Blog

Journaling – a Self-discovery Journey

Ultimately, journaling is a journey of self-discovery, a quest to uncover the depths of your soul and embrace the fullness of who you are.

The Power of Journaling 

Back when I was in High School every girl had a diary where we’d ask our friends to draw or write us something. I kept mine for a long time but, after so many moves, I threw them away at one point. Now that I’m back journaling, I’m wondering how many journals I’ll have by the end of the year and what I’ll do with them. Nonetheless, I’m excited to share the benefits that this simple yet profound practice can offer. It has become a daily habit for me – a source of guidance and creativity, and also a pathway to self-discovery and growth.

How Everything Started

I’ll have to blame Julia Cameron for this one! She was an IIN guest faculty for my Health Coaching Training Program and I was quite impressed by her lecture about Creativity. This one area of Primary Food, or what feeds us off our plates, is the main subject of one of Julia’s books – The Artist’s Way, where she shares her favorite techniques to unlock creativity. This book has been widely acclaimed and has had a significant influence on the creative community since its publication in 1992. It has remained popular over the years and has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide.

Morning Pages

One of the creative exercises from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is called Morning Pages. What makes this practice unique is that you must write first thing in the morning using the stream of consciousness of not being fully awake. You should write down the first things that come to mind, without analyzing or filtering. The goal is to set aside logic, play, and see what arises. There is no wrong way to do it. As you write, you’re practicing self-acceptance and tapping into your intuition.

So, I started

As my training assignment, I had to write Morning Pages for 3 consecutive days. I haven’t journaled since high school but, I sure gave it a try. That was September 2022 and since then, I haven’t stopped. I’m hooked! I have a pile of journals sitting on my desk. On my first time, I wrote for an hour straight. It was a Saturday morning, and I was committed to doing my best, as always. Re-reading my first pages made me realize how much emotional processing I was doing back then. I had recently learned about inner child work and had started my healing process through those pages. It’s so interesting how the process works.

Benefits 

Julia claims that Morning Pages inspire greater clarity, creativity, and productivity. She says it helps you sift through negativity and connect with your inner truth. It provides space for you to connect with your authentic voice, including the fears and doubts that hold you back. Decreases stress and offers a sense of relief. Helps you be present with where you are now, where you want to be, and how you can get there. Well, I can testify to all those benefits. This morning ritual has given me “all of the above” over the past months. The best of all is that it only requires a bit of time, a pen and paper but, more importantly, an openness to and trust in the process.

How I Do It

I follow Julia’s Morning Pages script pretty well. With seldom exceptions, it has been the first thing I do every morning. Well, of course, I have to pee first and drink my water. During the colder months, I sit in my living room but my favorite place to write is my screen-in back porch. The place where I can feel the freshness of the morning, listen to the birds chirping, and catch the sunrise. I do it for 30 minutes and usually, it takes 3 pages of a book-size notebook. I’ve tried Julia’s recommendation of 3 pages front and back but, it took me one hour. So, I stuck to 30 minutes. 

Consistency

I have been consistent with this practice for almost 2 years now. Besides all the emotional healing that it has helped me with, my creativity finally showed up. I have never considered myself a creative person but now I can testify that all of us are creative. It’s just a matter of tuning in with yourself. It was while writing my morning pages that I designed my programs, wrote the intro and outro for my podcast, created a nature walk guided meditation, and had tons of ideas for social media posts, guests to interview and much more.

Guidance & Clarity

According to Julia, “Morning Pages help us happen to our day instead of having our day happen to us”. So true! Some days I write down things that I want to get done during the day and I find myself checking my journal later to get a reminder. The same happens with ideas. The pages move me towards action. The half-awake state of consciousness tunes me in with the divine, so I receive guidance in the form of intuition. My faith tells me this wisdom comes from a higher source because it is encouraging and has a kindly, gentle, and above all optimistic tone. The pages also allow me to untangle my thoughts and gain perspective on my experiences, giving me clarity.

Gratitude

One of the most powerful aspects of journaling is its ability to cultivate gratitude and positivity. I like to start my pages by thanking God for another day, for a beautiful morning, for the gorgeous nature around me, and so on. Then, I write down a summary of what I remember from my dreams. As I go on, different things come up, it might be feelings, emotions, or questions. But every time I find myself discouraged, the pages give me the affirmations I need to start my day with confidence. They are witnesses of my self-discovery and as I’m open to my inner life, my outer life shifts. 

Cultivating Gratitude

Each day before bed, I make it a point to jot down at least three things I’m grateful for, no matter how big or small. I started using a different journal for gratitude but after a few months, I merged it to my Morning Page’s notebook – I leave the bottom of my last page blank for gratitude every day. Having it together helps me review my plan for the day and be grateful for how it ended. This combined practice has helped me shift my focus from the place of lack to the abundance surrounding me, fostering a sense of appreciation and contentment that now permeates my being.

Meditation

Writing is a powerful form of prayer and meditation as it connects me with God and my consciousness. As I write, all my worries and anxieties fade away. The pages work as a safe container to express my innermost thoughts, feelings, and emotions without judgment or inhibition. Whether I’m dealing with challenging situations, celebrating moments of joy, or simply pondering life’s mysteries, it’s a place where I can safely vent. In the same way as meditation, they nudge me in the right direction. Allowing my thoughts to flow freely often reveals insights and problem-solving that were hidden beneath the surface.

Do You Feel Like Trying?

For real, I think everyone should try this meditative practice. It costs almost nothing, or better saying, lots of pens and lots of notebooks! But the big paradox is time because Morning Pages both take and give time. If you want to try, just find a quiet and comfortable place to go to every morning after waking up. Then, using the stream-of-consciousness technique, write down whatever comes to mind with no censoring, overthinking, or editing. Simply write in a free-flow fashion as there’s no wrong way. Challenge yourself to write for at least 30 minutes or three pages. 

A Journey of Self-Discovery

Ultimately, journaling is a journey of self-discovery, a quest to uncover the depths of your soul and embrace the fullness of who you are. Through my morning pages, I’ve created, reflected, confronted my fears, and celebrated my victories. Each page is a testament to my openness to expand, a record of the realizations that are constantly happening and improving who I am. Writing is how I start my sacred morning ritual, and it’s an important part of me now, which I don’t plan to give up anytime soon.

Whether you’re a journaling enthusiast or skeptical, I encourage you to try! Embrace the power of journaling as a tool for stress relief, emotional support, self-discovery, growth, and transformation. You will never know what this process can unfold if you don’t give it a try. A journal awaits, ready to accompany you on the adventure of a lifetime.

And remember, Good is what makes you feel well!

Anna.

Anna Resende

Anna Resende

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
Certified by IIN - Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Every week I send out my newsletter called Mamma’s Tips where I share health and wellness topics, good books, recipes, and more. 

Click below to subscribe!

I’m excited to share that I just published my first e-book

A Weekend of Feeling Great!

In this book, you’ll find all the steps you can take to feel great. Besides all the foundational principles of multidimensional health, it has a sample of a productive daily routine and a two-day menu with 10 healthy recipes for you to try.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more