Hey there! It’s good to see you here. My name is Lizzie, and I am the redhead who is always wondering! Wondering about life, about this beautiful world, about words and light and colour and form. And mostly about how I can be the best me that I can possibly be.
I am a creator of hand bound books and of art, in the form of cyanotypes and photographs. I am also an avid journal-keeper and I’d like to share some of my journal wonderings with you today ….
Slowing it Down
There’s a great card in the Goddess Oracle deck by Kat Shaw … Connection – Grounding. The card invites us to slow down; it tells us things can wait; our balance is paramount … “Feel the slow and sumptuous connection to your life instead of running through it a million miles an hour”.
I’ll be honest with you … it’s hard for me to let myself slow down. I feel as if I wasted so much of my life and now it’s like I must do everything all at once, to make up for lost time.
I wasted so many years of my life on people who didn’t deserve me; then I wasted another decade fighting to be free of them, fighting to have a life of my own.
I love my life so much now, and I don’t want to waste any more time.
But that does make me feel that I HAVE to always be DOING something.
Allowing myself to stop and just BE is not easy for me. Slowing down is not easy for me.
That’s why my journaling is so important to me. You see, this act of allowing words to flow across the page is, for me, an act of self-care. I stop all the busyness, I sit with just my journal and my pen, and I allow the space for the words to come.
Be Present to Yourself
I don’t think or plan, make To Do lists, or organise my thoughts before I start to write. I am simply present to myself. Whatever thoughts come into my head, I put on the page. It doesn’t matter if they’re random, disjointed, not “proper” grammar; they just come, pouring from my pen.
Mind to hand to pen to page.
A connection to myself.
And as the words come, so clarity follows. I start to see where feelings are coming from. I start to see a path through any confusion. I breathe. And I know that all is well.
This time I spend alone each morning, this is my ultimate “me time”.
I’ve been doing this for such a long time that it is a habit. Just as I could no more NOT brush my teeth in the morning, I could not skip writing my journal. Even if I’m in a dreadful rush, and all I do is write my affirmations, then that’s enough. My journal is my touchstone. My connection to me. And now I create my own journals, and I fill them with my writing. How cool is that?
Tell Yourself the Truth
Tell the truth to yourself first”Maya Angelou
It took me such a long time to be able to tell myself the truth. Years and years of pain and sorrow, years and years of believing that I wasn’t worthy of being loved, because I wasn’t good enough. In any way. In every way. I just wasn’t enough. Or so I believed.
So, I took it all … the abuse, the hurt, the belittling. I took it and took it, because I didn’t believe that I deserved anything better.
And then I started writing. I am grateful every day to American Liz (yes, that’s how she was known by everyone … and I was Scottish Liz … got to love the originality of nicknames, eh?!). Liz gave me a copy of the Artist’s Way and it was like being handed the keys to the kingdom, or rather, the queendom, because it was the key to me, it was the key that unlocked my prison cell door. Wow, could I mix any more metaphors?!
I know it sounds clichéd, but clichés become so for a reason … because they tend to be the truth.
The truth. That’s what the Artist’s Way gave me. Writing every day, page after page, I started to tell myself the truth.
And the truths I told myself really did set me free. If the Artist’s Way was the key, then writing my journal pages every day was the sledgehammer that knocked down the walls. (There I go again, mixing metaphors!!).
What a Daily Journaling Practice Can Do for You
You see, when you write a journal every day, when you show up at the page even when you don’t “feel” like it, but you do it anyway, when you pick up the pen and you just get started, when you do all that, then the words come … and then the truths come.
Now, I’m not saying every day brought an epiphany, nor that there was great prose flowing from my pen onto every page. But what did happen, as I wrote every day, was that I started to uncover the truths about myself.
I started to admit things to myself … the mistakes I’d made, the shame and the guilt that went with them. And in admitting those things, I was able to release them, I was able to get to the root of things, I was able to find a way through.
Living My Own Wildest Dreams
But much more important than that, I began to admit what my dreams were, what my desires were, who I wanted to be, the life I wanted to live.
And I am living that life now!
I am happy.
I am loved and I love.
I create. I have fun. I smile all the time (even when no one is watching!).
I live a simple and fulfilling life.
And I am free.
I am free to speak my truths every single day.
Do what Maya suggests and tell the truth to yourself first!!
Why Writing in My Journal is so Important to Me
I started this journey over 20 years ago, and I’ve had some really big shifts in my thinking and the way I feel about myself during those years.
The Artist’s Way and writing in my journal every day gave me the first of those big shifts; through that process, I was able to break free of the choke hold of a life that did not serve me.
There have been many shifts since then, and usually through some crisis or pain or rejection or abandonment, I have moved forward and moved deeper into myself. And slowly, slowly my life started to change.
For a long time, I believed that I would only have these shifts, these breakthroughs where I grew as a person, by going through the fire of pain.
You know the story … life deals you a shitty hand, you think you’re going to break, but you get through it, you survive, you even thrive … and then you discover that you’re much stronger than you thought you were.
I used to think that my major breakthroughs would/could only happen when I’ve experienced crisis or trauma.
Learning from Joy
But here’s the thing … I am so happy these days. I am living my best life (so far!), but I am still learning, I am still growing, and I am still becoming a stronger, and a better person. Recently I heard Glennon Doyle on a Podcast say, “Yes, you can learn from pain. But what if we can also learn from joy?”
And that is what I’m doing now.
I’m learning so much about myself. I am so happy and grateful for my life, and I want more. I want to feel happy about all of my life, and the thing I get to work on now is how I feel about myself.
And that’s where this journaling comes in. I get to find out what it is I really want. I get to celebrate how amazing I am. And not just because I’ve survived adversity, but because I am feeling, and I am generating, good things (all manner of things!!) for myself and for other people.
I grow when I’m happy! And I’m happy when I grow! How’s that for a bit of positive circularity?!
And if you’re scared, because you don’t know what you’re going to fill the blank pages with … just pick up the pen and start writing, even if all you can think of is … “I don’t know what to write” … just keep writing. The words WILL come. As Julia Cameron says, “Leap, and the net will appear.”