I remember back to when I was 19 years old and I was going through a very traumatic time in my life I was gifted a journal. As I sat in front of my dear counselor she handed to me a journal and said this will be one of the best gifts you ever receive. That gift seemed to carry me through the trauma that I was experiencing at that time, reintroduced me to my love for writing, raised my voice higher so I could hear the paths to take, and most importantly it tuned me into my own personal self-check in time.
For my friends that visit me for life counsel sessions with Movement for You the journal breakdown you have heard before. But, now dear following friends that can’t visit me in the studio on a weekly basis I share with you the breakdown to welcoming a journal into your life and to discovering as I learned years back what a gift it truly is to ourselves and to living the most complete life.
My friends that visit me for life counsel sessions show up on their first session with a journal in hand. I walk them through sectioning off the journal into three different areas-
- a) Self-Check In
- b) Goal Orientation
- c) Who Am I?
The first section of your journal will be for Self-Check In. Place 3 to 5 minutes aside at a sacred point of your day whether it be morning or at night. I advise that in those 3 to 5 minutes with journal writing you only focus on yourself. You can start your morning off with your journal by your bedside and begin to write down any thoughts that come to mind. If you are deciding your sacred time is before bed you can do a quick inventory over your day and write down thoughts that seem to be popping up before rest. I always say a great way to start this self-check in process with journaling in the 3 to 5 minute zone is to reflect on the positive. The best way even during a traumatic situation to pull on the positive is to give grace towards simplicity. Let me explain, it’s as simple as this-
“I am grateful for waking today”
“I am grateful for the hugs I received from my kids today”
“I am grateful for the path I am being led on with work, family, or community.”
“I am grateful for each breath I am taking and for each breath I can pass onto others.”
The greatest gift we have as individuals is our breath. If we tune into our breathing it will guide us to the simplicities of gratefulness. The breath will guide you through your personal self-check in time and also on this discovery of journal writing. The breath is our first communication with ourselves and our breath is our first communication with others.
The second section of your journal can be listed as Goal Orientation. I simply have friends in our counsel sessions list where they are at right now. A regular day in their lives written down on paper for them to see all they do and accomplish. This is yes, back to ABC basic learning and viewing of our daily responsibilities in work, at home, and in our personal time and it leads individuals to understanding the place they have in this world and how much they matter. Even individuals suffering from the deepest and darkest depression and anxiety can be guided to make their list. With listing reality we can then take inventory and discover the goals to place ahead of ourselves whether it needs to be a daily goal, a weekly goal, monthly or yearly. What I find through counsel sessions with Goal Orientation is that many friends are doing so much throughout their days they forget to block stillness time to reflect, meditate, and to take inventory with personal self-check in. The busy, busy in our lives leads us to a very overactive mind and underperformance. When we start to list everything we do in a day it allows us to see if we are overworking, over giving, over thinking, and as I say over focusing on an end goal verses being present in the moment that is right in front of us.
The most beautiful awareness moments I get to see in life counsel sessions happen with Goal Orientation. Friends will say to me-
“I am exhausted and now I see why”
“Tomorrow is another day I think I will reevaluate how I can do all my responsibilities over two days verses one.”
All individuals need to understand and see their own limitations. Limitations is not a negative word in this respect when we are setting up boundaries on what we can handle on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. In fact, this is the best way to live a healthy, productive, and non-stress filled life. You would not ask a baby to walk by three months so don’t ask yourself to react quickly in any situation especially traumatic situation and life changing situation that comes before you. Hit your journal, do your self-check in, and lead right into goal orientation to see the reality and all the endless possibilities that are in front of us with time.
Third section of your journal I advise friends to set up as Who Am I? In even our most lost moments in life there is always a way to remember the little girl or the little boy that we used to be. Yes, friends my favorite exercise to share in the Who Am I section for your journal is to take a couple of moments of reflection to think about something from your childhood. This does not need to be a big event. It can be as simple as remembering your favorite color, stuffed animal, school days, a dear friend, a smile from your mom or dad or caregiver. We want to pull on something that sparks your thought process to look back. For instance, my favorite memory was always riding my little girl bike with the basket and bell on it. I would place stuffed animals in the front and take them for rides and care for them. See even at that young age I was known for thinking and caring for others. This is the reason why I love the Who Am I section. It will take you back to your beginning days of simplicity as a human being. It will allow you to see what you loved to do before roles and accomplishments and honors were handed out to you. It clears your canvas from today so you can look back to your true path and what you are meant to do in your life and how you can keep happiness present for all your days to come.
I have a working journal by my side every day for family, for work, and for me. I hope this breakdown to journal writing guides my followers to many discoveries, dreams, love, and everyday happiness. Every human being is amazing and sometimes our daily journal writing with self-check in, goal orientation, and who am I will remind us of that. And on those days when you may feel a little lost or blue the journal that is truly a gift that will not be forgotten will remind you of how amazing you are and to get kicking once again because you all have a path and incredible purpose to pull off in this life that has been given to us.
This blog was written by Lindsay Schaefer creator and founder of Movement for You practice www.movementforyou.com and the artistic director of Artists in Unity www.artistsinunity.com
You can also visit more of Lindsay’s writings in her book The Process, The Practice, The Artist available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Process-Practice-Artist-Lindsay-Schaefer/dp/1503352935/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495565580&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=lindsayschaefer+the+process+the+practice+the+artist