don't believe everything you think
words to live by: colors of the wind

guest post: journaling to stay present

  Journaling  ()

Today's post was written by Mari L. McCarthy, The Journaling Therapy Specialist, and founder of Journaling for the Health of It™.  Please visit Mari's blog at Create Write Now.


Exactly how present are you? Do you even have any idea how to answer that question? I suggest that if you spend a lot of your time wishing you were somewhere else, or if you have trouble focusing on anything, you're not very present.

The ideal is to be primarily conscious of Now, to be in the Present, so that clarity of mind will lead to beneficial decision-making. If you are bogged down in regret for the past or worried about the future, you miss the present moment and are likely to make poor decisions.

How can journal writing help you become more attuned to the present? Three major ways that I'd like to point out are:


1.  Clearing out the burden of history. We all carry tons of history, much of it negative, from our impressionable childhoods, the experiences of our parents, and our own shocks and disappointments in life. If we never examine that history, its influence remains strong just under the surface of our days. By recounting the past in a journal, we can get a better grip on its meaning and develop better ways of coping in the present.


2.  Sharpening skills of observation. Because our minds are pre-occupied most of the time with all the thousands of details of life, we tend to look at the present moment through the filter of many thoughts, blurring the picture. Journal writing is like applying a magnifying glass that clarifies the world around you. It clears the mind and prompts us to notice details. We begin to experience life more awarely, less absentmindedly.


3.  Making way for the ineffable. This is a bit complex, so please bear with me. When you journal, you examine your life and experiences. You can see more clearly how things hang together, and you can pinpoint the places where things fall apart. You can see the big picture and understand more. The result? You can begin to be more accepting, more open to possibilities, more respectful of mysteries. Instead of grasping for control, you can begin to learn to how to sustain balance. Your respect increases both for what you know and for what you don't know.


Do you wish to be more present in your own life, more tuned in to the Now and less pre-occupied with your regrets and your worries? By journaling regularly, you can align your thought patterns in a more orderly fashion, so that you deal efficiently with your inner critics, not allowing them to dominate your every waking moment.


This post was written by Mari L. McCarthy. founder of Journaling for the Health of It™. Learn more about Mari and get insights on journaling by visiting Mari's blog Create Write Now. Also check out Mari's book, Who Are You? How to Use Journaling Therapy to Know and Grow Your Life, in which Mari presents a gentle process for self discovery through journaling. And her latest book, Your Money Matters! Use Journal Writing Therapy to Get Financially Fit Now, will help you if your life is in need of some financial fitness.


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Thanks Dani for hosting me. Awesome site!

Mari - You're welcome! Thanks for sharing this great guest post on journaling!

Dani, Thanks so much for hosting/posting Mari's terrific take on Staying Present.
I love this post featuring the list of benefits and steps for using our journals to clear out the clutter and make way for newness of right now.
I love what you say here: "You can see more clearly how things hang together, and you can pinpoint the places where things fall apart." and here, "Instead of grasping for control, you can begin to learn to how to sustain balance."

We can all learn something about maintaining balance with our journals!

I have chosen your post, Journaling to Stay Present, for the #JournalChat Pick of the Day on 9/16/11 for all things journaling on Twitter. I will post a link on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, my blog and website Refresh with Dawn Herring, and in Refresh Journal:

Dawn - You're welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing it online!

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