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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.

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.

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.

Find a Balance for 2020

Happy New Year! This quiet time of year, plus a fresh start calls us to think about what we want to make of the next 365 opportunities ahead. It’s a great time to take a snapshot of the different elements of your life, assess where you are, where you want to be, and action steps to tune up the areas that need attention, or tame the areas that feel overloaded.

Personally, I like a two-step process. But try just one or the other if that suits you better.

Coming out of the ‘busy-ness’ of Christmas I like to start with a doodle step, so my creative brain has some space to pause and stretch and think. I like the Balance Wheel diagram from the Chopra Center – it’s simple and useful.

BalWheelsq

My own balance wheel was delightfully messy with spontaneous doodles. One gap area really surprised me. Acknowledging it inspires me for the year ahead.

Just grab a dull colored pencil and a bolder pencil. Then go around the wheel, starting with the dull color to represent where you feel you are on that life element at this moment. Connect all the individual lines to get a background shape. The irregularity is a picture of where you are overall — some areas with a lot of attention, others with less. Now grab the brighter color to indicate where you wish to spend your energy in 2020. I like to make these lines smaller and color them in, so the overall picture is more like a star coming out of the background shape. Don’t worry about the math and science of your diagram. It’s more about areas that surprise you — such as an area that feels much lower than where you want to be. Capture in words any takeaways from the picture — celebrate the balanced areas, be curious about the unbalanced areas, notice which areas call for your focus in the coming year. Then look at the diagrams again, read your recap and write a reflection. This might be in the form of more curiosities you have about a certain area, some ideas on daily habits for the coming year or other ways to explore taking the story of your diagram into action for 2020. 

 

Now you can go a bit deeper on 2-4 life areas from the wheel. These might just jump out at you. Or you might want to mix one area with a large gap between current and desired, one that you want to celebrate and one that you want to work on. Whatever your mix, explore these areas more in your journal. Give yourself five minutes to explore each selected area. Then use the same three questions to write about each one:

Where am I now?

Where do I want to be?

What will it take to get from ‘here’ to ‘there’ – or to maintain levels current satisfaction?

When you’ve finished the questions for your selected life areas, reread them all and write one last reflection. Now take a moment to celebrate your work. You’ve set yourself up to work on the things in 2020 that really matter to you! Wishing you the best for this New Year and beyond!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Go of 2019

Whether 2019 was amazing, or you want to forget it, it’s time to let it go. There are lessons in letting go – what hurts, what’s easy, things to repeat, things to never try again. The process of mentally letting go is a great activity for your journal.

List of 100 from Journal to the Self is a great technique for this. (You can read more about this clever and trusty tool in a previous post.) Write the inspiration for your list at the top — try:

100 ways to let go of 2019

Remember the tips: Write very quickly. Number as you go. Repeat, repeat, repeat is ok! If you get stuck, just write ‘stuck’ until the next thing comes.

Once you have a list of 100, reread it all — look for categories, patterns, themes and insights. Later in the list you will probably see an overall gift of wise ideas, look beyond the actual ink on the page for the insightful meaning and lessons. Synthesize this wisdom in a brief write to capture the ideas from the list.

Now write a reflection. What are your takeaways and next steps?

List of 100 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 Erda Estremera on Unsplash.