I’ve kept a journal at several key times in my life, but never really threw myself into it until 1998, when I read The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. If you’ve never read the book, well, you should. I don’t want to go into my "frimmin‘" superlatives here, but The Artist’s Way is a book that truly changed my life. It’s largely a workbook, filled with exercises to do. Unlike other spiritual self-improvement workbooks,such as Brezhny’s Pronoia, these exercises aren’t meant to entertain you by reading about them… they are really meant to be done, and the more of them you do, the more you will discover about yourself and the more you open up to Isness.
The primary exercise of The Artists’s Way is journaling, specifically a style of journaling Cameron calls "morning pages," writing out exactly three pages by hand, at the very beginning of the day, keeping the pen moving… no censorship, no editing, no revision, no effort to record the previous day’s events. The only goals were complete honesty and stream-of-consciousness itself. Morning pages is essentially letting your soul "take a dump" just as your body does.
As for the other exercises, a group of friends and I regularly met to discuss them and do them. More often than not, though, I was the only one who did them, and (surprise!) I was the one who benefited most. The effects were tremendous. Really, the me of of
2007 is pretty different from the me of 1998. The Artist’s Way had a part to play in that.
After a year or so, I began doing the morning pages less faithfully, and although I still journaled sporadically, when I started blogging, my private journaling virtually came to a standstill.
One of the reasons why I’ve been blogging less, is that I’ve started journaling again. My style of journaling now isn’t morning pages, per se, but it is just as uncensored and spontaneous. What I do now is carry my oh-so-trendy little Moleskine notebook with me almost everywhere I go. When waiting for someone or something, I have time to write a little. After a meal, I often have time to write a page or so. (Moleskine pages are pretty small). Sometimes I’ll make several little entries in a day. Other times, I’ll go several days between entries.
Is it dangerous to keep my most private thoughts and feelings in a concrete form where they could easily be read by others? Not really. Since I started journaling again, it’s been in Esperanto!