One recent Sunday morning I woke early and, creeping downstairs to my studio, decided to use the time to clean out some email from my Sent box since the number had climbed into the thousands.
As I read through emails I’d sent from as far back as 2009, I deleted some and saved others. I realized that in many ways what I had on the screen was a form of a journal. In those emails, I documented positive moments like starting my coaching business, hosting a three-week teleseminar, working with clients, scheduling speaking engagements with destination spas like the Lodge at Woodloch, agreeing to be a dream consultant for PEOPLE Magazine’s Country Edition, developing new friendships and business partnerships, traveling to Italy with Bob, becoming a grandmother and much more. Other emails marked challenges and grief, like breaking my leg and grieving the stillbirth of a grandson.
All these events and changes may not be written down in a leather-bound book, but they are dated and recorded, even if digitally. Each of those events and responses are another thread woven into the fabric of my life, each thread, light and dark, adding to the strength and color.
Each thread marks a change, and that is one of the best reasons for keeping a journal of some kind, for marking the changes, for discerning patterns, and like a tarot reading, for using the past to gain new perspectives on the present in order to make informed decisions for the future.
I’ve kept journals of many kinds, including the morning pages recommended by Julia Cameron. But the more involved I became in writing for my weekly newsletter, blog and books, the less desire I had to journal.
Recently, I considered keeping a bullet journal, a list-making, cross-referencing type of journal. I watched videos on it and I really thought it would be fun to keep that kind of journal with all the play of using gel pens and stickers and other crafty elements in the process. But then, when I actually sat down to set one up, I sensed that for right now, in a short time, I would abandon it.
So, my newsletter and my email correspondence will continue to be my journal.
There are many journal options out there depending on your personality and lifestyle. Blogging started out as a type of online journal. Now there are all the ways of recording your life with apps like Instagram and Facebook Live. And there is, of course, a variety of journal software.
Whatever the format, a journal is a valuable tool for understanding your life and your response to it.
How are you keeping yours?