Morning has broken
Like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken
Like the first bird.
Praise for the singing!
Praise for the morning!
Praise for them, springing
From the first Word.
“A Morning Song,” in The Children’s Bells
Our spiritual and writing practice may include visits to sacred sights or time away on retreat. However, we need practices that can be used in our everyday life. We can’t rely on “special occasions and places” to fulfill our spiritual or creative intentions. We want to be able to make sacred pilgrimages within our hearts and minds, and within the context of our daily life.
One of the best tools to keep a spiritual and writing practice active in our daily life is to journal. Ideally, we have two journals: a pocket notebook that we take everywhere, and a larger journal left at home. I recommend that you hand write into a journal as a regular writing practice. There is evidence that hand writing activates the “whole brain.”
Writing, above all, is seeing clearly. Peter Mathiessen, Letters from the Wild
Consider your journal as one of your outer temples, a place where you can explore, record and write first drafts. Spiritual journaling is a universal means to access our Inner Teacher and a means to give ourself personal spiritual insights without the direct guidance of a group or teacher. You can create your own writing prompts, use the prompts and meditations in the books you are reading, or use books that guide your journaling experience. I have facilitated Spiritual Journaling classes for over fifteen years and find writing prompts an essential tool for the writer. (Next Wednesday I will share ways to create your own writing prompts).
When journaling, date and title each entry. I title each of my small field notebooks (I have several on hand), so that I can easily find material for my books and blogs. Use your journals and notebooks as a place to return to when you have strayed off your spiritual or creative path.
Begin with an “explorers” mind. Give yourself permission to “write anything” in your journal. This freedom opens you up to more possibilities inherent in each exploration. An explorers attitude will allow for more possibilities on and off the page. Good writing prompts allow for us to explore and write about our ideas. Where writing prompts will guide us, they do not dictate where we are to arrive.
Everybody walks in the street, more or less straight down the middle, and if a car comes while somebody’s having a good conversation or telling a good story, the car has to wait till the story finishes before people will move out of the way. Stories are important here, and cars aren’t. –Ann Cameron, The Most Beautiful Place in the World