A. Catherine Noon here, on a lazy Sunday afternoon in my part of the world. The sun is out, though it’s cold, and the animals are napping.
Sunday, for many folks, is a day for contemplation – whether that be in a church or other place of worship. For others, it’s Saturday. Many, many spiritual traditions call for a weekly pause, a regular opportunity to catch one’s breath and simply be. In addition, it’s advised to take a portion of each day for reflection.
That can be hard for many of us, because our minds are going a mile-a-minute and we have many responsibilities, both at home and in our work, whether that work is at a traditional job or home- and child-caring. Point is, we’re busy. So adding yet another obligation into that mix can feel like the straw that broke the camel’s back.
But hear me out here. I’ve been journaling for a long time now, and what I’ve found is interesting. On the days I scribble something, I feel calmer. On the days I don’t, I’m more scattered. It really is that simple.
Why? What do I write about?
Literally, anything. I put lists in there. All the ancillary crap that’s running around in my head. Thoughts for the future. Thoughts of the past. Petty worries. In fact, the pettier the journaling is for the day, the calmer I feel when I go about my daily round. It’s important not to get too overblown in our efforts. Don’t try to be profound, and don’t try to write. Just put stuff on the page, and keep the pen moving for three pages. Why three? Julia Cameron teaches in her Artist’s Way courses to do three Morning Pages every day, so first it was because of that. I keep it up because it works. A strange alchemy happens by doing that much – it’s “enough.” I saw Ms. Cameron speak, and an audience member asked her why the three, not five or more. “Because it works. It’s just enough, and not too much.”
So if you’re having trouble meditating, why not give journaling a try? Pro-tip – don’t use a pretty book for this project, because it makes us want to put “pretty” thoughts in it. Use a regular old notebook or sketchbook. And just write something. Don’t read it, and don’t allow anyone else to. These are private, for yourself alone. Just practice it for a week and see how you feel at the end. You might be surprised.
What about you, Dear Reader? What ways do you like to relax?
– E.E. Cummings
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