I love writing. I really do. Writing (journalling) is a type of therapy for me. I process stuff when I write. Confused, jumbled nonsense converts to strings of thoughts I can begin to understand when I put pen to paper. Writing is cathartic; I often surprise myself with what comes out when I let myself write freely. I’ve always known I love writing, but I didn’t always know why.
Here’s the thing. Writing becomes something else when you know someone else is going to read it. I’m not so private with what I write in my journal and I have occasionally shared segments of my journal writing over on my blog HERE and HERE. But that decision was made after I had written those words. Writing for yourself, aka journalling, is a self care and self love practice. A tool for getting to know yourself deeper and for setting the stage for manifesting your desires.
I think of journalling as having a love affair with my soul.
When used in the right ways, it can convert a wish you didn’t know you had, to a well thought-out action plan for change. It can transform fear and self doubt to deep compassion and understanding. It can take you from overwhelmed and uncertain to feeling grounded and curious. Journalling acts as both a means for self exploration and a powerful manifestation tool.
In my experience, the number 1 problem people come across when trying to create the life they love, is that they are not actually sure what they desire, deep down. So often I hear from clients who want to know what their purpose is, they want to create that vision, but they get stuck on the details. The analytic mind becomes overwhelmed with the amount of inevitable uncertainty and we become blocked in being able to visualise what we truly want. We get bombarded with negative thoughts and self criticism which clouds our ability to see beyond our current reality. So we feel lost.
Journalling is one of the most powerful tools to help you get unstuck, get you out of your head and guide you back to your heart. Journalling can create the space for you to get to know yourself deeply, start living more intentionally and ultimately manifest the things you want in your life.
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Below, I’m sharing the 3 most powerful ways I’ve used journalling in order to tune out the inner critic, connect more with my intuition and start manifesting.
1. Stream of consciousness journalling
The first and easiest way to introduce yourself to journalling is using Morning Pages. In her book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron introduces morning pages as a daily journalling ritual. She suggests writing freely, without editing, anything and everything that comes to your mind for 3 full pages. The reason I love stream of consciousness is because I can let out my crazy thoughts without the need to write anything meaningful. I think of it as downloading my thoughts and with them the negativity and toxicity that I carry. With morning pages I get to see on paper what my ego keeps telling me and how repetitive the dialogue really is. Morning pages is a wonderful way to get to know the workings of your mind. It gives you a snapshot of how your mind processes events and experiences and shows you the narratives that are playing on repeat up there (and sometimes you may end up writing over and over again “I have nothing to say, I don’t know what to write” until you get unblocked). By shedding light on your unedited thoughts, two things happen: 1. You see how ridiculously untrue they are and, 2. They lose their power over you, because you know you no longer have to be at their mercy.
*Please be aware that during challenging times, morning pages can get overly negative, which some people may find stressful to deal with. If that is the case for you, you can use of the other two methods below until you feel ready to try stream of consciousness.
2. Journalling with prompts
Prompts act like a road map for your journalling practice. No longer determined by the random thoughts that pop up in your mind, journalling on a particular topic or theme helps to shift your focus and creates a positive mindset. Prompts can be lots of different things, including a question, a quote, a feeling, an imaginary scenario, a song, a person, a poem, a memory, etc. You can do this either with a time limit (say 15 minutes) or just allowing yourself to write as much as you feel inspired to (bearing in mind that it may take some time to get you started, in which case I like to do some sneaky stream of consciousness writing until I get into it).
Some of my favourite prompts include:
- How do I want to feel today?
- What can I do to feel this way?
- What does my body need me to know?
- What does success mean to me? (Replace success with freedom, love, desire, joy, happiness, money, intimacy, etc)
- What would life be like if I was not afraid to speak my mind?
- Who inspires me in my life?
- Where in my day to day life do I feel stuck? How can I begin to shift this feeling?
- What (and who) brings me the most joy right now? What am I grateful for in my life?
- What changes do I wish to make in my relationship?
- How can I take my self care to the next level?
- What can I do to feel nourished on all levels?
- How am I keeping myself small? What if I let myself be seen?
- How would it feel living the life I desire? What would be different?
3. Soul journalling
By far my favourite of all is journalling from the Soul. I usually like to do this after meditation, but you can do this at any point you feel inspired to. This is a way to connect with your inner guidance and write to yourself from within. It is not necessarily about anything specific. It may revolve around a topic or problem that you’re dealing with, or it may simply be what you need to hear right now. Whenever I practice soul journalling, I think of this question: What does my soul need me to know, right now? Write in the 3rd person, as if you’re writing a love letter to yourself. Resist thinking this through (as your mind will kick in and start doubting), just let your heart speak and be open to whatever comes up. Here is where you will get the simplest but most profound guidance and with practice it will become easier to connect with your gut.
If you’re new to journalling in this way, or if you’ve tried before but it hasn’t stuck, be patient with yourself. Play with it – use these suggestions as fuel for your own exploration and don’t be rigid about what your journalling should look like. This is a practice to connect with yourself and what you desire and therefore you know best what works for you. But as with all habits, persistence is key, so don’t give up after the first sign of struggle. Be kind and patient with yourself and ultimately remember your writing is for you.