Journal Preparations

If you know me, you know I love to journal. Love it. I have been journaling for nearly 30 years. It is, in my experience, one of the most magickally healing processes I have ever encountered. To journal it takes more than words written upon a piece of paper. It takes courage. You have to show up for yourself. You have to show up in your Truth. You must be willing to be transparent, vulnerable, and nonjudgmental. It’s about completely disrobing and allowing all your parts to be seen and held, in sacredness, where there is the safe mechanism for you to divulge and let go.

Release and surrender are huge parts of journaling, as are manifestations and moments of brilliancy and inspiration. What manifests within a journal can be profound. What we heal can be profound. Who knew “just writing” could be so therapeutic, right?

In my nearly 30-years of journaling what I have uncovered is just how many journals I have been through. They are of varying sizes and styles, some more creative than others, some more painful than others. They all have their own theme and vibrations associated with them. And there is both delight and mock horror to how much space they take up in my home. While differing to many degrees, they all share the same process of how they are created. I shared some of these in an older entry on journaling, but this particular preparation is one that I haven’t shared before until recently. It is a simple process, and yet it brings me much simplistic joy.

I shared on Instagram a picture on one of the ways I cover my journal:

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I love yarn (that’s a completely different post!), and this is a great way to use up scrap yarn. Why do I create a holder for my journal as part of my preparation? Because…

  1. It’s practical. It’s a holder! It houses my journal.
  2. Most of my journals don’t have pen holders, and several years ago my then-toddler found my journal pen and destroyed the clip that was attached to it (momentary pause for the horror my journaling pen was subject to and the loss of its limb). I can keep my pen in here with my journal. Holder benefit #2!
  3. Did I mention that it serves as a fantastic holder? Well, it does. I keep something sacred in this holder as well that I either hold while journaling or have it laying out near me during journaling. This could be a small pocket Goddess, a stone or crystal, my Moonwheel calendar, or other sacred tool gifted to me.

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I create these journal holders/covers/sweaters so I can protect my journal — either from general wear and tear from use and taking it from place to place, psychic energies that may interrupt the vibration of my magickal tool, and because when we treat our magickal tools like sacred companions, it is helpful to create a sacredness around how you ‘carry’ that tool. This is just one way.

What if you don’t knit or crochet? You could lovingly ask a friend who does if they’d be willing (happy bribery could benefit in your favor, too… libations… chocolates…) For years I used those bandanas you can find in local craft stores if my journal is small enough. For the larger ones? I’ve used scarves. In fact I have a purple one in particular that never gets used as a scarf, its sole purpose is to cover my larger journals that a regular bandana is just too small for. Altar cloths work well also, or even finding fabric and wrapping it around your journal. The point is that it gets the same treatment as other magickal tools, like your divination tools, for example, that many wrap sacredly. Why not your journal?

Aside from the practical uses a journal covering can provide, it also sets the tone from going from one activity into the next one, shifting our mindset that we are preparing for spiritual work. Depending on your daily activities, this can be beneficial in preparation for your regular practice. I know it’s been beneficial to mine!

Like any other tool, smudge it, cleanse it, consecrate it, then love it! Happy journaling!

Courage — Choosing Discomfort

Earlier this year I gifted myself the experience to do an online ecourse with Brené Brown on her profound book, The Gifts of Imperfection. Our work has many similarities despite the fact that I’m not a researcher, though I am passionate about vulnerability, courage, and wholehearted living and how to integrate and embody a more permissive existence.

Since completing the course, I’ve been going back to my art journal as guidepost for when I feel lost or find myself stepping on uneven terrain. It’s my treasure chest of sacred tools to help me navigate those unseen curves in the road.

I’ve heard from many this month on how challenging it was, whether energetically, personally, professionally, it didn’t matter, many of us were in the same soup, feeling something, and that something often brought up feelings of discomfort.

I was definitely in that soup (right next to the overcooked, mushy carrots as my sacred sister and I joked about recently… who wants to be near a mushy carrot? Bleh!). Yes, Mercury was retrograde, and sometimes communication can be challenging, though I do my best to not utilize that as an excuse for poor behavior or poor communication skills. It means that I must be even more diligent, and sometimes it means hearing more, speaking less.

My boundaries were tested this month. Ever have one of those months or moments where you’re certain your boundaries are in tact when something rubs up against it and you realize that there was an area uncovered? Yup, that’s how it felt this month. My vulnerability was exposed, and my boundaries were tested.

I reflected back to my art journal with these survival tips on navigating courage, and the one thing that has been deeply rooted in my mind, the mantra that I have taken on this year appeared right before me. It was:

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Choose discomfort over resentment. — Brené Brown

I find myself repeating that monthly, weekly, sometimes even daily depending on the situation I find myself in. I’m challenged at times to let my hurt feelings linger and stew (it must be this time of year that has me craving soup!), and the taste becomes both bitter in my mouth and in my heart. It’s not an energy I want to carry around with me, so I remind myself that discomfort doesn’t feel good, but it feels better than resentment.

That has been the Courage for this month, tied up together for me. In what ways can I lean into my Courage by choosing the road of vulnerability, bravery, and sometimes discomfort, to lead me to a clearer vision of my Truth? 

Choosing discomfort isn’t a permissive act to behave inappropriately or to speak your truth unkindly. It’s about not allowing the resentment to grow. I do believe we can be kind in our process of being Courageous.

May your Courage guide you, lovingly and safely, to your Truth, and may that Truth be wholeheartedly divine.

Courage — Being “Brave”

I have been completely and utterly obsessed with the Sara Bareilles song, “Brave” since my trip to Florida in August. I am such a believer in omens and have had humorous moments where pop culture, specifically music, has spoken to me in answer to my questions.

While in Sarasota, cleaning out my sacred mother’s writing room, I became overwhelmed by the notion that her house was now my house. The lawyer had mentioned it several times, my husband even reminded me, as it hadn’t quite sunk in yet. What would we do with this home became the most intimate question we asked ourselves.

I had this moment where things felt quite overwhelming, and I looked to a portrait that was created of her several decades before and asked for a sign. My phone started playing “Brave”, and it took my breath away:

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

“Honestly, I wanna see you be brave”… Brave. It’s another layer of Courage, another layer of vulnerability, another layer of being seen and authentic. My bravery then, in that sweltering, emotional room is different than the bravery of today, or even this weekend.

I have just returned from my annual writer’s retreat, and it was just as amazing, if not more amazing, than the year before. While I sometimes have a general idea of what my writing will focus on, this year I was clear on my openness for whatever my muse wished to work through me.

On Saturday we had our second writing session, but the first in which we would share our work out loud. The teacher asked “Who will be the first one to be brave?” and I nearly fell out of my seat.

That precise word has been a trigger to be Courageous, and I accepted the challenge. I raised my hand, he smiled and gave me the floor. I was brave… and nervous… and shaky… and vulnerable… and wondering what the hell did I just agree to do?! I say all of this with the smile of someone who has come leaps and bounds in sharing her personal writing with others.

The act of bravery doesn’t come from being brave. It comes from leaning into whatever you are feeling and choosing bravery anyway.

In what ways have you chosen to be brave and courageous?

Here is a snapshot of my journey to Courage:

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What does your snapshot to Courage look like?