How to Keep a Love Journal (The Why)
Keeping a journal is a simple way to track the inner workings of your soul. I first read about this in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. She calls it Morning Pages, but I call it love journaling because as I kept up with this writing practice, it helped me invite more love into my life. Not just love towards others, but love towards God and love towards my self.
Whenever your pen touches paper and your mind connects to your thoughts, something special occurs. All the stuff fizzing around in your brain, the good, the bad and the ugly, rises to the surface and you are forced to deal with it. If you press through the not-so-pretty parts of love journaling, you’ll discover how to invite more goodness into your life.
Yeah, that sounds very heady and philosophical, but it’s pretty simple. Love journaling is all about paying attention to your inner self, the secret place that houses your fears and worries and insecurities. Whenever you love journal, gone are the days of stuffing your feelings in a bucket and pretending they don’t exist.
We have a bazillion thoughts running through our minds every day: insecure thoughts, fearful thoughts, selfish thoughts, kind thoughts, noble thoughts, but we may never give them proper attention. Left ignored, those thoughts fester and blister and boil and pop up in our lives in not-so-pretty ways. They often take the form of bad habits, wrong thinking and destructive relationships. In other words: drama. I, for one, don’t need drama. Keeping up with a 4 year old and a 2 year old provides me with ample drama already
How to Keep a Love Journal (The How)
Here are three simple ways you can keep a love journal and start the love process in your own life:
Step One: Get a notebook.
Any notebook will do. Right now I have a blank, one subject spiral notebook. When I finish with it, I plan to continue journaling in these lovely black soft bound medium journals from Barnes and Noble. (Hint: If you want to buy me something for Christmas, this is it.) I haven’t used them yet, but all the reviews say lovely things and since I’m part of American consumer culture, I’ll buy them. I even make sporadic trips to Office Max and Staples and oogle over their pens and notebooks and post it notes. Sad but true.
Step Two: Get a pen.
Yeah, you need a pen to write. You cannot journal on a computer. Using your own hand to write your own thoughts is key. It builds a physical connection which makes all the thoughts which arise during a journaling session more immediate and real. I’ve tried many different pens. Right now I’m using Bic pens because I like to see the ink level decrease as I write, makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something worthwhile. (I’m weird like that.)
Step three: Write 1-3 pages of your first thoughts when you wake up in the morning.
Do this before the day catches up with you. This enables you to clearly monitor your thoughts. When I started to love journal, my first thoughts were basically all about the to-do list I kept in my head. You know what I’m talking about:
I have to buy milk before we run out.
Oh, I need to mail off that telephone bill before the 8th.
Man, look at that mountain of laundry in the corner of my bedroom, will I ever get to it?
I hope the kids don’t wake up early today, I need some quiet time to myself.
Blah, blah blah.
After that stuff rose to the surface, all the self-conscious, human thoughts made their Grand Entrance.
Why did she say that to me? Does she like me?
I really need to get a handle on my carbohydrate intake. Today is the day for a new beginning…again.
Gosh, this story I’m writing isn’t coming together. What IS the story I’m writing?
I hope I didn’t offend such and such when I did that.
Blah, blah, blah.
Then, some kind and gentle thoughts nudged me. I knew this was the voice of the Holy Spirit. He said two things:
1) I needed to be more kind and loving to my self.
2) I needed to be more self-protective of my heart.
I didn’t know what that meant when I first wrote it out, but whenever situations popped up, I would be reminded of those two directives. If I listened to them, things turned out well. If I ignored them, I got (you guessed it) DRAMA!
After love journaling, I read a portion of the Bible. That’s when I receive God’s thoughts. They always cemented those Holy Spirit nudges and corrected my faulty thinking patterns. It’s like early morning corrective surgery…every single day!
Keeping a love journal is a lifelong process, and I’m committed to doing it for the long haul.
How about you? Do you keep a journal? How has journaling helped your life?