“Life’s challenges are the sandpaper that smooths out our rough edges, to reveal the masterpiece God created us to become.” -The Holding & The Healing Companion Journal
I decided to create a guided journal when I realized how many people are drawn to the concept of journaling, but don’t know where to begin or how to get started. In response to reader interest into my character, Cate Henderson’s, journal entries, the first two sections in The Holding & The Healing Companion Journal include messages and inquiry derived from my novels. The second two sections integrate my interest in self-awareness and living your life with authenticity.
My Personal Journaling Journey
When I first started writing my thoughts and feelings on paper, it was in a neon-pink diary, at the age of ten. It had a golden lock and key, and it felt like a safe place to bare my soul. I transitioned to a journal in my teens, but I was sporadic. I didn’t embrace a regular practice until I was in my thirties, on the verge of a mental breakdown.
While watching snippets of an Oprah interview, I was captured by Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book, Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self. I turned off the TV and drove to my favourite bookstore to purchase a copy of her book, then read it cover-to-cover in one sitting. I gathered all of the tools I needed to begin my authenticity dig. I filled the blank pages of my artist’s sketchbook journal with drawings, cut-outs from magazines, photos and words. My authentic self, who was buried beneath layers of labels, expectations, pain and trauma, emerged.
Around the same time, I discovered The Sacred Journey: Daily Journal for Your Soul by Cheryl Thiele. My planner personality embraced Cheryl’s goal-setting guidelines for each month of the year. The end-of-year reflections and beginning-of-year intentions created a solid foundation for my developing self-discovery. My soul felt witnessed, as I created my own personal ceremony to celebrate each seasonal solstice and equinox.
Fast forward, through multiple searches for authenticity and many years. I continued to struggle with recurrent depression, despite all my work. I felt stuck in a controlling, abusive relationship. The whispers from the Universe escalated to full-on screams. Even a mental breakdown so severe that I ended up a short-term mental health ward failed to give me the courage I needed to leave. But eventually, I did. That was when I re-discovered what it means to be free.
On the open road, I dove into The Artist’s Way writing course by Julia Cameron. The morning pages were a huge breakthrough for me. I never missed a day, three pages of daily freefall script over twelve weeks. I filled an entire volume of blank lines, and, along with my collection of journal entries, exercises and tasks, I wrote five pages of what would become the inspiration for my first novel, The Healing.
Messages & Inquiry from The Holding & The Healing
My first novel, The Healing, launched in 2021. Some readers and reviewers shared that, what stood out for them as the heart and soul of the story, were my main character, Cate Henderson’s, journal entries. I was told they gave insight into her thoughts, but also inspiration and testament to the power of a dedicated journaling practice.
The main messages from The Healing that I build on in The Companion Journal are about transitions, transformations, self-love, self-worth and self-acceptance. Some of the prompts examine intuition and spiritual awakening. Others dive into healthy coping techniques, like detachment and meditation. I explore wellness tools like yoga, mindfulness, and time in nature.
“The Healing isn’t a place you arrive at; it is a place you discover deep inside.” -The Healing
In conversations and interviews following the publication of The Healing, some readers also expressed an interest in the back story. They wanted to know more about the abusive relationship Cate left behind when she set out to begin a new life. They wondered how she developed her resilience, ability to overcome adversity, and her willingness to trust. I decided to write a prequel and The Holding was launched in April of 2022.
Inspiration from The Holding composes the first section of The Companion Journal. The significance of unconditional love in the formation of resilience is one of the key themes. I invite the reader to explore their own childhood memories and their family of origin. I open the conversation around difficult themes that affect many of us at some point in our lives, like sexual abuse, trauma, bullying and peer pressure.
Uncover Your Authentic Self; Live Your Authentic Life
In the second half of The Companion Journal, the focus shifts from messages in my novels to the theme of authenticity. In section three, Uncovering Your Authentic Self, I encourage the reader to examine core beliefs, values, purpose and mindset. I focus on identifying strengths, gifts, talents and aptitudes, as part of a healthy mind-body-spirit connection.
The final section in The Companion Journal is titled Living Your Authentic Life. It delves into tools like visualization, goal-setting and gratitude practices. It includes discussion about healthy routines and habits, as well as nourishing relationships with self and others. The intention is for the journaling process to provide a pathway that brings a person’s beliefs and practices into alignment.
“The lessons keep getting harder, but the message is clear; we all have our own work, we all have to create our own life story.” -The Healing
I hope that working with The Holding & The Healing Companion Journal will ignite people’s curiosity, deepen their self-discovery journey, and provide them with another tool to live their lives with greater courage and authenticity. Wherever anyone is on their path, my wish is that their sense of self-worth guides them to make empowered choices that bring peace, joy and well-being. I encourage writers to be vulnerable, to open themselves to giving and receiving love, from a place of wise discernment, honesty, and trust.
Author bio: Lynda Faye Schmidt is a storyteller who writes from the heart. Her novels are emotionally impacting and character-driven.
Before becoming a writer, Lynda earned a Bachelor of Education. She taught in a variety of settings, sharing her love of reading, writing and creating.
After her move to the Middle East in 2015, Lynda kicked off her writing career with her blog, Musings of an emotional creature. She was also a contributor for DQ Living magazine.
Since then, Lynda has published two novels based on real life as a series, The Healing & The Holding. The Holding & The Healing Companion Journal launches October 23, 2022. Lynda’s third novel, The Rogue Scorpion, is set to be released on April 23, 2022.
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