A Way to Deepen Your Journaling

13th January 2016

Do you feel that your journaling isn’t taking you where you want to go? Do you feel that you’d like a deeper experience within your pages but feel stuck at the shallow end?

This morning, I was journaling about some heavy stuff. I didn’t start off intending to get that deep. I was answering a journaling prompt from Wild Women, Wild Voices by Judy Reeves. I was writing about all the things my mum has done in my childhood that was harmful to my creativity. Quiet a raw subject to write about, but one that is doable at a push to write honestly.

Then, without any warning, the journaling suddenly got scary. As I was outlining each thing I deemed as the thing my mum did wrong, I realised I have been doing those exact same things to my husband. That was a scary realisation. I wanted to turn away from it. I saw the dark side of me and I wanted to run away from it, never to look back. Maybe if I ran away fast enough from it, it never existed.

My body started to tighten. I was breathing heavily, then not breathing at all. My throat closed up. I started to yawn. I felt unusually hungry. My head was spinning. All I wanted to do was to get up, and walk away from these pages that exposed me for who I was.

Learn to spot the resistance, and have the courage to step through it.

This is the sign of resistance. This is the sign that you just arrived at a very important point in your journaling. If you can walk through this, you will come to some deeply loving, compassionate realisations that will genuinely help you.

However, every cell in your body is telling you to run. To get away from this horrible experience. The need for you to walk away from this at this moment will feel so genuine that it feels like you will die if you don’t walk away. That something terrible will happen if you continued writing. That your life will collapse in on itself if you keep at it. Or it might feel the complete opposite, that this is so utterly pointless, or you will notice something that, all of a sudden, really needs to be attended to, way more than your journaling.

As I yawned and eased apart muscle cramps that were happening all over my body, I carried on writing. At some points, all I could write was ‘oh god, this is awful. Oh god, oh god, oh god’, but I carried on writing. I wanted to give up this writing session on every single line of that page, but I carried on.

Then a question appeared in my head. What if I could write about what my mum should’ve done back then that would’ve genuinely helped my creative journey? Wouldn’t those same thing apply to my husband’s creative journey?

Yes, yes it would. Then, another wave of resistance rode in. Writing the things that would’ve helped me back then was so hard. Kept on writing. One by one, slowly and with much resistance, the better approach came out. Things that would help, not harm, my husband’s blossoming creativity. Things that were from a place of love, rather than from a place of fear and control. Things that is going to be very hard for me to implement in my interactions with my husband but one that ultimately, I will be so much more at peace with.

Everyone’s resistance will look very different. My husband has what we call his resistance yawn. I tend to get cramps on my ribs and arms. Sometimes the resistance will be very different depending on what you are writing about. When your journaling starts to get hard, and all you want to do is walk away, try paying attention to what your body is going through.

Then remind yourself that, as much this feels genuinely like you are dying, this is just resistance. This is the big neon sign that is telling you gold is just on the other side of this. If you can take that step through to the other side of the resistance, your journaling practice will give you understanding, knowledge and peace that comes from such a deep, loving place. It will take your journaling so much deeper than you ever thought possible.