The Season to Dream!

Pisces Season is upon us. A call to listen to our inner wisdom, intuition — and dreams!

Ever wake up with a dream and wonder what it means? Writing about it in your journal can help you sort out these messages and insights from your subconscious. See previous blog posts on Character Sketch, Unsent Letters, Artmaking, Springboards and other techniques you can use to explore the meanings of your dreams.

Want to inspire more dreaming and dream recall? Some tips: keep a notepad by your bed, remind yourself before you fall asleep that you’d like to remember your dreams when you wake up, jot just a few notes and/or a title in the middle of the night then fill in whatever else you remember in the morning. Last tip – the more you try to recall dreams, the more you will recall! Try it out for yourself.

Working with dreams in your journal is just one of 18 amazing techniques I teach during Journal to the Self Workshops (online and in-person session). Plus, all my students receive a cool pen with a mini flashlight to capture dream notes without disturbing your sleep. Join me and learn the insights your dreams hold for you.

Love for Yourself in Your Journal

Valentine’s Day is an important day to make time for loving yourself too! All journal writing is a form of self-care, but one method especially stands out. It also draws out your own inner wisdom in a delightfully surprising way: the AlphaPoem.

The technique is simple, just write an inspirational word or phrase down the side of your journal. Try a word or phrase of about 10-15 letters for the best results. Reflect on the word for a few moments, then write quickly. Just follow your pen, as a rhythmic paragraph unfolds. Perhaps each line starts a new phrase or sentence, maybe not.

You can close your eyes to see what stands out, or try a current theme like:

L

O

V

I

N

G

 

M

Y

S

E

L

F

AlphaPoem can be especially insightful if you use it to wrap up a series of journal writes on a related topic. Use the word or phrase that captures the theme of what you are exploring or where you are moving.

The practice is a bit trickier. A few tips – be sure to write VERY fast and be VERY imperfect. Set a timer for 5 minutes, take a few deep breaths and then just follow the pen.

AlphaPoem is my favorite way to close my Journal to the Self workshops. My next online class starts March 4th. 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 change journey.

Photo credit to photographer. 

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.

Repeating: Deeper Insights from Your Journal

Wintertime really calls me to slooow down. I’d hibernate if I could! So I always feel for the poor celebrity groundhogs who get dragged out of their cozy dens early each February 2nd to help us ‘forecast’ when spring will arrive. But the movie ‘Groundhog Day’ is one of my favorites. The message of embracing the ability to repeat, tweak, repeat, tweak again, and grow stays with me. 

So here’s some inspiration for your journal, using the power of repetition to tap insights. 

Just pick a prompt that stands out to you — a word, a question, the lyrics from a song. Set your timer for five minutes and write. Then repeat so you write five times with the same prompt. Be sure to do a reflection after each one, and then a sixth reflection after your read all five at once. 

You may choose to write for five days, spread it over a week, or do all the writes in one day. Whatever works for you! 

Visit the Workshops page to learn about more ways to tap insights with your journal, or test it out with a free sample!

 

Image by Dana_David from Pixabay.

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.