More on the Write Way to Happiness
One Dude’s Journaling Practice
My most common shadow journaling practice is something called the 3-2-1 process (you can check it out in this book or article), but I do many others as well. Sometimes I’ll simply vent and then psycho-analyze myself, sometimes I’llwrite a letter (link) and occasionally I’ll do Byron Katie’s “The Work,” but the point is that I’m doing something to get deeper into my most repressed emotions: anger, fear, jealousy, lust, sadness, frustration, etc. I’m giving myself permission to experience and express those emotions, while also putting them out in a way that I can get an objective view on my subjective experience. Inevitably the journal becomes a mirror, and I see how the world I experience is just one of projections; the world is my self writ large.
This is simple: I review the past week. What is most interesting to me is not getting all of the events down (besides being useless that would be impossible), but noting what comes up first and what I leave out. This cues me into what seems to be important in my life, and what I might need to pay more attention to.
It’s also fun.
My aforementioned shadow practice focuses on aspects of myself that I do not like. Just as important are the aspects of myself I wish were more developed. These “positive” qualities are often just as repressed, hidden and projected. How can I re-own these “golden shadows”?
Sometimes I’ll do similar processes, like the 3-2-1, but sometimes I use this day to daydream. What would my life look like if I truly got everything I wanted? What if I lived exactly as the enlightened being I strive to be? What aspects of the people I respect the most do I also embody, and out of the ones I don’t, how can I develop them? For an example of one of these activities, check out the “How to Become Your Favorite Superhero” article.
A Course in Miracles
I love a book called A Course in Miracles. I’ll take a daily lesson, or a paragraph from the text, and journal about how the insights have, are, and could apply to my particular life situation. I highly recommend this practice, using whatever text speaks to you spiritually—it could be the Bible, the Tao te Ching, or even mystical poetry. It serves to take these beautiful concepts and ground them in the reality of your lived experience.
This is the balance to all of my structure. I write whatever I want to write on these days.
Lyrics / Poetry
This is my latest re-addition.
I believe that poetry is a crucial form of communication—a way to express yourself outside of logic (which is more akin to my experience of life), to eschew linear time, to be playful, that also provides insights you might not otherwise find about yourself and your world. Most of these lyrics and poetry never get shared, but I have no rule against it.
What Is Your Write Way?
I clearly value all of these, but I recognize that what works for me will not work for everyone. And when something really emotional is happening, I might shift the priorities or break the pattern altogether to best deal with, and grow from, whatever is occurring in my life. I re-examine this pattern every few months, and make adjustments as necessary.
I hope this is useful for you to consider how you might benefit from a similar practice of journaling.