Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Daily Dialogue--A Conversation For Your Journal

I have a new blogging friend, Elise, who creates handmade journals. She  is dedicated to making one new book every day this year. So far, she's keeping to her schedule. These two pictures are from her posts.                                    
Go to to see some of her creations.  She's 25 years old and is busy with school and work and life in general, so she might enjoy some attention from you.

Sarah Ban Breathnach explains, in Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, the purpose for writing, and asks you to experiment with writing out your thoughts. Sarah says that because she writes all day long professionally, she had passionately resisted keeping a personal journal most of her adult life. Neither the effort nor time seemed worth it. But while writing Simple Abundance, she became aware of all the conversations in her head. She began to realize how noisy her mind was, and how the mind grabs hold of a single thought and won't let it go. One day she took a sheet of paper and began writing down all the conversations going on in her head. Whether it was "the cat looks sick, the couch needs a new cover, the airport may be snowed in, or what's for dinner," she found that by putting her worries in a book, she could forget them for the moment and go on with her day. And it wasn't long before she realized that writing in her journal was a centering and therapeutic exercise. 
I have been writing in my Cozi journal more faithfully than any other, because I'm at the computer first thing in the morning. And I jot down a few things without feeling that I have to do anything more than start a new session. Later on, I may come back to it and add more things that I've thought of or want to remember. On bad days, I may type quickly, filling up the page over and over, but the important thing is that it allows me to spill my feelings and frustrations onto a page that is for no other purpose. In a few days, I may not feel the same at all...hopefully, I'll have moved past the problem. But if a problem is still unresolved, it helps to go back and re-read what I wrote earlier.

Oddly enough, writing on the computer doesn't give me the same satisfaction as writing thoughts down in a physical journal. I've loved stationery, books, and paper of all kinds all my life, and so naturally I also love pens and inks, as well as the many other nice writing instruments on the market. I keep them mostly all together, so that I can enjoy using them often. I've told you about all my journals in another post, but will describe the paper as being smooth and high quality, which allows the ink to flow easily on the page. The sensation is very pleasant and adds pleasure to my day every time I write.

A few years ago, one of my daughters gave me notebooks and pads with exceptionally high quality paper in them for my birthday. It is one of my favorite gifts ever, and I've added other items from the same store--one of them being blotter pads. It is the oddest sensation to use a blotter,  and feel yourself connecting with writers of much earlier times, when blotters were indispensable on the desk.

These gifts came from an online shop: The Pear Tree Pen Company. They sell lots of writing paraphnalia--many different brands of ink, including scented ink from Germany, and many different brands of ink pens. They even have empty ink bottles that are beautiful, and handmade glass dip pens. And I've just learned that they sell cycling hats for women, because they love cycling and sponsor a women's team. If you're inclined toward fountain pens, see what they offer. 

Sarah Ban Breathnach says not to use a fancy, pretty journal for your daily dialogue because it's too intimidating and you'll want it to be perfect and profound rather than putting down the complaining you will automatically begin to write! A spiral notebook or any one of the pretty journals that aren't expensive will be fine.
Going back to Sarah's daily entry, she says that checking in with her consciousness clears her head and calms her restless spirit. One method of solving problems is to write down everything you can in the morning, and come back to your entry in the evening to see if the problem has been solved. Now I hadn't thought of that, but I'm sure that has happened to me without my noticing.

Remember...Sarah's always moving you toward your authentic self--the wiser part of yourself. The person you are, not the person you think you are. I sigh when I think of the difference. The conversation in your head is looking for this wiser part of yourself--a part that is often dismissed. Putting your thoughts on paper should bring the two of you together.  

I suppose it isn't my place to keep encouraging you to write down your life when you don't really want to do it, or take time to do it. But I believe that it can ground you in a way that you can't see right now. Try keeping a Daily Dialogue in your journal for 21 days--the right number of days to form a habit--and then evaluate it. Are you more aware of what's going on in your life? Do you understand why you've been unhappy or sad, or why you've been happier than usual? When I look back at what's been going  on over the last week or month, I say, "No wonder I've been so confused!" And so I believe you'll find that keeping a journal will collect your worries onto the page,  rather than having them run wildly around in your head. The difference may be a  life more in hand and controlled, leading to more happiness and contentment. And isn't that what we're all wishing to achieve?



  1. Thanks so much for writing about me and my books! It was really sweet of you! :)

  2. You're welcome, Elise. I'm glad you're pleased with it. I would have posted the journal pics from today, but they were dark and didn't look as good on my blog as the ones I posted. I really like the flowered cover. I wish you the best.

  3. Elise, I've just put this blog on Facebook, so all my friends and others will see it. I hope it gets you some attention.

  4. Oh! Thanks for posting it to FB too! My pictures have been pretty dark lately... I'm beginning to think I should wait till the day after I make them to post them, just so I can get better pics in natural lighting. =)