The more I work with Mari's courses, the more I realize the effects and benefits of journaling.
Journaling is not writing a diary. It's not just about opening a notebook and writing a date, then writing stuff like "I got up early today, went for a walk, was late for work and the boss got mad" etc. No, a true journal stretches beyond a simple list of things a person did; even beyond how they were feeling or how they reacted to events and situations.
A true journal helps one get behind WHY they felt or reacted the way they did at any given time. For me, it helps define why I'm doing what I'm doing, why I make the choices I do.
This was the case with the 21 Day Declutter Your Life Journaling course.
Although I know I have a way to go yet, I began to see why I don't attend to household chores before they get out of hand (like the science experiments in the fridge). It opened my eyes to stuff my brain has been trying to hide from me, stuff that's holding me back in several aspects of my life. The exercises in the course, with specific questions on priorities, goals, reactions to items I've been saving or specific areas of the house that may be especially troublesome, helped me to see some of what I want and how I REALLY want things to be.
I realized I've been hiding from a lot of things, from situations, from people. By having a cluttered, dirty house, people don't want to come over and I don't have to deal with them or their drama, or relive past hurts. I spend nearly all my time at home, by myself, with only the company of my cats. Through this course, I have begun to examine whether that might be a personal choice. But, no matter, I now know that I am WORTHY of a clean, clutter-free environment. It doesn't matter what others think or if they come over, this one I'm doing for ME. I realize now that I don’t like it that my home, which should be a sanctuary, feels only like a place to hide, a place that's SAFE but absent of peace, happiness and joy.
Some of this was very difficult; bringing up some memories rocked me profoundly. The shock spurred me to get moving and I have accomplished more in these short 21 days than I have for months, probably even years. Working in 10-minute bursts after each journal exercise, I found I could accomplish quite a bit. Sometimes the 10 minutes stretched into 30 and beyond.
Mari's course gave me a starting point and a routine and although I still feel a little overwhelmed in certain areas - like the mounds of paper a single, semi-retired older lady can generate - I believe now that I can do this. As long as I have the safe haven of my journal to vent my feelings, my frustration, my outrage in, the tasks won't have me running for the recliner and a nap or hours on Facebook, giving up.
Maybe the biggest benefit, the greatest joy will come through getting my life back once the house is decluttered. I can get back to my writing, my art, and my handcrafts because my supplies will be accessible and I will have room to use them. That can only generate a sense of accomplishment and success, but more importantly one of happiness, peace and pleasure, especially when I'm using those supplies and that room to make gifts for my children, grandchildren and some very special friends who have stuck by me through it all.
About Pam Dickhaus
I am a former journalist, having worked as a correspondent for a large metro paper in another part of my state and as a general assignment reporter for our local paper. I have been doing creative writing in the form of poetry and short stories for most of my life. My most recent job was a Mental Health Technician at a residential mental health crisis center in my hometown. Currently, I am pursuing work from home in the form of blogging jobs and making and selling some of my craft items. In my spare time, I write, play in my art journal, do Zentangle, make handcrafts and am doing online classes in various art and self-help topics such as meditation.
I live in Wyoming with my kitties. My two children are grown and moved out on their own and have blessed me with 3 grandchildren with a fourth on the way in May.
I use spiral notebooks and old hardcover books that I alter for journals and art journals and write in longhand for the most part. I'm in the process of writing several novels, as well as my memoir, geared toward self-help. I am also writing a book about the real-life adventures I’ve had while delivering newspapers.