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This is a must have book for anyone who journals or is thinking about journaling. Exercises and prompts galore!
This inspirational guidebook offers simple tips for preserving precious memories, tracking themes and deep truths, and dialoging with questions that refuse to go away. This is the first book for journal keepers yearning to take the next step in thier exploration and harvesting of compiled journals.
Introduction of Harvesting Your Journals
Have you ever asked yourself if keeping a journal is worth the time and effort it takes? Do you feel an urge to reread your journals, but at a loss about how to begin or what to do with the material you’ve dug up? Have your tried re-reading old journals, only to give up for one reason or another? Would you like to gain fresh insights into yourself? Do you seek inspiration for new creative work? If any of these concerns have crossed your mind in recent months, it may well be time to harvest your journals!
This book is designed to help you each step of the way. As such, it contains some unusual ingredients. You will find for example, a plentitude of writing exercises—marked by stalks of ripened wheat—to help you discover more about yourself and your life while working with your journals. You will also come across selected journal entries we unearthed, as well as writing we did based on these entries and on the exercises. Along the way you will find dialogues as well, to illustrate the processing you may undergo, both internally and externally.
To counteract the “Oh no’s you will undoubtedly experience, here are nine remedies, each of which has proved effective.
Antidote # 1: Remember Your Purpose
Antidote # 2: Expect An “Oh No” Experience And Persevere
Antidote #3 Be Gentle With Yourself
Antidote #4: Trust The Process
Antidote #5: Look For The Bigger Picture
Antidote Number 6: Persist
Antidote #7: Play What’s Good About It?”
Antidote #8: Collect The Thoughts Of Other Writers As Reminders That You’re Not Alone
Antidote # 9: Get Support From Your Harvesting
Harvesting is essentially a dialogue with yourself. Rather than picking up fully ripened fruits and placing them in your basket, you are interacting with the material you find. Converting these interactions into written dialogues is a retrieval and discovery tool you can use with almost anything you’ve written about—another person, an event, even a dream.
Here Rosalie dialogues with her writing muse as she begins assembling her themes.
Rosalie: I have so many stories in my heart and psychic womb.
Muse: Indeed, you have. Why wait? Begin.
Rosalie I am—by conversing with you. I value your voice, your guidance, and your light.
Muse: And don’t forget my darkness. I carry that medicine, too.
Rosalie: It’s a deal. So will you help me begin?
Muse: Of course, Begin with love—times when you were in love, with love, inviting love. Also write about times when love seemed missing and when love was returned, betrayed, unacknowledged. You know that love honors the sacredness of the soul; you have written about those times in your abbreviated way. Now let’s hear the roar of all you know. Trust me to fill in the pauses. I promise to gift you with dreams, visit with you, and guide you to even ore love experiences.
Rosalie: I am ready.
Muse: Remember to be with love. Write in love.
Try This: If while in the process of rereading your journals, you encounter a person with whom you have “unfinished business,” bring the individual into your awareness and talk with them. First, take a breath; empty your mind of thoughts, especially notions about how right you are, and calm your emotions. Then tell the person how you feel now and listen compassionately for their response. Ask questions and listen for their answers. Let the dialogue bounce back and forth between the two of you until you feel finished with it. Before saying good-bye, thank the person for the part they played in your life and tell them what you’ve learned from having know them.
Techniques To Use With One Journal
Who was I before and who am I now? Which of my struggles and aspirations remain the same and which ones have I outgrown? Where might I be tomorrow? These are some of the quandaries that surface for journal keepers fresh in from the fields, their baskets filled with gleanings. Sorting through and synthesizing the delicacies you have retrieved, and then, naming them can therefore save you considerable confusion. Not only are you apt to feel more in control of your newly picked crops, but also they will be more likely to deliver an abundant yield.
Unfinished sentences can help you reflect on and synthesize what you’ve harvested. Browse through the prompts below and mark those that attract you, or make up your own. Pick one to begin with. Put it at the top of a blank page in your harvesting journal, label it “Harvesting /my Journal from (month day, year) to (month, day, year,” and start writing! As always, keep your hand moving to se what comes next. You may write only one line or, if the words start pouring out, many ages. When you run dry, try another prompt. Remember, this exercise is designed to prime the pump, not guide the flow!
Complete these sentences:
What I remember most about this journal is
I am surprised at how often I wrote about
I wonder why I didn’t write more about
If I could live this period of my life over again, I would
My greatest grief was
My greatest joy was
I have compassion for
Now I see
I am thankful