Sunday, June 18, 2017

Six games to play with your journal

When you write in your journal, you are keeping a date with your Self. I'm giving "self" a big S because I'm talking about something bigger than the everyday mind, so often prone to distraction, or mixed-up agendas, so driven by routines and other people's requirements.

A date with the Self should be fun. Here are six everyday games to play with your journal:

1. Write Your Way Through

Whatever ails you of bugs you or blocks you, write about it. Getting it out is immediate therapy. If you keep your journal strictly private (which is essential, by the way) what you put down in these pages can be your everyday confessional, with the cleansing and release that can bring. It's funny how when you start by recording your woes, something else comes into play that brings you up instead of down and can actually restore your sense of humor.
   When you see and state things as they are, you already begin to change them. Keep your hand moving, and you may manifest the power to re-name and re-vision symptoms, challenges and difficult situations in the direction of resolution and healing.

2. Catch Your Dreams

Every time you remember a dream, record it. Date your entry and give the dream a title. By giving a name to a dream, you are recognizing that there's a story to be told, and you are now in process of becoming a storyteller. Also jot down your feelings around the dream; your first feelings on waking are the best guidance on what it is telling you.

3. Make a Book of Clues

The world is speaking to us through coincidence and chance encounters and symbolic pop-ups, giving us clues to the hidden logic of events. Once we start paying attention, we'll find that synchronicity is a fabulous source of navigational guidance. Write down in your journal anything unusual or unexpected that you notice during the day. Suggestion: note in your journal, what appears on the first vanity plate you spot each day..

4. Collect Pick-Me-Up Lines

No, I did not say "pick-up lines"! One of the things I treasure in my own journals, and in those of famous dead people that I read, is the collection of interesting and inspiring quotes that grows once we get into the habit of jotting down one-liners that catch our attention.
    The very best-one liners, of course, are ones you make up yourself. I make a practice of coming up with a personal “bumper sticker” – which may be what Mark Twain called a “snapper” and an “astonisher” – at the end of my dream reports. Others just bubble up from life, any day or any night. Recent entries include:

We must create meaning for our own lives.

You are most alive in the presence of your death.

Every day is a holiday when you do what you love.

5. Make Your Own Dictionary of Symbols

Your journal will become the best dictionary of symbols you will ever read. Most humans dream of snakes, or of being pursued, and this is part of our common humanity and our our connection with what Jung came to call the objective psyche. But the snake in your dreams is not necessarily the snake in my dreams, and what is pursuing you in the dreamspace may be very different from what is chasing me.
   As we journal dreams and symbolic pop-ups in the world,we'll notice that the symbols that appear to us take us beyond what we ordinarily know, and that they are never still, but constantly evolving. Thus the wild animal that scared you in one dream may become your ally when you brave up in a later dream. Or what seemed to be your childhood home turns out to have many more levels than you remember, opening a sense of expanding life possibilities.

6. Write until you're a writer

Sit down with your journal every day and keep your hand moving, and before you think about it, you'll find you have become a writer. Whether the world knows that, or whether you choose to share your writing with the world is secondary. You are writing for your Self, and without fear of the consequences. You are giving your writing muscles a workout, and you'll find that tones up your whole system.

Write in your journal every day, and you will eventually find that this is the most important book you will ever read. Make sure it is a secret book. Nobody should be allowed to read it without your explicit permission. As you keep your secret book, you'll discover more, and more will discover you. There are deeper games you'll now be able to play. You'll find yourself straying off the tame and settled territory of the everyday mind, into the wilder borders of imagination, where the Big story of your life can find you.

For more on the art of creative journaling, and deeper games to play, please read chapter 4, "Keeping Your Books of Night and Day" in my book Active Dreaming 

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