We all experience difficult times in life, and we each find different ways to help us get through those times. Meditation, prayer and physical exercise are common methods we use.
I have found the practice of journaling to be especially effective.
Journaling for Comfort
Last month when my mom died unexpectedly I received an e-mail from a friend and former co-worker. She also lost her mother unexpectedly within the past year, so she expressed her condolences and then passed along some practical wisdom, saying, “A dear friend told me the day after mom died to keep a diary of those first few days. You may think you’ll never want to remember them but there comes a day when you’ll look back on a particular kindness or a surprise visitor and smile.”
Though it’s been less than a month since Mom died, I’ve already filled more than 20 pages in my journal. I also kept a detailed timeline of everything that happened during the first week. I instinctively knew that the events transpiring during that surreal time would soon become a blur and my memory would inadequately recall everything.
Journaling for Direction
Four years ago when I lost my job, I filled an entire blank book with my journal entries. As part of a job search, I focused on reinventing myself, my life and my career. What I learned from my writing continues to help me today. Journaling was such an invigorating process that I still refer back to my journal/notebook as if it were a sacred reference manual for my career and personal branding.
Journaling for Healing
Six years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer, a friend from Oregon sent me an e-mail of support. He said, “I would encourage you to keep a journal of your journey and list all of the blessings God has provided—things that brought you to this point and things that will happen as you go through this process.”
I burned through countless journal pages during that time as I searched for healing, an inner peace and a deeper understanding of what was happening to me.
Journaling for Everyday Insights
Writing, I’ve discovered, is much too valuable to be done only during my most difficult times. It has become a form of mediation, personal grounding and even prayer.
There’s something magical about holding a fountain pen and letting it tell me things I need to know. As I write, I begin to understand what I’m really thinking. The fog lifts and I can see with much greater clarity. As I journal, my protective armor falls off and I can feel the raw, primal energy needed for me to live an authentic, transparent life. As I write, the chaos around me becomes quieter and I can hear a still, small voice whispering words of wisdom.
Strangely, journaling is much more listening than it is writing. I become more aware of the abundance surrounding me, and rather than wallowing in the misery of difficult times, I find my heart overflowing with gratitude. Yes, there’s something magical about journaling that helps me feel more alive.