Country Romantic Fabric Quilted Tote Bag

Journaling to Create

A Collection of JournalsNo matter how much I’ve written in my journal, I often show up to the page with a scattered mind and little idea of what I want to talk to myself about. Maybe it’s the act of committing words on the page that unsettles me. When the thoughts are still in my head, they can float around and go in any direction. Writing them on the page makes them real.

 

Words, both written and spoken, have power. Both take courage. That solidification of thoughts breathes life into the anonyminity fogging up my brain.

Writing is a release. Writing validates. Writing gives voice to mind clutter.

What journaling does is allow me freedom and space, especially when I’m most reluctant to write. It opens up the pathways, allowing the writing habit to take hold. I find journaling lets me get all those annoying thoughts and rants and randomness that I wouldn’t share with others out of the way so I can focus on writing my stories. It pushes me to listen to my characters. Journaling doesn’t take away creative time, rather, it provides the groundwork.

The habit of journal writing plants a seed of hope for the future. No matter what level of despair you face, the pages are waiting for you. No judgement, and a place of solitude.

The big question is how to journal when you have no idea where to start.

Got your notebook? (or keyboard?) Pen? (or fingers?) Great. Now write the date. (Or not, it’s your journal). Then write something. Anything. Not happening? Here are some ideas:

  • A quote.
  • A mantra.
  • A visualization.
  • An affirmation.
  • What resonated about the day before?
  • Voice your regrets and fears.
  • Breathe life into your hopes and dreams.

Your thoughts deserve validation. Start small, but make it habit of turning to your journal. Then there will be fewer times you show up to a blank page, or canvas, or performance space. Because when you give your randomness validation, you can focus on your creativity.

Non traditional creatives, I’m talking to you too. Journaling can help you bring your A-game to your favorite sport, rearranging your house, planting a garden, cooking, or building a relationship with your kids. Journaling will let you be in touch with your intuition so you can find solutions and approach problems with a clearer head.

Try it. Commit to a page a day. A paragraph if that’s too much. Hey, even write a cool sentence to sum up the day before if that’s all you’ve got. Just show up, and the words will follow. Even if you have to bribe them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Country Romantic Fabric Quilted Tote Bag

A Snail’s Pace Forward

ID-1006129I’ve made some changes in my life. Small ones, because I can’t handle anything else. When I try to make large, sweeping changes in my life I set myself up for failure from being overwhelmed. Instead of trying to take large leaps and be disappointed, I am dancing in baby steps.

Yoga
I’ve added a yoga practice into my morning routine. Now, this is not some grand practice where I stand on my head or twist myself into a pretzel. No where close to that image. This is simply showing up at the yoga mat in my loft and doing some stretches. If I’m so inclined, add a few poses or flows. If I’m too tired or just out of it, I sit there, and breathe.

Journal Writing
Many times in my life I have thought about keeping a journal and started one, only to have it fizzle out within a couple of days. Oh I’d write in it periodically, especially when I was angry or frustrated or depressed. So what changed this time? I write in my journal directly after yoga, after the energy has moved through my body and my mind and heart are open. As with the yoga practice, I just show up. For the days where I have little to say, or basically nothing, I write a phrase that seems to be my current theme.

All I need is within.

Breathe
Breathe

Instead of trying to look outside myself and find the latest self help book or guru to lead me in a new direction, I’m looking within for the answers. I’m showing up to the mat. I’m opening the journal. Whatever comes out is what is supposed to be. No matter how little, or how crappy, it looks and I feel.

I’ve been consistent with these new habits for a month. Yes, between the two it takes about an hour every morning. Already though I’ve seen results. My back feels better. I’m moving more freely (which was even commented on in a recent exercise class). I’m pausing and taking deeper breaths and checking in with my body during the day.

The best result though? I’m working on my stories again. I’ve made more progress in the last month so far than I have in the previous six. I’m not asking for miracles with my stories or creating grandiose plans. I’m just showing up at my writing desk and working on a scene. One at a time. Solving one puzzle at a time.

There were times I thought I wouldn’t finish my stories, and that sent me into a spiral. It’s different now. There are no expectations. All I’m doing is showing up. So are they.

Once the energy in my body and the clutter from my mind cleared by doing yoga and writing in my journal, it paved the path for my stories to surface again.

That’s what has worked for me. Small changes. Baby steps. Just show up. The results may surprise you.

Snail image courtesy of Simon Howden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Meditation image courtesy of tiverylucky/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Country Romantic Fabric Quilted Tote Bag

Moving Meditation

I can’t meditate. Really. I know there are tons of books out there and self help gurus that say anyone can meditate. I can’t. It’s not just that I can’t clear my mind while trying to meditate traditionally, it’s that I get bored easily. Seriously, sitting in one spot while clearing your mind of thoughts and waiting for divine inspiration to strike? I’d rather shoot myself in the head.

I practice moving mediation. I first discovered that when I was doing some form of movement that I loved and had to focus completely on, like riding horses, that for the first time ever my mind was filled with nothing besides the task at hand. I was fully present with whatever I was doing. The ability to actually clear my mind of extraneous thoughts during that time was a gift.

I found after exercising, as long as it’s not boring exercise – yes, avoiding boredom is a theme for me, that suddenly my creativity would spike. Ideas would come to me out of the blue, and I would need a notebook NOW. Or I would come up with a design for a new art quilt, or figure out how to solve a problem.

The principle of mediation though is something I believe in as it relates to creativity. Moving the energy through your body so it flows allows creative energy to move in.

Only when we move the energy that holds us back – whether it is through moving meditation or traditional meditation – we open ourselves up as a channel for the muse. Or the divine. Our bodies are meant to be in motion, so if you’re stuck creatively, then try movement. It may take a while for the energy that your body is holding to get out of the way, but I guarantee that once you do you will find a lot more creativity headed your way.

Country Romantic Fabric Quilted Tote Bag

Finding a Door in a Blank Wall

There are days when all you do is stare at the wall in front of you. It’s white, seamless, and without doors or windows. The wall stretches endlessly in either direction. It’s too smooth to scale, and extends in the ground below. Turn back and the wall shifts with you. The wall blocks you from your creativity.

Some writers and artists get trapped staring at the wall for days or months. Sometimes years. It can drive you to the point where you question your sanity. There is no peace. You scream, cry, curse, and pound the wall in frustration. There seems to be no way out.

Keep in mind, though, that there are reasons for the wall. Maybe life needs your full attention. Perhaps there’s a part of your writing or art that needs more thought. Maybe you’re headed in a direction that differs from your authentic self. Possibly you’re afraid of what’s to come. The wall is there for a reason. What do walls do? Protect. They keep something out, or something in.Your mind is trying to protect you by erecting a wall.

You’ve tried to break the wall down to no avail. You’ve pounded, kicked, and pleaded for the wall to crumble into pieces. The wall will not budge until you ask why it’s there in the first place. Until you figure out the answer, it’s not coming down.

So, what do you do? Stop fighting. Listen. Change your perspective.

  • Go somewhere else and get a change of scenery.
  • Write or create something completely different.
  • Work in a different medium.
  • Research the subject you’re working on.
  • Journal about whatever is bothering you.
  • Be physical; get out of your mind and just move.
  • Realize that sometimes the rest of your life has to take priority.

I didn’t write for ten years. Ten years. I know why now. Once I figured out the issue, and not a moment before, I opened my eyes, looked at the wall, and saw the door that had been right in front of me the whole time.

Image: Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net