Journaling provides a semi-tangible medium for reviewing the wilderness of the mind. The expression through words, drawing and poetic license quantifies the experience within. I say semi-tangible because we can see it and repeat it, but we still can't actually hold it or recreate the energy present when it was created. All we have left is our impression of what has been written down. Energy shifts once the expression releases. Writing gives us a medium in which to experience this transformation.
I always loved vocabulary. The subtle nuances of words to me are like the slight shade differences of color in a painting. You can create a lovely image. You can convey extreme contrast. You can depict infinite expressions with words. And your mind is constantly creating words. A thought machine that can use codes, such as language, to process and organize all the thoughts. Journal practices honor this phenomenal facet of existence.
Economy of language has always called to me. Concise, effective writing. The fewer the words, the greater the impact. Though many writing styles apply to different intentions.
I have maintained a journal practice since about 5th grade. This has kept me grounded. It led me to build a relationship with my mind, too. Journaling has evolved for me over the years as I learned new techniques and transitioned through different phases with different needs. There was a time where I wrote only poetry. There was a phase where I only answered journal prompts! I also had a habit of recording my workouts for a few years. Looking back, I got a lot of satisfaction at the time keeping everything recorded, though, I haven't used the information for anything much yet… My practices have sometimes lacked intention. Wonderfully enough, I get a lot out of simply meeting pen to paper. These days, I want to make the most of this magick!
As I explored self help throughout my life, different journaling strategies have stood out as worthwhile for me. Journaling can take up a lot of time. Before you know it, an hour has gone by. Hours. A whole night. Maybe you wrote lots of pages, maybe you wrote 1 page. Your flow and process can look like absolutely anything! No journaling is ever a waste either! The purpose of this article is to share a few practices that could level up your journal practice efficacy… Are you ready!?
Get a special notebook! Use something that stands out and carries unique energy. Decorate your notebook with images and words and elements of your own essence!
Use a special pen. When you find the perfect pen, set an intention with the pen. Take a special moment to attune to your writing tool. Ask it to flow perfectly with your energy. Keep it with your journal.
Have a consistent intention for your journal. I have particular journals I use for dream journaling, health journaling, yoga practices/wicca rituals and my general shadow work journal. You form a relationship with the energy of the object in which you deliver all your mind's matter… It has helped me keep life organized by implementing this strategy.
It's ok if you leave out some of your life… Sometimes we focus on recording events, like a show, like a story. The fact is it doesn't matter at all. Recording of events can be therapeutic, though simply focusing on repeating what happened will not dive deeply into the truth that resides within your free flow writing. Your journal practice is for you, not for someone else to read and make sense of. Release the need to write a perfect story, release pressure to include all the nitty gritty facts just to prove something to a future reader.
Practice non-judgment towards your writing. As you're writing, allow things to flow even if you hesitate to put something down. Those are the sentences that need to come out the most. Remember that your journal is your sacred space where every piece of you has a place. Be brave, write down what comes up in the moment. Allow it to be as it is, without judging it as good or bad. Even making spelling errors, grammar errors and complete scribbles no one can read does not matter and has no meaning as to whether your words are good or bad. You could even stab the page! Create shapes or strokes that don't need to be recognizable. Your markings are simply reflections of what is within. In order to get a clear picture, what comes out must be authentic. Invite that authenticity forward by making the intention to accept whatever arises.
Use prompts! A great way to get the energy flowing are writing prompts. These could be questions, unfinished statements, fill in the blank statements, ect. Using context specific prompts will be best. I like to refer to chakra themed prompts depending on which chakra I would like to focus on. You can also use situational journal prompts. Searching online for the right vibe is a great way to enhance your journal efficacy! Also using frameworks like The Work by Byron Katie is a perfect example of prompting energetic exploration and movement.
Write letters. If emotions are really tenuous, try writing a letter to yourself, your child self or to the person about which you are having difficult feelings. Let it all out. Don't hold anything back. Sometimes it's nice to burn the letter afterwards. You can do this ceremoniously or casually. Burning invites an energetic shift either way.
Flow writing for release. Don't stop writing. Set the timer and keep your pen moving the entire time. Even if you have to write down that you have nothing to say, you are still exercising the writing muscle. Emotion will take the hint, catch the wave and lead the nib. When emotion is strong, allow your handwriting to transform. Don't restrict yourself to keeping your handwriting pretty or even legible. Allow out of the box expression... release attachment to the form of font, size, spelling, any proper writing rules you've ever learned! You will invite deep creativity out in your real life when you explore the possibilities within your journal practice.
Light a candle, make a ritual out of it. Set up a special place for a candle. You could include some crystals and intentional tokens too. When you light your candle, you can set an intention for your journal time. When you are finished, snuff out the candle. Candles represent inner light, magic, peace, friendliness with the other side and transformation. Sitting with this candle will invite all these themes to you! By connecting to Spirit and yourself with candle magick, your writing will carry a whole new dimension of energy. The ritual of an opening and closing provide a sacred energetic space for your divine expression.
Work with an essential oil blend. Essential oils interact with our olfactory system, memory and nervous system. If you ingest specific oils when practicing a specific activity, you invite energy into that activity. When practiced consistently, you tell your brain it is time for that activity every time you smell that aroma. This could shift you out of writer's block, a distracted mind, a worried mind… and more! You have much power in this practice because you can employ specific oils for specific desires. If you want to journal to release and do some shadow work, cedar wood or rosewood would be great for this since they are base oils, very hearty and supportive scents. I will include a guide to suggest certain oils for certain intentions!
It is important to ENJOY your journal practice. When it feels like a chore, that is not serving you. Don't do that to yourself!
Here is a journaling ceremony template!
Essential Oils with Intentions
General journal flow- Eucalyptus- Refreshing and encourages movement of stagnant energy. It cleanses and purifies too!
Prayer- Frankincense- Connects us to Spirit and activates our Crown chakra. It soothes the nervous system, allowing us to tap into deep relaxation, stillness and ease.
Structured Shadow Work- Cedar wood- Connects us to our divine purpose and ultimate truth.
Brainstorming- Peppermint- Invigorates circulation, movement, mental clarity, openness to new ideas!
Affirmation work- Sweet Orange- Activates self confidence, joy and relieves nervous tension.
I hope these strategies help you align closer to your most effective journal work!! Please share this with anyone who journals!