Listening: The Cornerstone to Journaling


There are many purposes for journaling---to keep a record of events, to heal, to vent, to create a vision for change, or to reach other mental and spiritual goals. When I took my first journaling course with Mari, I was relying on the journal itself, more than the process. I don’t mean that I literally thought I would hear a booming voice from my notebook pronouncing what I should do in a certain situation, or a giant sweeping hand reaching out from it to magic my dreams and intentions into place. But I was still disconnected from my own role in the process.

Journaling is like any other endeavor, especially when we’re asking for guidance, or trying to figure out our next step. Even when we call on our best friend or a spiritual leader, or in the case of our journal, the Universe, the process is still fundamentally an inside job. Even when we’re seeking outside counsel, we will always get opinions and advice that support both sides of an issue. So why not give our intuition the deciding vote?


And that’s exactly effective journaling requires of us. We need to be our own biggest advocates in the process. Or, as per the best piece of advice my mother ever gave me (and which I’m still learning to apply), we need to be our own best friend. What this means is that when we are asking questions within the framework of our journaling practice, we need to listen to our own intuition throughout the process. That’s how we know what questions to ask, and when visioning in our journal space, we listen first to put the intention and vision that best serves us and that best represents what our heart’s true desire is in any given situation.

Often times what follows in the best scenario is that we begin to journal the answers for ourselves, or we come back to our journal to share or record the miracles that have taken place as a result of our listening and writing/acting with our highest vibration and intention.

One example is when I journaled to call in a much needed life change. I had to begin without anger (that’s the venting part of journaling that came first), and with a sense of openness to what would unfold for me as the best solution. I really needed for my husband and I to find a different living situation. Not long after I had completed one of Mari’s journaling courses and included this intention, we found ourselves in the process of moving. Now, one word of warning, be ready to receive what you ask for, because this didn’t happen in the way I first hoped—you know, a sudden windfall of money allowing us to move into our beachfront bungalow. But it was absolutely the right thing to happen for all concerned, and we found just the right new apartment for us.

Another example is a series of journal prompts I did for another class this week, including a letter to myself, as well as responding to several questions about the beliefs and fears that may be holding me back. In this case, I not only needed to listen to what was truly going on with me, but I needed to be honest in facing and writing about it.

anne-estonLastly, we all need to be gentle and trusting of ourselves, and of the page—it’s the safest place to be! As the song says, “listen to your heart, hear what it’s saying.” And as Mari says, “Write On!”

Anne Eston is an author, developmental editor, and literary coach. You can find out more about her and her work at


If you want to learn how journaling can help you tackle life's challenges and become a better listener, please download the free eBook, The Journaling Guide to Manage The Stress and Strains of Life.