A DIY Spiritual Journey with Your Journal as Your Guide
© Dianna Huff
Post-divorce and two years shy of 50, I realized at the start of 2011 that I no longer knew who I was. I had spent the last 13 years raising my son and working at my business and had paid little attention to my own needs. This inattention had taken its toll: I was numb, unhappy, and stuck – in a big way.
One day last March, I embarked on a 100-day spiritual journey to get to know myself. I wasn’t sure how I’d do it, but decided I would write every single day in my journal and just let God (or the universe) guide me. I bought a stack of artist sketchbooks and a package of pens and set forth.
My journey was amazing. During my 100 days, I drove to the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum and back in Mansfield, Missouri (fulfilling two lifelong dreams), redid my bedroom, bought new clothes, dropped two dress sizes, took up sailing lessons, and met all kinds of new people. I also busted through major blockages that had been holding me back for years.
But as amazing as that all sounds, it was only the beginning of an incredible transformational process.
What program did I follow? My own
The few people I told about my journey all had the same question: “What program are you following?”
“None,” I would reply. “I’m just doing it on my own.”
You can find dozens of self-help books on the market – with terrific information – but none get at the heart of the matter: You have to figure out the “answers” yourself.
To make lasting changes – changes that stick – it’s not enough to follow someone else’s program. You have to dig deep within yourself and uncover long buried emotions and feelings. You have to ask yourself why you’re doing things that make you unhappy. Once you know why you’re unhappy, you have to ask yourself why you’re continuing to do the things that make you unhappy.
You have to face the fact that maybe you’ve fucked up. Big time. And you have to ask for forgiveness – of God and/or other people maybe – but definitely of yourself. Even harder, you have to learn to love yourself – the good parts and the bad.
Growth and change takes time and lots of self-love
People also asked how I found time for this inner work. I made the time. Every morning I devoted an hour to meditating and visualization, spiritual reading, and writing in my journal. It became part of my daily routine.
I’ve kept a journal since the age of 13, but always censored myself out of fear someone would read it. I also censored myself because I had so much I didn’t want to face.
But because I was committed to my own spiritual growth and change, I knew I had to start opening up to myself. During my 100 days, I wrote about everything in my life, from the deep to the seemingly mundane:
• Why did I hang out with the people that I did?
• What foods did I like?
• Did I really enjoy cooking?
• Why did certain situations upset me?
• Why did other situations make me happy?
• Why was I scared to drive into Boston?
• Why was I doing work that I really didn’t like?
The more I opened up to myself, the more I was able to deal with blockages and negative / limiting beliefs. None of this was easy. Digging deep into your psyche takes time, patience and lots of self-love. Sometimes it can take weeks or even months to work through things. And, the stuff that comes up can be upsetting – and quite uncomfortable.
As I went through this self-discovery process, my journal was my lifeline. I spent many hours sitting on the floor next to my bed crying and dripping tears on my journal pages – all while writing down whatever came out of the depths of my soul.
Letting go makes you free
Today, I’m much different than I was in March 2011. I’m much happier, and I’m now creating the life I want to live. Instead of looking “outward” for answers, I now look inward. My own inner compass guides me; I trust it implicitly.
But, I’m not done. I’ve since stretched my 100-day journey into a two-year sojourn with the goal of transforming all areas of my life before I turn 50.
Through all the tears and writing and self-analysis, the greatest benefit of this personal journey is one I didn’t anticipate: I’m now the beautiful, talented, successful, open, smart, whole person God has always meant me to be.
Dianna Huff is the author of Women Achieving Dreams: Stories of Faith and Courage by Extraordinary Women. All book proceeds benefit the non-profit foundation Girls Fight Back. On April 24, Dianna is being interviewed by Monica Magnetti, of VoiceAmerica, regarding her Women Achieving Dreams e-book. Dianna and Monica have set a goal: to sell 1000 copies of Dianna's e-Book “Women Achieving Dreams,” whose 100% profit benefits Girls Fight Back, a non-profit foundation that teaches girls and young women around the world how to defend themselves.