some insights into my journaling: a Q&A
Yesterday, I wrapped up another one of my meditation and journaling workshops, and as always, I left feeling inspired and excited about the practice - two feelings that I’d hope would make their return. It’s funny how these workshops seem to land on my calendar exactly when I need them to. To be clear, I’m not one who really believes in “it was fate” or “meant to be” or “everything happens for a reason,” but I sure do love a good coincidence. I digress, though….
Anyway, this was an especially curious group with some really insightful questions. I normally do a follow-up email specifically to all of the attendees, but since many of my readers have been through this workshop with me, I’m just going to put it out there for them to see, as well. And if you’re not one of those people, well a) lucky you because now you’re privy to some of my writing secrets (kidding… mostly!), and 2) stay tuned for an opportunity to become one, as I’m announcing a new date in OKC the next couple of weeks.
Now, to the good stuff!
Q: Do you do this everyday?
Me: I’d like to say yes, but, honestly, I sometimes let life get in the way and can go months without it (you can read a great example of that here). The thing is, though, it’s like any other good habit that you’re trying to maintain. You are in control of it, so you get to choose whether you let life get in the way or whether you prioritize it. And, the thing you have to remember is that fuck ups are only permanent if you let them be. That’s just a solid rule to live by all around.
Q: Can you tell when you’re not doing this?
Me: Oh god yes! And, I suspect, so can others. (I wish I had that cute little winky emoji so I could put it here)
Q: Why do you choose to not self-edit in your journal?
Me: The pretty (and partially real) answer is that I like having the freedom, as an adult, to not be required to focus or work within a set of parameters. The less pretty, but if-I’m-being-truly-honest-with-myself answer is that some of my writing is no longer just for me. I truly do like for it to be read, and for that to happen I have to put stuff out there that people want. These exercises - the ones that require me to spend time writing uncensored thoughts down - are the ones that help me stay authentic in my writing, and authenticity is what allows you to make a connection with your readers that feels deeper than the screen they are looking at. Of course I’ll do what is necessary to protect the privacy of others, if need be, but the emotions and intentions behind every story I share are genuine.
Q: Can you use this for creative writing or fiction?
Me: If that’s what resonates with you and that’s what feels right, then yes, of course. I think you could use it for any sort of writing or creative endeavor (think brainstorming). I’m not a fiction writer. It’s just not my strong suit, and I far prefer to share my personal experiences because it makes me a little uncomfortable in a good way, and I like the dialogue it creates with others.
Q: Is your writing meditative?
Me: Yes, unless I’m having a “Sweet Buddha, what the hell is that word that I’m looking for?!” moment. Then, no. (wherrreee is that winky emoji??)
Q: So you have those moments?
Me: Absolutely! That’s one of those writing myths - that writers always have all the words and they’re always intelligent sounding and arranged in the most eloquent pattern. Nope. We use a Thesaurus sometimes, just like regular old people. Maybe that’s another reason I don’t like to self edit in my journal… because I know it’s coming later.
Q: How long should I meditate?
Me: If you don’t have twenty minutes, sit for an hour. Just kidding! That’s the old saying you hear when you first start learning about this stuff. My personal belief (and I promise that there will be people who disagree) is that you start with what you can do, and if what you think you can handle is one minute, then do that. What I will say, though, is to establish a time rather than just say “okay, now I’m going to sit down and meditate until I’m done.” We’re just human, and humans need boundaries sometimes. Also, set a timer so that you’re spending your allotted minute(s) actually meditating and not wondering how long it’s been.
Q: What kind of meditation should I start with?
Me: Again, I’ll give you my answer, but understand that others may feel differently. I think that you should experiment with different types and see what feels right. I led you through six different meditations, but there are so many more out there. Really, unless you’re sitting there with clenched fists, hunched up shoulders, and a crunchy face and feeling angry about it, whatever you’re doing is not wrong.
Q: So, can my running/walking/painting/doodling/doing dishes count?
Me: Yes. To all of that, yes. To anything that you can get lost in, yes.
To all of those who shared thoughts, questions, and just good energy with me in the workshops, I truly appreciate you. You all give me so much without even knowing it. As I said before, if you have questions, shoot me an email, message me on Instagram, or leave them below.
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