You’ve been here before: you’re feeling inspired so you get cozy, crack open that cute notebook, take a deep breath…and then bail after a brief moment of writing anxiety.
Journaling, like meditation, can be majorly therapeutic, but only if you actually do it — and avoid getting caught up in ego. A charming new book by beloved NYC yogi Elena Brower is an inspirational guide to your soon-to-manifest journaling habit. Grab a copy here, then enjoy Elena’s tips and thoughts on journaling everyday…
5 Reasons to Start Journaling
When I turn to my own journals for the wisdom I need, I learn countless lessons from looking back on my own questions, then revisiting and refining the answers. Those two decades worth of notebooks hold medicinal wisdom that reveals and heals negative assumptions, unearths forgotten resources and provides essential reminders from within my own experience.
You uncover habitual emotions, thought tendencies and chosen habits with journaling. You refine your own voice and vision, recognize what makes your heart happy, and learn to invite the circumstances, insights and energetic connections that will help you to be of service to yourself and the world around you.
Even research suggests that journaling is good for your mind, body and spirit. A new study out from Michigan State University says that writing down your worries helps rewire you brain and increase efficiency. “Worrying takes up cognitive resources… findings show that if you get these worries out of your head through expressive writing, those cognitive resources are freed up to work toward the task you’re completing and you become more efficient.”
Slowing down long enough to make a habit of soulfully attending to life’s details might seem hard to do in our busy lives, but journaling is a compelling way to come home to ourselves in the deepest way possible. Journaling can be one of the simplest daily practices that help remind us why we’re here — a spacious reflection that allows us to soften, open and arrive at the very depths of our spiritual understanding, depths that can’t be reached from behind the walls we build. Here are 5 reasons why you might want to consider journaling:
ONE: Connect With Yourself | Each time you pick up your journal, you’re providing yourself with a safe space to connect to your own wise advice.
TWO: Work Your Non-Tech Muscles | Writing with your hand means you’re spending a few minutes away from your technology — great for your mood and your overall wellbeing.
THREE: Declutter Your Mind | Noting your reflections on paper allows you to choose what thoughts you’ll pursue and those you’ll release.
FOUR: Explore Your Roots | Journaling helps us relate to the present.
FIVE: Tap Into Your Truth | Journaling is the ultimate way to practice you.
How-To: A Journaling Meditation for Devotion
Devotion is formally defined as love, loyalty and enthusiasm for a person, activity or cause. Some synonyms for devotion: faithfulness, fidelity, constancy, commitment, allegiance. For me, devotion has become a key indicator of efficient energetic output. What does that mean? When I’m doing my rituals devoted to my practices, I’m devoted to myself, and my perceived obstacles cannot hold more energy than my love. Those are the times when I’m working well, and I’m balancing my work with good rest. I’m caring. I’m respectful of those around me. I am feeling like I’m on top of things.
Get In The Zone. Let’s begin with a few contemplations to bring you into a state and an understanding, a personal comprehension of devotion. First, smile. Take a nice deep breath in and exhale. Find a pen and take some time to free write as you’ll find your answers will be useful later on. Take a moment to consider the last time you felt devotional. For me, I take some time each morning to be thankful and make a small piece of art, connect to myself, to Spirit, to Source. What is it that you do? What makes you feel devotional or devoted, connected to your concept of divinity, a higher power?
Create a Sacred Space. Do you have any spaces in your home that you would consider to be devotional or sacred spaces? I’ve created little altars throughout my home, some with photos, some with rocks or gems or prayer beads, or even handwritten quotes. Some of you create little altars in your cars or in your offices. If you don’t have any sacred spaces at this time, take a moment to note mentally or on paper, at least one or two little spaces in your immediate environment, no matter how small; it could even be a section of a drawer, where you could anchor your devotional practices.
Ask Yourself Questions. Can you think of any area of your life where you could be more devotional or devoted in order to feel more connected or more firmly established in yourself? For me, when I considered this question, I realized that I could take more time during my work day to pause and reflect. I do really well at the beginning of the day and the end of the day, and then I plow through the day without thinking. For you, it might be a moment at the beginning or end of your day. Take this time to make a note in your journal about when and how you can pause and appreciate what you have at a certain time of the day and how that might help you see the bigger picture. I have friends who will set a little alarm in their phone that goes off and it will say things like, “I’m grateful,” “I’m free,” “I am holy.”
Jot It Down. In your journal, make a list of your idea of small acts of devotion. Here are some possible examples: a thank-you note to someone close to you, a flower or even two left anonymously, a flower or a plant for yourself, cleaning up for your partner or your roommate or your child, and, in general, doing chores, such as dishes or laundry, when it isn’t expected of you. Take time now to think about, and possibly even fashion, a thank-you note to someone close to you to show them your devotion to them, to their life, to their light in your life. Keep this a running list.
Let It Sink In. Small acts of devotion go a very long way. Whether you’ve done it in your mind or on paper, take a moment to finish up your ideas for this thank-you note to someone close to you, a sweet devotional act, and bring your hands to prayer in front of your heart or simply incline your chin toward your chest. Namaste. Sat nam.
Learn more from Elena Brower with this inspiring interview!