This book could completely change your life…
What if you had a book from an author who knew you well…
Who understood your deepest desires…
Who saw clearly where you were coming from, and where you wanted to go…
And who could draw from all the best advice you’d ever received, to help direct you to fulfill your most ambitious dreams?
And what if that author’s advice was put into a book that was constantly updated, to help you meet today head-on, to help you overcome today’s challenges, and meet today’s goals?
Here’s a little secret — you know this author, and have their book!
The author is… YOU.
And the book is your journal.
Every day I’m growing more convinced of the power of this truth.
I haven’t always been an avid journaler.
In fact, for most of my life I haven’t kept a journal at all.
But in the last few years, I’ve grown much more focused on my health, happiness, and prosperity.
And that’s involved confronting some really deep stuff.
My own fears, doubts, and insecurities. My internalized shame and self-loathing.
Everything I hate about myself.
In order to learn to accept and embrace myself, and to love myself unconditionally.
And for the last couple years, part of that process has involved daily meditation. Sometimes in silence. Sometimes using guided meditation. Sometimes being completely distracted while the meditation timer runs.
That meditation has been fairly helpful.
I absolutely recommend it.
But I also realized that even with meditation and coaching, there was something missing.
It’s too easy for me to sit even reasonably-focused on my breath for 20 minutes and still completely avoid the dark thoughts stirring in the depths of my subconscious. And sometimes I’d put on guided meditations explicitly so I wouldn’t have to actually hear my own thoughts or deal with my emotions.
And so while that meditation allows me to feel superficially good about myself because “I’m a meditator — yay!” I’m still not dealing with the core issues that would really lead to breakthroughs.
I’ve been recognizing this shortcoming — and started looking for answers…
Have you ever done that?
You think, “I need something to fill X need in my life…” And then you let the universe come to you.
Well, that’s what I started doing around my recognition that meditation was useful, but not enough in itself.
Then, I started to notice something…
So many of these people who I respect… Who live lives that are happy, healthy, and prosperous… Who have become leaders in their lives and careers…
They mention keeping a journal.
Using it the same way you use meditation — including, for many, using it alongside or as meditation.
In fact, I think what really cemented the understanding was when I got Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations. When Aurelius was Roman Emperor, he was THE most powerful man in the Western world. And that book was written as his personal and private journal, to help himself deal with his internal struggles of managing that power while still trying to live a virtuous life. He didn’t even write it for anybody else to read. It was only after his death that this journal became one of the foundational texts of Stoic thought, and a guide for the rest of us to live better, more virtuous lives.
Back to YOUR journal…
Open your journal, and open yourself…
The simple act of putting pen to page can be enlightening. The key here is to accept what comes. From wherever it seems to come.
Maybe you’re tapping into your own mind…
Maybe you’re tapping into some bigger collective unconscious…
Maybe you’re opening yourself up to God, or infinite intelligence…
I don’t know the true source of what I write in my journal.
Whatever you believe, I can tell you this — there’s something there, if you open up to it.
If you’re processing some particularly tough event in your day or week, putting pen to page in your journal can help you deal with it.
If you’re struggling to conquer some deep negative emotion, letting it come out in your handwriting has tremendous power to help you confront it, and move through and past it.
If you’re trying to solve a problem at work (such as nailing down your angle for a big marketing campaign), just writing about it in a place that lets you be unsure of the answer is a powerful practice.
Or let’s say you want to create something in your life, such as a new career or business, or some other source or mark of prosperity. It’s a practice that’s worked over and over again to write down affirmations or declarations of what you want, to set the gears in motion that will eventually lead to the fulfillment of your goals.
I’ve started raising my expectations for what I get from writing in my journal. And every time I raise my expectations, I am met with just what I’m looking for. At this point, the biggest limitations I run into are more about what I’m willing to ask for, rather than what I am able to get.
Which is helping me to see…
Your journal is the self-help you need, at the exact moment you need it…
This is why I consider it to be the ultimate self-help book.
Somewhere deep inside you, you know the truth.
You know what you need to do.
If you’re honest with yourself, and you listen to that voice inside that has your best interests at heart, you have a sense of the best direction.
But most of us don’t listen to that voice.
We don’t open a space for it to speak.
We don’t reflect and really listen from that spot, for what the best course of action might be, or whatever it is we’re looking to get.
Especially not in difficult moments, when emotions are flooding us and we lose perspective.
But if we put our pen on the page and let that inner voice speak, we know the way. And often what we ask for is there waiting for us.
Is there a magic formula for effective journaling?
I don’t know. I still feel like a beginner on this path.
However I can tell you this.
It’s like going to the gym. Putting in the reps is what’s important.
I’ve started grabbing my journal every time I sit to meditate in the morning. I don’t always have an intention of what I’ll journal about. Instead, I sit down, with the page there, ready for whatever may come.
Sometimes it’s a plan for how to make today productive.
Sometimes it’s admitting that there’s something going on in my life that I’m struggling to deal with.
Sometimes it’s an affirmation that comes to me in a moment of silence — a vision of the future I want to create.
Whatever it is, I write it down.
And then I quiet my mind again, until that voice inside has something else to say.
Often, I’m surprised at the breakthroughs that come…
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
PS — Here’s my current favorite journal. I like that it’s spiral bound and can be folded back 360-degrees. I like that it’s small and very portable. I like that it’s dot-grid, which makes it flexible for what you put on the page, while maintaining structure. I like that you can flip it over to work from both back and front (I work from the front for daily to-dos, and from the back for free-form journaling.) I like its simplicity of branding and design. And I like the price! If you like it for all these reasons, great. Or, find a journal you like better, that will work for you and that will encourage you to use it.