Create • Inspire • Journey
by Rachelle Eason
Journaling…What’s all that jazz about?
So what’s all the jazz about journaling? It connects. Journaling connects us to others when we create art journal pages during workshops, connects us to colleagues when we share breakthroughs, and connect friends just by the sheer fact that we both journal. But the true connection is the one you make with yourself.
This is the core of my passion for journaling. Like many, I am crazy busy through the day with work, family, and trying to juggle a gazillion little things. Being an artist, I wear several hats for my business and the most draining part is having to switch gears from creative to analytical in a split second. Sometimes those gears have to turn at the exact same time. It’s often mentally exhausting. Journaling is my way to stop, just for a few minutes, and regroup.
I usually have multiple journals that I am working in at one time. Of course, now they are all from shop collections of my eco-stained hand-stitched journals. I created each style based on the type of inspiring surfaces that I desired over the years. The one I choose in the moment depend on my intentions at the time. Discover more about those styles in another blog post called “The Journal Collections by Rachelle Eason.” Essentially, I have spent the last several decades journaling and making it inviting for me to do so.
Sometimes it’s just a word. I look at a page in my Classic Journal and am mesmerized by its design, it’s definitive detailing of the plant elements I used, and the abstract I see in the composition. When I take that time to focus my thoughts on a specific page, a specific piece of eco-stained art, my reflection leads me to a word, sentence, a lyric or quote, and sometimes it leaves me speechless. Sometimes journaling in an Classic Journal means writing down no words at all, yet I have connected with myself in a way that is indescribable.
Personal journal writing isn’t about how long your entry is. There are no word counts or page counts that you are being judged by. There are no requirements, no rules, no grades, and definitely no critiques. It is simply whatever you want it to be.
The essential factor in journal writing is that you do it. The benefits of journal writing are reaped when you engage in the activity. Simply put…any moment spent reflecting, writing, drawing, dreaming, venting, and just being with your journal is valuable to your well-being.
Thai Nguyen of The Utopian Life wrote a piece on the “10 Surprising Benefits You’ll Get From Keeping A Journal.” I think this list is the best I have seen and I couldn’t say it better myself. By sharing his thoughts on how journal writing stretches your IQ, evokes mindfulness, offers healing, ignites creativity, boosts self-confidence, and other benefits, he has captured the essence of why incorporating journal writing in your life is life-changing.
Although I like Nguyen’s recommendation as far as setting a habit for journaling by possibly starting with writing three days a week, I believe that journaling should be part of your being and not regarded as something you have to carve out a time for in your already busy day. Sounds like a magic trick, right? I am urging you to journal, but not that you make time for it? Well, that’s not really what I am doing.
By having your journals, or journals, handy, using them becomes easy and convenient. When you are sitting at your desk and take a break to scroll through social media, pick up your journal, find a page and take a moment being just with you. When I worked at office jobs, I would set my desk each morning that I arrived by taking my journal out of my handbag and placing it on my desk before putting my purse away.
In my studio, I have a journal sitting on the end table next to my comfy purple covered settee. I sit there to write my blogs and do other work on my laptop. When I feel the need to think about other things for a bit, I reach for my journal and write, draw, or meditate over the images I see. It gives me much more pleasure and mental rest than scrolling through posts on social media and it makes me more productive when I go back to my laptop work.
My cozy writing corner in my bedroom features a purple (of course) comfy chair and a small table with my favorite gypsy style beaded lamp. A purple (again, of course) Bolga basket sits on the floor and is full of journals that I have written in and some I have not. It takes a lot of imagination to make this spot my cozy writing corner because in reality, the corner is stacked with tubs and boxes that have been unpacked and repacked to be ready for our next house move which we anticipate in the next eight months. Mind over matter, though, and to me, I feel a cozy spot!
The times I find most beneficial are just after wake-up in the morning and just before sleep time in the night. I feel that is when I am most full of vulnerability and by reflecting through that I have learned a lot about myself.
Morning Quiet Time was an essential part of our homeschooling day when my children were younger. It was a time when we came together in undisturbed calm and wrote or drew in our journals for about 30 to 40 minutes daily. I continue to find that by writing in the morning, I claim that peaceful calm for myself and often am able to recall my dreams. It is not often that I spend 30 or 40 minutes writing any more, and that isn’t my goal any ways. What I accomplish is a moment to center myself and, regardless of what the rest of the day brings, I have started off with cherishing my thoughts.
Just before sleep time is my favorite time. I am definitely an “under the silver moon” or blue moon, or purple moon, etc. kind of creator. I have always said that once my children are on their own, I am going to flip my days and nights, sleeping days and creating during the night. With teenagers now, it seems as though I am burning the candle on both ends.
Night time journaling just seems more beneficial to my emotional well-being. It used to be that I would beat myself up in my journal about all the less than perfect choices I made with my kids during the day; venting about my exhaustion from homeschooling, tending to a hobby farm with horses, and running a retail pottery store; or what little time I had with my husband. Those were all very important feelings to reveal at that time and my journal helped me through those days, but as my children grew, I eased up on myself for not responding to their behaviors or requests in the moment as I would have if I had time to think. I accepted my choices that made me exhausted, and I took responsibility for protecting time my husband and I could spend together. Through journaling, I evolved in how I treated myself and allowed myself to be human. I discovered that I was doing the best I could in each moment and that if I spent more time being in the moments, I would be better in the moments. I would be kinder, gentler, happier in those moments. And more patient. Through journaling at night before I went to sleep, I evolved from writing how I would do things differently the next day, to writing about how I did things well that day.
Journaling has not only documented my evolution over the decades, but has been a catalyst in that evolution. And, isn’t it grand that we have such pretty journals to inspire that evolution?