(Posted on December 20, 2016)

journaling_journey_dark2I jumped right on the journaling bandwagon a few years ago. It is good for you, they said. You will love it, they said. You will feel so much better after you write, they said. This will be perfect for me, I thought!

I had been given a gift card to a local book store and this would be the perfect purchase!! I ran off to said local store, bought myself a nice hot tea and proceeded to carefully examine all of the beautiful journals available to me. Oh my!! The possibilities were endless!! Plain ones, fancy ones, inspiring ones, funny ones, cute ones, leather ones, fabric ones, and the list goes on. I was overwhelmed. More tea required! I settled on a journal with no text on the front….I didn’t want to be distracted as I wrote in it, after all. The words needed to come from me. It was purple and had a slightly velvety feel to it. Why purple, you ask? No idea. I’m not usually a purple person, but it spoke to me, so I listened. I was enamoured by the feel beneath my fingers. That must be a good sign, I thought. I can feel it when I write and will enjoy the experience all the more. Perfect, decision made. Off to the pen section.

I had read that journaling could include doodling and colour, so I needed to stock up on fancy colours. I indulged in markers in a rainbow of colours!! So exciting! Then I saw them. The glittery gel pens. WOW!! Surely I needed these to enhance my journaling experience. In the basket they went, beside the markers and purple journal. Black pens in a variety of thickness were next. Perfect. I was set.  I briefly glanced at the lap desks with cup holders and lights, thinking that it would be nice to journal in bed each evening, while burning an aromatherapy candle, but thought that I would wait until I received another gift card before purchasing that one. I stored the thought in my mind for later. I did, however, buy the aromatherapy candle…..just in case I needed to be more relaxed to help the words flow.

Clearly I needed something to keep these new purchases in, so my children wouldn’t find them and steal my gel pens!! Wouldn’t be the first time. A friend had a home party selling bags, and there I found the perfect journaling bag. Black and white stripped, multiple pen holders, and plenty of space for the journal and markers. I could even get my name monogrammed on the front if I wanted to. OF COURSE I wanted to!! That way it would be very clear whose gel pens and markers there were. Great idea. I would have to hold off on my journaling start date until the bag was delivered. No problem. This would give me time to think of things to write.

The bag arrived. I spent quality time listening to soft music and burning my aromatherapy candle while I packed my bag. I felt like I was going off to school the next day, it brought back all of the great memories of sharpening pencil crayons and labelling my notebooks in elementary school. I was really going to enjoy this journaling thing!!

And that’s where the journey ended for a few years. The bag was packed and ready, but the words didn’t come. Oh well, at least I had cool gel pens.

Fast forward to the Central Family Forum this year. I had the privilege to attend a session on journaling. We were handed a plain brown Kraft paper journal. Bah, I said, this is nowhere near as pretty as my purple velvety one in the bag with my name on it at home. We were instructed in many different ways to journal. It was reinforced that we should just write. Spelling doesn’t matter, grammar doesn’t matter. No one will read it. Just write. And I did. A lot. The words just kept coming out of the plain blue pen onto the plain paper. I doodled with the same blue pen. No gel pens, no markers. Just a blue pen. And it was awesome. I did feel good. I did love it, and I did feel much better after writing.

The learnings in all of this were huge for me. Clearly I love to shop. That I already knew. I love being “all set” for something, but sometimes that isn’t what is needed. Stuff doesn’t make you open to receive new ideas. Opening your heart and mind does. You don’t need fancy gel pens and velvety journals to empty your brain when it feels so full it will overflow. Just grab a piece of paper and a pen or even *gasp*, a pencil and let it out. You, amazingly, will feel lighter when you are finished. You don’t even have to keep the paper. Rip it up and recycle it if you want. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you let it out. Just open your mind and begin. I guarantee that you will be amazed, as I was.

My purple velvety journal is ready and waiting in the bag, but the plain brown journal is the one I am filling up first. Feeling lighter each day.

Kelley Thompson