There have been some really fun discussions bouncing around the internet airwaves on journal practices. I can still remember my very first journal - a spiral "flip" notebook like secretaries used to use to take dictation (back in the day when there were secretaries and shorthand) which my father brought me from his office (probably pilfered from his secretary whom he called "Lollipop" - just to complete the picture of which era I am referencing here).
I have kept a journal on and off since then but what I find interesting is the types of journals I have moved through in my attempt to find THE journal practice that best suits me.
So I decided it would be fun to share my journals with you in a video format. Okay, truth is I was feeling lazy and not in the mood to write about my experiences - which in itself I find telling as I am exploring the concept of maintaining a regular journal practice.
After recording my thoughts, I spent a little more time looking through my old journals and it occurred to me that the real issue isn't what kind of journal I keep - written or diary form; scrapbook; art or image based - that I am confusing the signpost with the destination. What brings me to a journal is the desire to know or understand myself in a deeper way. To unravel my thoughts, beliefs, feelings and hopefully come to a place of insight or clarity. The best way to go about this self excavation will change as I change.
Anticipating the collective gasp of shock as I muttered something along the lines of "I really finding journaling irritating" I want to explain that at this point in my life I find writing as my initial means of digging in less effective than other forms of self inquiry. The thing is, I know what I know; I know the common motifs - my basic thoughts that direct my life - and given paper and pen I will rehash those ideas over and over. Or rather, I will filter my now experiences through the lens of those ideas. And I find this process fruitless.
What works for me now is to practice intuitive creating; to focus upon process and reacting to what arises moment by moment as I create with little fore planning. Then I might return to words to consider what occurred as I allowed my subconscious free rein. It is here that I find the real insights and juicy tidbits that help me come to a new way of thinking, seeing or understanding myself or my world.
As I poked through my old journals, what popped out at me were the images. In a flash, I was returned to that point in my life. I could flip through and see the changes occurring, something that is more difficult in my older journals were there is just written text.
And maybe one day I will have the patience and the interest to go back and read the more wordy journals? I've also considered tossing them, as I recognize their value resided in the actual process of writing, not re-reading. Maybe. Maybe not.
The historian in me packed them back up, chronologically. I noticed the gap in journal keeping coincided with the period when The Husband and I were trying to start our family and then those early years with Cowgirl. Although that's not completely true as for 2 years I kept my first blog - a baby jelly beans blog for her - and then started this one. So add to the above list of journal types blogging.
And yes, I am now licking my chops as I ponder all these forms and how this record of my record keeping will be interpreted one day far, far into the future. Because that who I am: an archiver, a collector, an analyzer of lives and I suppose a trained and degreed voyeur.
So if you are so inclined, here is a little peek into my journals, my inner life.
Vimeo has a perverse way of always capturing my most goofy facial expressions!
For a peek into other journals, check out the ongoing discussion happening over at Liz Lamoreux's blog here and here and Jen Lee's contribution to the subject. And here is the original post about my best-idea-ever: my To Remember book. In the end, that notebook may hold the best record of my inner and outer life.