Stages of Journaling

I love to journal.

That might be an understatement to those who know me, but it’s true, I have a deep, deep love for the art of journaling. I was introduced to it at an early age by one of my favorite uncles who had given me this pink diary with a lock on it. I was eight years old and didn’t know exactly what to do with it, but he knew that I loved to write and said that I might want to write my thoughts down. I was obsessed with the secret nature of this diary — the lock and key, the privacy of keeping thought between me and this book. Granted much of my writings then reflected my youthful nature of sibling rivalry and television crushes, but it was an art form that compelled me and I have been journaling ever since.

My process over the years has remained the same: see a journal, hold it in my hand, squeal with a bit of delight, and smell the pages (this also joyfully expands to books — I’m not the only one who loves the literary scent, right?!)… I have no preference whether it’s lined pages or not. I use them all. I have used fancy leather journals, handheld notebooks, composition notebooks… if it can hold my thoughts, it is workable. It really is about the essence of magick that I flow into and through the pages, not what it’s written on.

To me, journaling is, perhaps, one of the greatest tools in healing ourselves. In fact, it’s one that I often encourage and guide my clients and students to start the practice of journaling as a way to connect more deeply with themselves.

How do I connect deeply with myself? I make journaling a practice. Like any other practice, there are times when we’ll be stronger at it than others, and that’s okay. I want to lean into discomfort, but I also want to be permissive. I never berate myself for not keeping a consistent practice. Some days I can’t stop the pen from flowing, yet there are days where a sentence or two seems like a tedious task.

What I do with my journal:

  • Choose a style/size that speaks to me in the moment. I always alternate between a large journal and then a small, going back and forth to keep things fun and shift the energy a bit.
  • I have a special pen that I only use for journaling. It is the same pen that I have been using for nearly 20 years. This helps me to keep it a magickal tool and program it for writing.
  • When I have finished my previous journal, I get out my new one and cleanse it: I hold it between my hands, filling it with my energetic intention of sharing my thoughts, my gratitude, my fears, and my journey through life.
  • After filling it with my intention, I use my breath as the source of connection between me and this journal. I want to build a relationship with it. Breath is that sacred life force that connects us with the Universe — why not fill that life force in your journal?
  • I do the same for my pen, giving it a cleanse, perhaps simply running it through some sacred smoke, like Sage or Nag Champa (my favorite!).

When all is said and done, I fill the front and back cover (if available) with quotes. The quotes are ones that are inspiring me and teaching me in this moment. Then… I forget about them. I don’t look at the quotes at all during my journaling time. Why? Call me superstitious, I like to have it embedded in the book and let the energy flow through. I only look at them when I am complete with my journal, and I am always in awe just how appropriate they were and how much I learned during the course of my self-exploration.

I sometimes refer to my journal as being my Book of Mirrors. It reflects where I am, what I am processing through, my joys, what I’m inspired by, and how I’m reflecting that back unto myself.

I end this with one of my favorite quotes that, to me, connects with journaling and the thread of revealing the story of ourselves and being able to draw it to the surface.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” — Maya Angelou