Deb Chaney pictured here in her studio with all her years of journals behind her.
When I was in my 20’s my boyfriend’s aunt gave me a copy of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. It was an odd gift at the time because I was working on an undergraduate degree in Earth and Ocean Sciences; taking courses in math, physics, geology, biology and so on. I did not consider myself an artist whatsoever. I guess she saw something in me I did not even know about myself then.God Bless her.
I read The Artist’s Way through and started my journal practice of writing morning pages. Journalling those freestyle morning pages got me expressing and creating and thinking about new possibilities. In words, writings, and sketches, I started imagining the life I live now: being a professional artist with my own studio. A far cry from working as an environmental geologist!
It’s amazing the power of journal writing and the power we have to create our dreams.
Twenty years later and now with over forty hand-written journal volumes (see picture above) I also honor the importance of switching things up and taking different approaches in journal writing to give myself fresh perspective and new insights I may not have gleaned by keeping to the same old freestyle method of writing.
Inspired to change my approach to journal writing this year, I googled ‘new approaches to journalling’ and was sadly disappointed with the results. Hence, I sat down and created my own list, and am now sharing it for you here.
Here’s to our self evolution through journalling and taking new approaches in this new year…
- Write through the eyes of your child self. The power of this exersice cannot be understated, as so much of our outlashing and regrettable behavior stems from unresolved childhood issues. If we just took the time to re-connect with our inner child, honor their feelings, hold space and love them, I believe whole heartedly we would be much happier and calmer adults in this world.
” I really miss my teddy bear ‘Baba’. He went for a tea party with my neighbourhood friends last night and he never came home. I wish you would get me a new teddy bear to cuddle. Don’t you remember how fun it was to put little doll sweaters on him? I want to do this again. Maybe we can go to the mall Saturday with Ruthie… I’m feeling really sad about not having a bear to cuddle.”
- Write through the eyes of Self-Kindness. We all could learn to be a lot more kind to ourselves. I believe if we really cultivated self kindness in ourselves, as a result we’d be kinder to others, and the world would be so much a sweeter place to live. As per achieving world peace, it all starts within, so let’s start here in our journals…
“Dear Deb, I am just so happy with you. You have made so many great choices in your life lately that show how much you care and love yourself. Way to get up early and do your home yoga practice this morning. I know it wasn’t easy, especially being so cold lately, but you did it and reaped the benefits of feeling so good, so strong, and so vibrant all day from that. I want to honor you for that. Know that you are loved and cherished Deb. I see the good and sweetness in you, and stand by this, always.”
- Write to really get present in the here and now. Start with a deep breathe and place your hand on your heart, centre yourself. Then write based on what you see, hear, feel, smell, notice, think, taste in the moment here and now.
“I am noticing the sound of my breathe. I can hear myself typing these words. I can hear my daughter in her room moving around a lot. It makes me wonder if she is tidying up which would be a little miracle. I am noticing myself smirking at my own joke. I am noticing the delight I am feeling in my chest, a lightness. I can smell the lingering of the french fries we baked earlier after coming back from the pool. I could hear her humming as we hung out our bathing suits and the musical sound is pleasant. I feel happy creating this blog and sharing my inspiration with others. I see my room, I feel my warm covers and the pillow on my lap, I see my favourite Michelle Y. Williams painting on the wall next to me, my robe hanging off the door. I can taste the mint of toothpaste in my mouth…”
- Write about what is going well for you, now, in your life. We often journal about our life challenges and struggles. Writing can be great way to work through them, for sure. However, let’s take a new approach now and shine some light and energy on what’s going well for us. For those of us who study Abraham-Hick’s work, we know where attention goes, energy flows. Let’s amplify the good in our lives this year!
“Deb enjoyed a beautiful evening of connection with her 13 year old daughter going to the library and the pool together. Deb has been consistently, joyfully, creating new artwork and uploading their images to her online gallery at SaatchiArt.com. Deb is selling prints and originals of her artwork on a regular basis worldwide. Deb had an original art piece rented on a TV Commercial in LA last year! Deb has been meeting new connections this year to take her dream and her art business to the next level. Deb is really enjoying living in her passion and inspiring others in the process. She is exersicing regularly and enjoying getting into her body with running, dancing, yoga and hiking. Deb is feeling huge gratitude and really enjoying the love, support, and connection with her close women friends.”
- Writing by design: Creative Imagining our ideal future life. I love this journal exersice ! Basically this is carte blanche invitation to create your ideal dream life by your own writing and imaginative design. It can work really well with a time line, such as 5 years into the future. Let my example inspire you, set no limitations, if we shoot for the stars then perhaps we’ll land on the moon!
“The year is January 2020. I wake up with tingles of excitment in my toes. Its early and I can hear birds chirping as I get a glass of water and walk to the little yoga room I have with warm wood floors, ready for my home practice. I click on the stereo to play some gentle yet inspirational music and begin my practice. I am as strong, lean, fit and flexible as I was in high school. I am 135 lbs and loving my body. Its a joy to move. Later in the morning after savasanah and breakfast, I head out, walking paste my beautiful home grown vegetable garden, then walking through the forest trails, to my art studio. Its of my particular design, surrounded by nature, about a kilometre away from our main home. My golden retriever dog accompanies me and I can see our horses eating in the pasture in the distance. I inhale the fresh pine air and open my studio door with excitment because… today Taylor Swift is stopping by to choose an original art piece for herself! I can’t wait to meet her …”
Truth be told, I actually brainstormed about 30+ new approaches to journal writing, scrawled out in my journal, before typing out this blog. However, something I often write ahead in my journals to remind me is:
“Know When To Stop”
So, I’m going to leave you with these 5 juicy examples and trust they will get your writing inspired with a fresh new perspective for 2017. Happy New Year with love, Deb.