Sharing the personal benefits experienced from keeping a journal or diary is a wonderful way to see how someone else has used the power of journaling. Reading about someone’s journaling experience reveals what journaling has meant to them, what it has provided, what they have learned about themselves or the world surrounding them.
My mom started keeping a journal in her eighties. After two years of journaling, she announced she was done. As she handed me her journal, giving it to me, she asked me to read a few pages to her. I smiled to myself as I read what she had written. She had journaled what she wore that day, what she ate, and what she won at bingo. That was so much like my mom. She had journaled what was important to her.
Your journal is the place where you express and record what is important to you. Many people have told me about their journals. Here are a few ideas of what was important to them to a journal:
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One man uses journaling to control his physical pain. A woman who wants to be a comedian writes a joke a day. A friend tracks every penny he spends. A pregnant mom wrote to her baby every day starting in her womb. I have heard from abused women who journaled their way out of the abuse. Some write letters, poetry, or on a calendar. Others keep a prayer, dream, purpose, or intention journal. Many track and record what happened that day. I asked subscribers to my column, About Journaling, to share what journaling has meant to them. Here is what they said:
“Greetings Doreene, Thank you for inviting me to share my journaling experience. Firstly, journaling has been one of those things I admire about other people who seem to have a pension for doing it naturally. I felt out of sync with the whole process, I’ve started many journals, and after just a few days of struggling with what to write about, the entries would slowly fall off until nothing. I think I had thrown the towel in the ring, so to speak, I had given up; until at an intensive workshop back in December 2005, I was given the directive to write down five (5) successes from my day each night. I immediately knew I could do this. I am proud to report I have consistently written in my journal each night since the second week in December.
The mere fact that I’m focusing daily on “what are my successes” has subtlety changed my perspective. I am getting very comfortable about my progress, big and small; it makes no difference- I like the feeling- and my experiences look so much brighter to me at the moment as they are happening. I look to see success in everything and from everyone; it’s becoming contagious. Thanks for this opportunity! Reflective” M.
“I did not keep a journal until I was over, around thirty years old. I started keeping a journal because I went back to school, one of the classes I took was a writing class, and the instructor required we keep a hand written journal. I started the journal and found that it helped my creativity; I did not encounter writer’s block as much while keeping a journal. Since beginning my journal, I have found that my knowledge of self has increased, and my writing has changed. Most of the time I use my pen and paper journal for ideas, rather than anything else when I write anything else I use a computer and word processor program. In addition, I have now expanded my journaling to a writing blog.” N.F.D.
“I received The 5 Year Journal as a Xmas present. I start each day’s entries with Aura-Soma – Discovery Through Colour Tarot cards pulled that day and any significant messages and/or events from the day. The format helps me to simplify and get to the essence of the day. Thank you for this book.” M.
“I have just started a computerized journal. I found that writing everything down took more time, but it got to be a hassle in trying to keep all the different journals organized. About 2 weeks ago, I found a free download for a computerized diary. It’s pretty decent…enough so that I’ve decided to switch everything over to that. It allows you to record multiple journals, so I have one for daily thoughts (i keep my gratitude, moods, daily thoughts in this one)…i have one that i keep copies of my blogs in….I have one that I record my tarot readings in…i also have one for meditation as far as insight i gained at that moment.” C.
“I have journaled for so many years because I love to write. In the beginning, I kept a prayer journal, and then I could go back and document how my prayers had been answered. Then our family went through some very painful times with our children as they grew up. By then, I was filling page after page with our happenings, our joys and triumphs, and lots of pages of pain. Sometimes it was like having the emotional pain flow out of me, through my pen, and onto my paper, giving me needed relief and an outlet. This was good for my husband, too, as he was experiencing similar pain to mine. If I had expressed all this grief and sadness and disappointment to him, it might have helped me, but it would have made him carry my burden as well as his own. The journals were perfect outlets for me. Eventually, things leveled off somewhat, but I kept journaling, and they sort of became personal and family archive material, some of bad, most of it good.
When I retired, my co-workers gave me a beautiful, leather-bound 5-year journal. I loved it! Then a loved one in my family had tough times again, and again we found ourselves in emotional turmoil. That journal contained my every thought and feeling for about 4 years. Then one day, while visiting my daughter out west, I put some books on top of the car to free up my hands to get the car keys from my pocketbook, and you guessed it! We drove merrily away, until I remembered the books half way to our destination. Horror! We scurried back to my daughter’s neighborhood, canvassed every home, looked in every ditch and behind every bush on the highway, including a long patch of the freeway (on foot), and never, never did find that journal. Someone must have picked it up and had an interesting read. I thoroughly expect to read a book someday or watch a movie on TV reminiscent of “Portia Faces Life,” and know beyond a doubt I hear some of that good/bad stuff from my journal. I am sure to an outsider reading it, it must have been very much like a soap opera, and they must have thought the writer was a drama queen because remember, you don’t have to hold back when you are just writing for yourself. Your can let yourself have a real catharsis, in writing.
The worse part of the loss was the sense of having 4 years of my life snatched away. Did I mention I have a feeble memory? Eventually, I learned that a lot of what I had written was something I would rather forget. Life had become more manageable. Our lives had been re-established with lots more blessings than problems. So, who needs to keep bad memories? Not me. I actually felt, finally, that it was much healthier to let it all go.
The other realization was that I definitely wanted another 5-year journal. It is so enjoyable to write the day’s entry and see what we did one, two, three years hence. I went to the Internet, entering “5 Year Journal” in my search engine, and there you were! The rest is history. I take good care of the journal I ordered from you and never take it on trips. I enter data in another notebook and transfer it when we return home. For the most part, this is a happy journal, and I have enjoyed it. Thank you for designing it, making it available at an affordable price, and even for giving encouragement and ideas for the journaling process.” S.M.a