:

“It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”

Last year, Obama inspired by sharing her story with all of us. This year, she gives us guided prompts to create the gift of sharing our own story with ourselves.

Time to Fall Back – A Journal Writing Prompt

Ah. It’s the weekend to ‘Fall Back’. One hour of sun taken from the evening and granted to the mornings. At least for a few months.

Autumn is a vibrant season of change. The colors, the daylight, the weather calls us to let go.

But this weekend we ‘fall back’. It takes resources to weather a change. Your resources might be your inner circle, your own sense of your strengths and values, your self care routine, or a favorite book or song.

Whatever it is, take a moment to reflect on the tools you have to navigate change in your journal. Try the following prompt as a Springboard for your writing. Follow the prompt and write for five minutes. When you are done, reread your writing and jot down a few follow notes based on what you notice, observe in your body or any to do’s that may be popping out to you.

No matter what, I can always fall back on…

 

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.

 

Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash.