Two Lessons from Journaling that are Essential in the New Year.

Seven years ago, I started writing in my journal everyday. I had been a journal writer on and off over the years but never to the consistency that I do now. I was one of those who bought beautiful journals thinking those artistic covers would prompt me to write.

Attending conferences and retreats, I loved getting a journal as a gift. All the ideas and note taking would go into the gifted journal with the intention I would continue to use it and build upon those insights when I got home. That never happened. My office held so many unused journals. The bookshelves, however, had quite the aesthetic look to them with all those great covers.

It seemed like a rite of passage that at the end of the year I would go online and to the bookstores looking for great journals. It was not unusual for me to buy two or three of them thinking this was the year. (I have to admit, I had the same obsession with calendar systems over the years).

Then, I was faced with the end of my marriage. It was such a deep painful time for me. It was beyond my comprehension that this was happening. Everyone wanted to know what happened. Each time I answered, I would become a mess. It was like an out of body experience. I could hear myself talking about it and at the same time I was so tired of hearing myself over and over.

I turned to my journals. I wrote and wrote and wrote every morning and processed my thoughts, feelings and the realization that my life was changing completely after being married for years. In that first year, I filled five journals with every nuance of my life. I’m not sure I would want anyone to read those pages!

Over time, a rhythm started for me. I would wake, get out of bed, get something to drink and sit in my favorite chair and contemplate the day for a few moments and then pick up my journal and write.

Today, I write for 10 minutes and there are days it could be an hour. The journal has become a place of processing the day, working through a difficult business problem, getting ideas and exploring them and so much more. The richness of this writing process has given me opportunities I would have never seen in the past.

For that, my gratitude is enormous.

I have learned so many lessons during this time and continue to learn. However, there are two that are at the top of my list.

The first one is TRUTH. As human beings, we are so good at hiding from ourselves and also lying to ourselves about what is truly going on, who we are and the interactions we have everyday. During all my years as a Professional Psychotherapist, I knew this about people and was trained to see it in context. I saw it everyday in my private practice. It’s not intentional. Our minds are a great tool in helping us do this. Until I started writing in my journal, I was missing some truths I needed to know about myself. Some are subtle and some glaring and we can be blind to them. I don’t care how good we think we know ourselves, there is truth to be known.

TRUST is the second lesson here. When we continue to know the truth about ourselves more, we then can trust ourselves to think, act and make great decisions in our lives and businesses. We are doing so on a foundation of truth. One doesn’t happen without the other.

Intellectually this all makes sense. Our minds, however, don’t allow us to embody it from an emotional, psychological and intuitive standpoint. It took this deep learning from journaling that now allows me to go there much more easily.