Why I Journal (and want you to)

I have been journaling for 20 years–daily for the last 17–so I must get something out of it, right?  A little over a year ago, I decided to go back and read my story, one entry at a time, for the 47ish volumes I have filled in those 20 years.  As I got into the second volume, it occurred to me that it would be cool to somehow make a book of my mind’s evolution, choosing entries that were representative of the different chapters of my life.  I would be the book’s author and then its sole audience member.  I kept reading the entries, and gradually I started believing that perhaps my kids or grandkids might be interested to read my tale one day, that maybe there was some value in the lessons I learned and the way I processed my world every day.  I am, after all, an unusually happy man, so maybe my innermost thoughts could actually teach them something, or so I was thinking.  So I dug out a notebook and started  jotting notes down about each entry, starring the ones I considered interesting.  I began to call it “The Journal Project”, or TJP for short.  The more I read, the more fascinated I became.  Yes, it feels odd and conceited to say that I was enthralled by my own mind, but I truly was.  I was learning so much by reading the entries.  One of the things that struck me was how much I needed the journals, how much they held my hand and guided me along the way.  It wasn’t long before I even wondered if it could help just about anyone to read my tale, not because of my interesting life or my goofy thoughts, but more because it could  show them how journaling could help them.  I started to fixate on this idea of getting others to journal in order to know themselves better and hopefully, as a result, love themselves better and be more grateful for everything in their world and more connected, both to themselves and to others.  The more I read my entries, the more sold on the idea I became.  It is now my mission.  Two weeks ago, after about 16 months of reading and note-taking, I finally caught myself up to present day.  In those 16 months, my mission has grown from that initial flicker of an idea to a full-blown wildfire inside of me, and consequently many lines of journal entries have thoughts about it.  At the rate I am going–I blame it all on my two wonderful but all-consuming kids, of course–it could be a few years before I actually type those starred entries out and make them into a volume you can read.  But the fire burns in me, and that is where “Journal of You” comes in.  I want to live my mission out loud as soon as I can, so here I am, writing this to you.  This is all preface to what I really want to say about why I journal, and I think I can share with you most authentically by quoting directly from one of my own entries.  This was taken from Christmas Eve of 2012, when I was just a few months into The Journal Project and was reading about the 1998 version of my mind–which happened to be unreasonably blissful and full of world-saving ideas–and was considering this burgeoning idea of using my example to inspire others to know themselves better through journaling.  Here it is:

“….I cannot imagine my mind without these journals.  I feel like they have allowed me to pursue all kinds of ideas, concepts, and emotions until how I think and feel–indeed, how I tick–has become so clear to me.  They have truly been the vehicle I have ridden on the path to self-knowledge.  They have kept me connected both to myself and to the Divine Source.  I simply don’t know if or how that would have happened without them.  I doubt it.  Certainly not to the degree that I am connected now.  These books have been a huge dumping ground and mixing bowl for my thoughts.  But that is just part of it.  They have also been a serving tray, as through all of the dumping and mixing, they have sent back to my mind neatly-dressed ideas and beliefs about me and about the world.  My mind is like this huge warehouse of random stuff that desperately needed an operations staff to get it all sorted, cleaned, and filed into a coherent system so that I can go through this world every day in complete happiness and gratitude.  These journals have provided just that service.  It is difficult to think of what level of happiness or clarity I would be living with (struggling with?) without them.  They came at an amazing time in my life and made it totally blow up in magic and joy.  Of course, looking back, I wish I had started writing them sooner–it would surely have changed my course–but I am also so glad that they came when they did.  How could I have processed that complete spiritual revolution without them?  No way!  I would have been a mental case.  So now they are simply part of who I am.  Part of my soul.  Part of my happiness.  Part of my gratitude.  I cannot imagine my world without them.  There!  When I lay it out like that in plain terms, it becomes so obvious to me why TJP–or, eventually My Journal, My Journey–is totally a service project.  I want everyone to feel as happy and grateful as I do; that I have always been clear about.  But now it has become so clear to me–an “AHA moment,” as Mastin Kipp would say–that perhaps the best way I can help deliver the main goal–guiding people down the path to fulfillment and Joy–is to provide them a good vehicle in which to travel the path.  That vehicle is the journal!  It is not lost on me that the way I just arrived at this clarity on the topic–this newly-arrived AHA moment–is exactly the way I am professing about: by dumping thoughts out onto this paper and allowing them to be purified and organized in such a way that I can then see so clearly just what is the Truth stored in them.  It is to journal.  The verb “to journal”.  How cool is that!  Synchronicity.  I am feeling the flow.  It is so grand, this moment.  My heart sings, so I know my soul is being listened to.  Loud and clear, baby!  I am so happy.  Life is beautiful.”

That is it.  That is what Journal of You is all about.  It is about YOU!  Your innermost thoughts, from the limiting beliefs that hold you back to the dreams that make you soar.  It is about knowing yourself deeper and better than you ever have before, and really accepting and appreciating what you have come to know.  It is about getting down to your authentic self, telling your Truth and enjoying how liberating that can be.

So, I am challenging you–starting today–to begin to tell your story.  Open up a blank Word document on your computer or grab a notebook and pen–or, better yet, treat yourself to an old-fashioned journal like I write in every day–and just start writing.  Put the pen to the paper and say whatever is on your mind.  Don’t judge it as worth writing about or not; just let your mind go and write.  Shake out whatever is rattling around up there.  Give yourself permission to say anything.  Get real.  Tell your Truth!

Then….tell me about it.  In the comments box, tell me how it went.  What did you write about?  Were you honest?  Did you surprise yourself with what came out?  Were you self-conscious?  How did it feel afterwards?  If you decided not to write to yourself but want to share your thoughts, the box is for you, too.  This is our space to become a community, so share openly and respectfully.  While you are there, I would love to hear what you want me to write about in upcoming posts.  I am so excited to go on this ride with you!

So, without further ado………………GO WRITE YOURSELF!!!

 

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