“The nicest part is being able to write down
all my thoughts and feelings;
otherwise, I might suffocate.”
~ Anne Frank
I mentioned my journal a couple of months ago (click here if interested). My first memories with a journal trace back to middle school and the gentle nudge of an inspired teacher.
It’s a happy memory amid a sea of middle school history (with a side of misery). I even remember the desk where I sat recording my seventh-grade worries.
Somehow I found that journal in a chest of childhood memories. I cracked it open – you know, just randomly opened to a page about 70% through the notebook. The page before me was dedicated one simple question:
What makes me happy?
I wrote about being on the water or near the water, in a boat or on a float. I wrote about camping. And I quote,
“Running: running makes me happy. When I run, I feel free. It is joy.”
I participated in no organized running in middle school. I have no memories of running as a kid; except running to a friend’s house (across the street or next door). It wasn’t until high school that I ran cross-country (and I never ever ran on the varsity team so I had no special gift :). Today running is an integral part of the fiber of my life, connecting me to my dearest friends and providing the balm to heal life’s heartache.
I can not believe I wrote about the joy of running at age 12.
Fast forward to my last marathon photo. Doesn’t this image scream JOY! I have my arm in the air and I am wearing happy pink shoes. You can’t see my smile, but you know it is there.
My 12-year-old soul also wrote about silver linings and the blessings hidden in dark situations. The child in me knew about silver linings? I wrote at length (short and sweet is still not my speciality) about the silver-lining lessons gained from my experience as the “new student.”
As an adult, I love to peak under the awful and pull out a rabbit. I try to uncover the lesson, connect the dots and search for any sparkle of light in disappointment or sadness. Of course sometimes things just suck and that is when this silver-lining habit is… utterly annoying.
I wrote an entire post about silver linings 2013.
I love finding the creative expression in that old journal.
It was a safe haven during a turbulent time.
12-year old me.
If you tucked away a childhood or teen journal, pull it out and unlock some memories.
But let’s detour to today.
Many wise therapists suggest that writing leads to soul clarity. The understanding may not show itself on a silver platter but over time, answers just might emerge.
The literal action of un-capping my special marker helps me to unleash my thoughts: pen to paper, even if I can only move the marker to doodle. Or create hearts. My journal is simply a place to write with unfiltered voice. Grab your journal or any notebook and just begin (or begin again).
10 Journal Prompts
1.) Sign, sign everywhere a sign… What signs surfaced in your life today?
2.) What road did frustration lead you down? How did you handle the agitation?
3.) Name and explain three things you are big-time grateful for today?
4.) What is your purpose for the new year (new month, new job, new day)? Consider including a quote, phrase, lyric, or poem that exemplifies your intention.
5.) What is your favorite song at the moment and why?
6.) Who can you forgive? Write a letter of forgiveness or release a grudge. Send or don’t send the letter, just close the chapter.
7.) If fear was not a barrier, what would you tackle?
8.) Write a love note to your future self. Flag the page and make a note on your calendar to read the letter in six months.
9.) Name and explain five sources of happiness.
10.) Reflect on today (or yesterday). If words don’t work, doodle to create a symbol that represents your day.
I love the backstory behind Josh Wilson’s brilliant song, Pushing Back the Dark. The song is based on his experience and fears as a seventh-grade student.
“Your light might seem small,
but even the smallest act of love can illuminate the shadows.”