A journal is a reflection of our soul in written or recorded form.  Many formats exist, but they are all a means to the same end; a record of our innermost thoughts, feelings, fantasies and values from which we reflect upon and steer our lives in any direction we wish.  For those who wish to glean a sense of meaning from life, the journal is the best compass.  They also provide a sense of ritual and grounding when chaos ensues in our own lives or the world around us.

Throughout my life I have kept a journal of some sort.  Fancy bound journals, plain notebooks, computer files, composition books, blogs, and collections of loose papers stashed in binders.  Some poetry, some in diary form, some stream-of-consciousness-writing, some daily lists of diet/exercise/activities, some letters to God.  In a recent purge of my closet, I found old poetry journals from my teen years that I’d assumed to be lost.  Over the years I had thrown away and even burned some journals in a final attempt to purge that which the ink captured, but would not absolve in my soul, so I was grateful to find these artifacts from my own life.

Recently, along with my irregular entries, I have been tracking short statements and poems that I’ve posted on social media from my “memories”.  To date I have 12 pages of my own quotes.  I’m not sure what I plan to do with them, but I like being able to reflect upon them at will, not just at the anniversary of their inception.  They allow me to see patterns that I have overcome, and those which still need to be improved.  I’m just grateful to have access to them in small, daily doses for the capturing.

In just over a week, an important anniversary is coming up in my life.  I rarely talk about it these days, as I’ve been disengaging from that particular chapter of my story.  I’m a firm believer that the stories we tell ourselves regularly become the lives that we lead, despite our desire to change.  In using journals as a tool, I can track those parts of my life that I still need to work on and focus on changing specific thoughts, behaviors or beliefs.  In a sense, journals provide a record of our stories, but unlike a novel or history, they provide an opportunity to change the story at any time we wish by re-framing them.

Another writer and friend of mine, J.G. Lewis, is doing an online workshop on journaling, and this morning, posted an entry on his own blog that speaks eloquently about creating rituals.

Rituals soothe your spirit,
providing a moment
of repose,
creating consistency
in your life, and regularity
through the daily calamity.
Writing, walking,
awakening, or meditating,
find a meaningful break
from the day-by-day.
Do it your own way.
Create your own ritual.
Soothe the spirit
above all else. Everything
then will find its space,
as we strive
to find time and place.

©J.G. Lewis, Mythos and Marginalia

Journaling is a one of many rituals that provide the space we so desperately need from both the banality and chaos of everyday life.  The act provides a way to create the quiet comfort and stability our busy lives crave.  So pick up a pen and paper today… or in the words of my friend J.G. Lewis, “Write Now!“.

Stay blessed!

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