This is the first monthly Spiritual Matters column by Marie Higgins which will provide insight into adding a spiritual component to your life with journaling.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE SPIRITUAL?
We can bring a spiritual component into our journaling. But first, what does it mean?
To be spiritual means that a person gives highest priority to be a loving person; specifically, to love people, animals and the universe. It generally includes beliefs that we are all energetically connected and that there exists SOMETHING other than what a person can touch, see or hear.
Spiritual journaling then, is a type of journaling: namely, it is journaling that asks SOMETHING greater than ourselves, SOMETHING other than what we can touch, see or hear, to help us become the most loving person, to ourselves, and everyone and everything else.
What is spiritual journaling NOT? It is NOT an isolated component. It does NOT need a journal of its own. There is NO need to separate spiritual journaling from the many aspects of living, such as managing our finances, creative endeavors, health matters, relationships, and so on. It just provides SOMETHING extra that can help in all areas of life. Let’s explore further.
STEP 1: AM I SPIRITUAL?
The first step is to explore your own feelings about being spiritual, describing them in written format, in your journal. Start with these prompts.
JOURNAL PROMPT: Based on the description above, do I consider myself to be a spiritual person?
JOURNAL PROMPT: Which component is the most difficult for me:
A. To give highest priority to be loving to people, animals and the universe?
B. That we are all energetically connected?
or C. That there exists SOMETHING other than what I can touch, see or hear with our best interest in mind?
For some of us, we already have a name for this SOMETHING. It may be a constant in our lives, or the name may have changed over time. For others still, naming the SOMETHING might prove to be difficult. If it is, consider naming the SOMETHING anyway. Each of us can choose the name which makes us most comfortable. I use the term God* as a universal name, but you may decide that Great Spirit, Higher Power, Sensibility, Helper, Best Self, or SOMETHING else better suits you. You choose to use the name you want to use. If you are unsure what is best for you, try some of them out. Begin to consider what feels right for you.
JOURNAL PROMPT: What name will you use for the SOMETHING that is greater than ourselves, SOMETHING other than what we can touch, see or hear, to help you become the most loving person, to yourself, and everyone and everything else?
WHY IS KNOWING A NAME IMPORTANT?
Exchanging names or being introduced with a name helps provide an opportunity to establish and further develop a relationship. Imagine coming into a room with a group of people, one of whom you know from a previous introduction, the rest you do not. Because you know one name, you can greet that person by name. Knowing a name provides a starting point, in this case, to be introduced to the entire group.
Furthermore, it is important that both people in the relationship know each other’s names. Imagine a teacher who asks the students to each introduce themselves to the entire classroom, but then the teacher does not share their own name. Consider the second day of class when the teacher welcomes Denzel or Darlene to class by their names, but the student has no way to reciprocate in kind to the teacher.
JOURNAL PROMPT: Introduce yourself to this existence that you cannot touch, see or hear.
Be sure to write out both names and add a little bit about yourself in the introduction. Examples: 1. Spirit, my name is Marie. I’d like to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about my spirituality, the people I love, my relationship with animals, etc. 2. Self, my name is Marie. I think you already know me, but I am going to write out some things that I really want you to know about me….
WHY IS THIS RELATIONSHIP IMPORTANT?
One of the many reasons this relationship is important is because this relationship can HELP US become the most loving person, to ourselves, and everyone and everything else IN ALL AREAS OF OUR LIFE, ALL OF THE TIME! It’s like each and every one of us has a constant Helper in our corner.
There are few things more intimate than asking for help. First, it shows a level of trust that the Helper is capable, willing and ready to be there for you. But we must ask! It is not a sign of weakness. It is part of being connected to that which is greater than ourselves. It allows us to know that we have the help we need to move forward and to focus on the things that we are capable of doing. Let’s put our Helper to work!
JOURNAL PROMPT: What is it that I need help with right now?
Think about all the various areas of your life where help would be appreciated (career, finances, relationships, spirituality, personal goals, etc.). Journal until you have exhausted all areas.
At the end of your responses, write these words: and I ask _______ to help me. In the blank, list the name of your Helper.
1. Read through your last five pages of journal entries (the ones that come before these new prompts).
2. With a marker, highlight any affirmations, creative ideas, personal challenges, desires, etc.
3. Ask for help in these areas. Simply write these words in the margins next to any of your highlights: and I ask ______ to help me. Fill in the blank with the name of your Helper.
You can use this exercise every time you finish a journal entry or whenever you think about it. Consider that other people are doing this at the same time, that we are energetically connected to growing ourselves, bettering our relationships and the world and universe. Take the leap! Journal in this SOMETHING bigger way which is available to all of us!
Your Helper awaits! Be vulnerable and expectant!
*For this column, I want to define God by not defining God. I suggest that each of us use the term which feels most comfortable. I use God as a universal term. You may decide that Spirit, Great Spirit, Higher Power, Sensibility, Best Self, or SOMETHING else better suits you. It is not for me to decide what term you use. It is only for me to decide which term I use. I often use the term God.
Author bio: Marie Higgins left corporate America after more than 15 years in human resources management to pursue life. Before long she found massage therapy and became a nationally certified, state-licensed massage therapist. At the same time, she felt a partial hardening of the heart, figuratively and spiritually, so she found a spiritual coach to help, and became an active journaling person. Included in her journals are the gratitude lists that helped her heart soften and moved her to write poetry. In 2017 she included these poems in her debut book, Sprouting Spiritual Growth: A Memoir and a Guide to Spiritual Journaling (Amazon). Since then Marie maintains a journaling practice that includes writing poetry whenever inspiration strikes. Marie lives in suburban Philadelphia with her husband, two young adult children and an active foxhound.