I have been journaling since I was 7 years old. My first ever journal entry, dated January 3, 2004, goes,
"Dear Diary, Today Sarah brought her boots with her. Mrs. Bloom asked if she has cowgirl boots when we were reading a book called Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett."
As I've learned and grown, I've been fascinated to read my emergence into self-awareness through how I process and channel my emotions. In retrospect, I am witnessing myself break unconscious thought patterns. I become my highest self when I use my journal as a tool to reflect on experiences and relationships, as a ritual to still my mind and receive inner truths, and as an outlet to explore and build on new ideas and intentions.
1. To heal myself.
Journaling is more than a creative outlet. It's a lifeline. It's a growth catalyst, an accelerator. It's medicine.
Journaling has allowed me to address a wide range of emotions and self-regulate. It's helped me relax my autonomic nervous system, collect my thoughts, release attachment and expectations, and practice presence, surrendering to the stream of consciousness pouring out of my head. It's given me hope and reminded me of what I care about most.
2. It's a form of meditation.
Writing is an embodiment practice that slows down the overthinking mind. It's helped me live in the present, hone my intuition, and know myself by turning my mind inside out. It's helped me realize home is a state of being. It guides me through inner conflicts and assists me in cost-benefit analyses when I'm making important decisions. As I learn from my experience and write down the lessons, I build on my wisdom, hone my instincts, and strengthen my ability to trust my gut.
3. It's a self-care practice.
Written expression is an investment in myself. With the gift of solitude, I cultivate a more loving relationship with myself, which helps build a healthy self-identity and affects how I show up in my relationships. You're with yourself every second of the day, so why not be your own best friend?
Poetry, storytelling, lists, drawings, charts, collages, letters, gratitude, affirmations, and future self journaling have all added to the self-care practice.
4. To create my story.
I am continually writing and re-writing the story held in my body—that is how I shift to an expansive state. Storytelling, like breathwork and meditation, is an ongoing practice.
I glimpse who I am through my experiences, distilled in a moment in time through my writing. At the very least, I peek into my self-identity at an earlier stage of development.
I write to make myself known and to help others feel less alone. I write to remember and to help others access that familiar part within themselves.
5. To perform some manifestation magic.
Writing it into existence makes me more likely to achieve it. Journaling allows me to harness inner wisdom, integrate lessons, and build on ideas. It's a reminder that the journey is the destination. It's also a storehouse of brilliance, inspiration, and strength to draw upon later.
6. Because ideas outlive people.
Publishing your writing is like uploading thoughts into collective consciousness. They're now accessible to a massive sea of minds. There, they can be downloaded, decoded, assimilated, and accommodated with existing mental representations.
Your ideas outlive you only if you set them free into the world. Despite this, I only share if I believe it's something of quality and substance that can help others.
7. Spark change.
Humanity has been bestowed with this gift of exquisitely complex symbolic representation that allows us to rapidly and resourcefully implement changes across society via cultural transmission. Our capacity for symbolic representation is boundless.
Language allows us to help others understand our perspective. When they understand, they can act upon what they know.
8. To feel a sense of art.
I write for the satisfaction of internalizing knowledge, capturing a feeling, or articulating an idea accurately, precisely, and concisely in a way that makes new connections for myself and others. Great art comes out of searching for new ways to distill the uncontainable experience of being alive.
9. To express my soul truth.
By writing, I embody fluidity, detach from ideologies and words, care more about meanings, evolve my perspective continually, and release expectations and perfectionism. Writing for 18 years has helped me drop into my body, especially my heart, lungs, and gut, and stop living in my head so much.
10. It's empowering.
Writing gave me a voice very early on in my life and changed my life trajectory. It's been an exercise in speaking my truth that has rippled out to my everyday interactions and allowed me to connect in ways I never saw coming. I think my childhood self would be proud.
11. Because I feel a sense of responsibility.
I write because I choose to act on my awareness. You are responsible for choosing to use your Gifts, even when it's hard, or soft and formless and confusing and chaotic and nonexistent. Gifts are not gifts unless they are given. Until then, they're ideas, intentions.
12. To detangle my axons.
In one fell swoop, I reclaimed my sovereignty, figured out how I felt, chose my experience and realized I have a lot to give to the page, so long as I keep giving. If I devote prolonged swaths of care and attention towards lovingly articulating the contents of my mind, not only will I become a better writer, but I'll become a better thinker.
13. To feel the village.
Writing is ultimately a solitary endeavor but it is imbued with spirit. There's the spirit of this page right now, a soft blue glow emanating from the crevasse where all pages meet. The pinkish hue left by the light polarizing through the red lampshade. The cotton on my back, the indigo used to stain it brilliant blue, this skin that harbors tens of trillions of microbes. Perhaps writing isn't a solitary venture, after all.
My nervous system that communicates with my musculoskeletal system—the mechanoreceptors that allow me to hold this pen in my hand, hold my notebook open, to be aware of my posture and body position in this bed.
It's almost like there's an orchestra of voices within us, the energies of each individual cell integrating, creating a symphony of experience that lands as music between our ears. Imagine how rewarding it will be when your art can take someone else on a marvelous adventure. That is why I write.