It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted about journaling so I thought I’d touch base on it again….

Did any of you try out my last Journaling Prompts? (If you haven’t seen them, you’ll find them at the end of my previous journaling post.) If so, did you learn anything about yourself?

For myself, I find that journaling is currently pretty sporadic – sort of like this blog is right now – and yet, when I take the time, I find it incredibly helpful. I can untangle the truth from the garbage and begin to find the points of growth inside my mess…

As an example, last week I was processing through how I *really* felt about my photography. (That’s my other passion…) I am at a crossroads right now – or even slightly past it – figuring out how to shift from portraits to fine art. And many of my the issues I had processed through at the start of portrait photography are coming up again at a deeper level and they can get so tangled and messy.

So I started journaling about it. Because I wasn’t seeing things clearly – I was smack dab right in the middle of my “crazy” about how to do things. First, I started off by listing what my mental chatter was after seeing another local photographers photo of an amazing sunset – the same sunset I had shot and posted on Facebook the night before. My brain was trying to convince me:

  • His photo is SO much better than mine
  • I should have taken longer to edit it and not put it up so quickly
  • I will never be able to compete with him
  • I should have posted a moonrise photo that I took that night instead since it was so different
  • People like his photo so much more! Look at how many likes he’s gotten and it’s barely been online for more than a few hours!


So much garbage!

So, what to do about it? Turn it all around! Really poke the stick into each one of those thoughts. Prod them. Turn them over and over until the real truths come out….

To do this, I started with the statement above that stood out to me the most:

  • I will never be able to compete with him!

And here is how I pulled and teased it out:

  • Is this true? No! There is no need to compete!
  • I don’t WANT to compete.
  • I don’t even want our photos to be similar in the long run. Why? Because I feel as though I’m mimicking his style instead of really feeling into my own style.
  • What *is* my style? Hmmm….

And that started the flow going… I then started to tap into more questions:

  • Can I tap into my higher self/guides/the universe/whatever to ask for help and guidance?
  • What is REALLY bothering me?
  • Oh. I have a belief that Facebook likes = people will buy my photography = people love me more
  • Is that actually true? No.

And then the real question came through:

Who am I? What do I want to express through my photos? How can I get there? How can I find my voice within this?

And there it was. The real, open, honest question. And how did it manifest itself through my garbage? By making someone else better than me, more loved than me and me stuck never to be any better.

I’m still there at that last big thought, trying to figure out who I am and what I want to express, still trying to work it out, but now I have direction. Now I can figure out some concrete things to do to work toward my goal instead of wallowing in my sadness. But I couldn’t have gotten there from just letting it rattle around in my brain.

Too often, when we let our mind rattle around on something we are unhappy about, it just gathers more garbage. But if we can ask ourselves a few key questions, dig into things a little more and allow our preconceived ideas to unravel on paper (or on the computer), we can start to see some little bits of light shining through. We see what the underlying issue REALLY is.

And until we see that underlying issue, we can’t really figure out our next step. Because our next steps are being determined by the first bit of junk I puked up. Not by the nugget of light that I found at the end. I was trying to make what I had look prettier instead of finding something inside me that hadn’t been shown yet. And you can’t make garbage look good.

So…. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it is this:

Get your journal. Or a piece of paper. Or your computer.

In short, concise sentences, write (type) out what you’ve got rambling through your head. Concise is critical! You want to get it out, not roll in the mud with it!

Let them sit there after you get them out. Look at them, poke them with your eyes and your pen and your fingers. Don’t worry about getting dirty or upset. We’re unravelling our past and it can be uncomfortable.

Which of these statements pops out as your biggest sticking point? The one you most want to avoid? Yeah… that one.

Grab that one and ask it some questions:

  • Is it true? Like really, truly, deep at the heart of it fully true. (And if you answer YES and you can’t get further – step away! Even if it’s still yes, there should be more there.)
  • Can I do this/look at this a different way? Has anyone else ever been able to get past this? Or looked at it in a different way? Ever?
  • Is this something you really want, but believe you can’t have it?
    • If no, then skip these prompts
    • Close your eyes and imagine having it. Really imagine. How does it FEEL?
    • Write this down. Really feel having it in your bones.
    • What if it’s something that you can never have? How does this feel?
    • Write this down. Really grieve not getting it.
  • Or is it something you don’t want, but are feeling forced to deal with it?
    • If no, skip these prompts
    • Close your eyes and imagine dealing with it. Really deeply. What would it take to accept it on a soul level?
    • This lack of acceptance is can help you feel miserable
    • Write down your thoughts
  • How does this really make me feel? After working it through, how do I feel about it?
  • Keep asking each statement – is this true? Is it really true?
  • What do I really want? What is really bothering me?
  • Write down any additional thoughts that come up

And when you’re all done, ask yourself one last question:

  • What did I learn about myself from all of this?

Be patient, go slowly, allow it to unfold. It’s your journal. Maybe it takes 30 minutes. Maybe it takes 3 days because you need to step away. But don’t walk away completely. You want to make sure you really pull it apart and get brutally honest with yourself.

You can do it!

So…. did you do it? I would love to have you share your thoughts! Did you find these prompts/this exercise helpful? Did my example help you understand it more? Let me know! Share with me your thoughts here or on Facebook