When I journal, it is often about what’s on my mind and what is happening with my body. What’s always included are my conversations with God* about these writings. As a result, my writings are a collection of my thoughts about my mind, my body and my spirit. Each area teaches me how to better manage this earth walk that I am on.
For me, I do agree with the concept that my body is a temple, but I don’t always treat it this way. I have learned so much during my journey, some things a long time ago, like how a hangover ruins the morning, my favorite time of day. Some things I am still learning, like recognizing times when I use food for comfort; or learning to accept my body, like how my body will never look like a younger person’s because of my journey (c-section scars, a toenail which doesn’t sit flat on the nailbed, wrinkles which stem from my love of the great outdoors and maybe even loads of facial expressions, including smiling and frowning a lot, etc.).
With writing what is on my mind, it is easy to know if I am in a good place or not. If I am not, I have thoughts coming from every direction, many of which aren’t true, or there is no way I could know if they are true because they are about someone or something else outside of my sphere of living. When I am in a good place, I am able to stay present, put myself into the sacred spaces involving creativity, to make something that has never been made before, and will never be made again.
With my body, it is often about how I want it to feel, how I want it to look. I can write about this, set goals about this (start flossing everyday again, change gyms, find a hair stylist who listens to me, etc.). I can look back in my journal and see how I’m doing, determine if the goal is even important, ask Spirit* what I should be thinking about it.
I might want to build my stamina, learn about better nutrition, change a bad habit into a better one. All of these things I can write about in my journal, ask God to help me change the things I am able to change, and to accept the things I cannot.
With my spirit, I tap into the realization that to the universe, I am but a speck, but to Spirit, I am everything. This is how I feel when I am connected to Spirit: humble yet worthy, available, unseeking, where everything falls into place in this sacred space.
Here are some journal prompts to get started writing about these areas:
JOURNAL PROMPT: Where does my strength lie today (body, mind or spirit)?
JOURNAL PROMPT: Where do I feel weakest? What is robbing me of this balance?
JOURNAL PROMPT: What might I let go of which could cause a shift?
JOURNAL PROMPT: What might I add to my life which could cause a shift?
JOURNAL PROMPT: What should I be thinking about?
JOURNAL PROMPT: God*, what else do you want me to know?
Don’t second guess yourself on this one. Listen for an answer. Write whatever comes to you, even if you think it is just your own mind’s voice speaking. In this way, you are getting a two-way conversation started.
For me, sometimes I hear an answer immediately and I write it down. Sometimes, I wait in silence until an answer comes and I write it down. Not often, but sometimes, I hear nothing, and sometimes I am inspired to use a tool. Tools often include meditation cards, a daily devotional, or a spiritual book.
If you are not sure what to use, use the tool which pops into your head first. It could even be a message from the first thing you see, such as a billboard outside your hotel window, or a coffee-table magazine (financial, gossip, etc.; I believe that it doesn’t matter, that God* knows what you see!). Don’t pass judgment; just write down what you see or what you are drawn to read, and the specifics of that reading that speak to you.
At this writing, I have used just one tool over the past week: The Enchanted Map Guide Book by Colette Baron Reid. As is often the case for me, when I am called to use a specific tool, the pages I pick are often of a similar theme. Not surprising to me, because this is my pattern, to be called to work on one thing at a time, this has been true for me this week as well.
This last question and practice, to involve God in my quiet reflective space, it the essence of what I call spiritual journaling. If you have another practice, the community would love to hear it.
*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. 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.