Y’all, I get BIG feelings, a LOT of feelings, and I get them OFTEN. Before I had tools and skills to support myself in making sense of my moody spells, I used to feel such urgency in “getting rid” of the emotional distress that I would just turn to and dump on whoever I had access to - which was typically my sister or my best friend - and they have such big hearts that they’d hold space for me and my distress every single time but I noticed that I began to feel a dependency on them “to make me feel better.” I eventually learned it also wasn’t fair for me to go to them for all my emotional distress - our family members and besties are not our therapists and it’s not fair to expect them to provide all that emotional labor (for free) on demand just because they love us. And yes, I still seek support from my loved ones every now and then but with an awareness and respect for their capacity, space, time, and boundaries. And I definitely work with my own healer to receive that guidance and emotional support for the more difficult experiences I’m going through. However, journaling is where I turn to for most of my emotional self-support.
Journaling was actually the avenue through which my faith and spiritual practices grew and deepened. Developing my faith and growing into my spirituality wasn’t an easy journey either. There aren’t any people within my family who I could look up to with examples of authentic resonant spiritual practices or faith. I never knew how to pray - I was only taught rote memorization of Catholic prayers that did nothing for my spirit. No one in my family ever prayed either - out loud at least. I didn’t know how to pray because I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted. I was disconnected from my soul essence. I was deeply wounded and didn’t know, understand, or feel faith. I didn’t have a real personal relationship WITH God/Spirit/Creator. I didn’t know how to develop a relationship with Them.
It is through my journaling practice that I’ve gotten to intimately know myself, be real and raw AF, loving, forgiving, and compassionate with myself. And it’s through journaling that I learned how to pray - like those deep heartfelt prayers that come from the soul - it’s how I got to meet and discover the voice of my soul. Journaling is where I developed my relationship to Spirit. And it’s through my written conversations with Spirit in my journaling practice that I found the clarity, strength, power, and purpose in my voice.
Talking or praying out loud to Spirit felt and sounded funny to me at first. I wasn’t sure if they could actually hear me and I wasn’t exactly sure what to say to Them. So it felt more comfortable and natural to me to just write letters to Spirit. I’d start by telling Them what was heavy on my heart and spirit in that moment. I’d ask Them all the questions I wished I had answers for. I’d unload my fears to Them. And I’d also share my hopes with Them. I’d ask for what I needed, desired, and wanted. I’d ask for forgiveness. I’d also share what I’m appreciative for (feel free to use these as journal prompts, too!). I found that the more I practiced writing to Spirit, the clearer I got at hearing and receiving Spirit’s response, love, affirmations, and guidance. And the closer I got to Spirit the deeper I got to know who I am, why I’m here, what I need, want, desire, and what I’m truly grateful for.
I use my journaling practice as a way to practice presence - a writing meditation on my emotions. If I notice I’m in a funky mood, don’t “feel like myself” or notice I’ve been triggered, or I’m struggling with heavy uncomfortable emotions - I will turn to my journal rather than distract myself with another activity. I’ll opt for a written conversation either with Spirit or just talk to myself through writing. Oftentimes just emotionally dumping and venting onto paper brings me immediate relief and even some clarity.
If developing a journaling practice is something you desire then my suggestion is to be patient, compassionate, and forgiving with yourself as you start or continue your journaling practice. It takes time and patience to build physical stamina in your hands/body and mental/emotional stamina to collect and verbalize your thoughts and spiritual stamina to feel and face the tough and painful shit that often comes up to be processed and released when we sit down to journal. But the more you stick to your journaling practice, it feels so rewarding and awe-inspiring to see your healing, your processing, your growth, and journey over the days, weeks, months, and years. It’s hella cute to read where you were a year ago this time - it’s a time capsule of your healing.
Below is a list of concrete things I’ve found keeps me excited and motivated to journal and I share them with you with the hope that you might be inspired to give them a try yourself <3
Invest in a cute, beautiful fancy journal that appeals to you
Invest in some colorful pens that bring you joy - I like the felt tip papermate pens in all the fun colors. I might get some gel pens next time hehe :P
Put on some chill music - I like emo music that matches my mood because it brings my feels up to the surface so I can better access them and speak/write about them
Find a comfy, cozy place where you can be alone with Spirit and your emotions that surface
You might like writing on a table or desk while you’re sitting, on your bed, on the floor on a yoga mat, or standing on a wall, or outdoors in a garden - pay attention to where is the most conducive environment to connect with yourself and Spirit
I journal as if I’m writing an actual letter to Spirit with an opening “Dear Spirit,” and closing “Love, Chaski <3” - oh! And sometimes I’m specifically writing to my Whole & Healed Ancestors or directly to my Spirit Guides - feel into who you’d like to connect with more intentionally
I also always write the date and/or any significant astrological date at the time to see if any themes and patterns tend to arise during New/Full moons, eclipses, retrogrades, etc.
Have snacks and yummy beverages handy - take breaks as you write to munch and hydrate
Take body breaks to stretch, move your body into different positions to increase circulation, stretch, shake and give your hands and fingers a break, too!
Those are all the suggestions that come to mind for now but if more arise as I continue my journaling practice then I’ll definitely update this blog entry!
~Happy journaling, writing, venting, emotional dumping, praying, and soulful self-expression~