In my last conversation, I mentioned two best-selling authors Julia Cameron and Sarah Ban Breathnach and their advice about journaling, putting all your thoughts and feelings on paper, in a sort of “stream of consciousness” writing form. Julia in her book The Artist’s Way (1992) called it “writing the morning pages” while Sarah in her book Simple Abundance (1995) referred to it as “daily dialogue.”
On the topic of writing daily, and to continue from where I left my conversation, I would like to discuss the writings of two other well known authors whose thoughts on journaling are also pretty much the same.
In her book “Inc. Your Dreams” first published in 1995, Rebecca Maddox writes:
“I discovered that writing is the most powerful way I know of to sort through all the inner voices. One night when I was really upset, I just sat down and started writing. Whatever came out. A real stream of thoughts. Some of them made sense. Lots of them didn’t at the time.”
“It felt good, and I began to do it more often. I started to look forward to that quiet time each night. Sometimes I simply recorded the facts of the day. Sometimes I was really inspired and went on for pages. Asking myself questions, pouring out my feelings.”
“Writing gives concrete expression to what’s on your mind and in your heart. It’s a way to pull together and make sense out of the raw output of your brain, the stuff that doesn’t always come out in a straight line or in a logical sequence.”
“Take the information, the feelings, the thoughts and beliefs that are inside you, and put them on paper, and I believe that with time you will discover the there the answers to your questions.”
She advises her readers to:
“Go out and buy yourself a journal, a notebook, a diary. It can be any kind you like, whatever you are comfortable with, but buy something nice, something that says “you” all over it. With lots of room too: room to write, to scribble to draw, to paste things in. (And make sure it’s a new notebook.)”
Can you see the likeness in her writing and Julia’s from my previous post? She may have used different words like “Stream of thoughts” instead of “Stream of consciousness” but sometimes she even uses the same expressions, “ask the questions and the answers will come,” or “the small inner voice.” Which makes me think that Julia Cameron is really the initiator, the pioneer of this kind of writing.
The second book I would like to refer to is “Discover Your Destiny With The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari:The 7 Stages of Self-Awakening” (2004) by Robin Sharma.
In his book Robin writes:
“Writing things down is an incredibly important practice of self-discovery. The monks I met up in the Himalayas taught me about the tremendous value of daily journaling. Just as you get to know another person by having deep conversations with them, by journaling every morning you will come to know yourself through writing. I discovered what I wanted and what was holding me back from living my greatest life. My journal offered me a place to record my learning, an outlet to process through unfelt emotions that were blocking me and a vehicle to articulate the philosophy that I promised myself I would live by.”
This last paragraph makes more sense to me since the Himalayan monks date back to the fourth and fifth century. It is through their teachings then that generations of followers have been practicing writing and keeping a journal.
As for the title of Sharma’s book “The 7 Stages of Self-Awakening,” it was the late Stephen R. Covey who initiated this trend in writing, with his book “The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People.” A wonderful book that started a community of its own, and changed the way people and companies thought and did business all around the world. I have to admit I used some of his teachings in my classrooms in Dubai as well.
There are always initiators of new ideas and their followers. We can’t all be leaders nor can we all be followers. As human beings we are different and can never be alike, the same way no two snow flakes are alike. Each one of us is unique in our own way. What’s important is to stay true to our Authentic Self, no matter what challenges we face in this world. Because that’s what makes us who we are, that’s what makes us the unique individuals that we are.
Have a great week journaling!