Your hands are the messengers of the heart, that’s why handwriting is so much more powerful than typing.
People will ask me what kind of questions are in the guided journal and let me preface this by saying they're not along the lines of:
- "What weird food combinations do you really enjoy?"
- "What's the best slow motion movie you've ever seen?"
- "Should kidneys be able to be bought and sold?"
(Yes - these were actual questions I came across as *thought-provoking* questions and perhaps someone may have missed the memo on the meaning of that...)
But those contained in In The Words go a bit deeper and will stretch you as much as you let them. They're a collection of questions that I stumbled across during interesting times, were posed to me by others and had an impact on me, but most I constructed and asked of myself during a time of recognising that I needed to better understand myself, for the purpose of growing and moving forward with a commitment to myself and my values.
The next thing people generally say is:
- "I know I *should* write but I don't have the time"
- "I generally just jot down the odd thing here or there, but worry it doesn't make sense so I scribble it out and don't make a habit of it"
- "I don't need to write anything down, I just look at old photos or tell old stories and remember/reflect that way"
Or my favourite... "Yeah cool, but no-one actually writes in books anymore, we have iPads and computers for that"
And I'm sorry, but we’re missing the point here... I say that respectfully and with full acceptance of where people are at, but it's also the very reason I made sure this concept; the act of debriefing with yourself - was a book to keep and not an app to one day delete.
It doesn't actually matter where you're at in the enmeshment of this digital age and whether you find yourself in complete resistance to handwriting/keeping a notebook or you can see value in it, most of us have the urge to give our ideas and complex thoughts a place to go.
Whether these grow into anything monumental, make logical sense to a stranger or not, if they stay where they are, they're not only taking up valuable real estate in our mind but they're not orderly at all and so will inevitably become entangled amongst everything else that matters and doesn't. Imagine the worst cables and powercords draw you've ever seen… let this be your sign to clear it out. Organise it. Rinse and Repeat.
Write for now but know it'll be as much for future you as well, so does it really matter if it's not perfectly scripted? Not at all. It's a bit like what worries you today, may not worry you next week or next year, but if you pull it apart when you're in the thick of it and process it, you're either getting out of it quicker or you're learning a valuable and constructive lesson instead of burying it and letting it choose when it resurfaces for you. Spoiler alert... it's never at a convenient time.
It's also not for me to discern what a journaling practice will mean for each individual that crosses my path. That would be like a practitioner guaranteeing without a shadow of a doubt an outcome from a formula that worked once for someone else. We know there's limits to efficacy in different subjects but we also know that true potential has no bounds.
What it is, is an opportunity to make a discovery that could change your life; perhaps in the direction you go, the people you build relationships with, the conversations you have, the energy you bring and the opinions you form. Just enough to bring you more into alignment with what is good and meant for you. The best part is - it will all have been influenced and determined by you and your internal dialogue. Your own little book about you for you. Past, Present and Future.
As human beings, we're good at a lot of things, and our mental 'capacity' may be unmatched but it’s overloaded if we don't learn to take personal responsibility for the consumption and subsequent dump of information that is required on a daily basis, add to that - allowing subliminal and subconscious messaging to become the only thing we consume and integrate, we lose the ability to have and develop an independent thought let alone an independent life.
The quality of our external relationships is contingent on the quality of our internal relationship with ourselves and most of us will go through life with little emphasis placed on this from the outside world and how to achieve a more fulfilling one. If we only knew that spending a little extra time with ourselves, in our own minds, making them less scary places to be by processing what comes up - it could improve most if not every aspect of our life - perhaps we'd put down the screens and do it a little more often.
This is your bright life.