As many of you will know, journaling has been and is a big part of my life and something I like to encourage and inspire others to do for many reasons.
It has contributed to saving my life many times…
The key thing is to get started and make journaling your own. Journaling doesn’t have to be turgid. You simply have to find a way of doing it that suits you.
My love of journaling started a long time ago, and most evenings, after putting on lip salve, my journal comes out as I reflect on the day. When I wake and can’t sleep, I scribble whatever comes up – just to get out whatever needs expressing so that I can go back to sleep.
It all starts with getting into a great state.
Getting into a great state before journaling
The first thing I do is get into the right frame of mind to start writing in my journal; this includes dealing with all the mundane tasks that need doing. No matter where I am, I create a sacred space around me and within me. I make sure I’m in loose clothing (often in my pyjamas as I love to write in bed), I have a cup of tea or glass of water, and I am in a warm, comfortable place.
Next, I take a few minutes to focus on my breathing. When I focus on my breath, I often place my hands on my heart as I believe that when we write, it comes from the heart. It’s where my muse lives.
Connecting with your muse
A muse is your spark of inspiration that lives in your heart and is there to help you to connect to your creativity and well of in-tuition. Everyone has a muse lurking within. Your muse can become your best friend if you nurture the relationship.
Connecting to your muse means slowing down, being in flow and allowing the muse to come in and help me to explore. When I am comfortable and relaxed, there is always something magical about how my muse casts spells on the paper with my thoughts, feelings, and words.
When we write our truth, the wisdom of our words will light the flame of inspiration and creativity. Our creativity flows and illuminates our creative gifts and talents as we put energy into our writing.
When it comes to writing, you simply need to write one word followed by another. If you feel stuck and your muse is not playing, write any old thing, and as you relax and write, it will change. Put pen to paper and trust that magic will arrive.
I often say to my clients, who use their journals in conjunction with writing their book, start with the mundane, and the magic will follow.
Unless you write in one, you will never understand the power of journaling.
And mandalas… Yes, I love colouring them as it is so meditative. They draw me in, but they are so much more than a relaxing colouring thing.
The word mandala comes from the ancient Sanskrit, meaning “circle” or “centre”. They have been used for centuries in rituals and for meditation. While they look like interesting shapes, there is much more to a mandala.
Everything in life is a circle from the solar system, the sun that gives power to the planet, to each flower and snowflake. These are all intricate and beautiful; when you look at them, you may find yourself transported into a world of wonder.
Tibetan monks create sand mandalas, which are both a work of art and a sacred practice that can take weeks to make. They are created to encourage healing and inner peace. The mandalas are typically destroyed with a swipe of the hand upon completion, demonstrating non-attachment and the impermanence of life.
Imagine spending all of that time creating something beautiful and then letting it go.
You can watch a video here.
Carl Jung also used mandalas for himself and his patients. He is quoted as saying, “I sketched every morning in a notebook a small circular drawing, a mandala, which seemed to correspond to my inner situation at the time… Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is: … the Self, the wholeness of the personality, which, if all goes well, is harmonious.” – C.G. Jung
He used them as archetypes of wholeness and encouraged his patients to draw their own rather than colour ready-made ones as we do today.
Whichever way you prefer – ready-made or designing your own, if you did this yourself over a period of time, I am sure you would discover many insights into what is going on for you.
Why colour mandalas?
Colouring mandalas has been proven to produce a calming effect on the person colouring them in. At least they do for me. The act of colouring releases tension and allows your subconscious thoughts to flow. You will get incredible insights when you write about what comes up. Then upon reflection, you begin to see sense, patterns, and ways through your problems and onto solutions, ideas and inspiration.
Mandalas offer you the opportunity to focus on something and then work your way out from the centre to the outer edges, where your consciousness is expanded. Imagine that the centre is the issue, and as you work out, you are discovering solutions.
When you concentrate on an aspect of your life, you are energetically connecting to your inner state, intuition, wisdom, and creativity, which is then reflected back in the process you use to colour in your mandala and the colours you use.
What I love about mandalas is that I can see myself at the centre, expanding in a series of patterns and colours representing my life or whatever is currently surrounding me. When I start, I bring to mind something I want to explore, and later when I have finished, I scribble what comes up in my journal.
I have also had a go at designing and painting them myself, which I found relaxing. So, I am definitely a fan.
The magic of colour
All colours have an energetic vibration and meaning. Each colour radiates a certain spiritual frequency, attracting different kinds of energy. What you will notice is that you may crave a certain colour. When I get up each morning, I know that I need to wear a certain colour. These colours are being called for because of the energy they emit. When you colour a mandala, the same thing happens.
You may have days where you reach for all of the blues and turquoises and other days when you might class red with orange and vibrant pink. What about the language of colour? Consider red, something might be red hot, or you could be seeing red when provoked. How about mellow yellow? Feeling blue? Who is to say what this means other than to you?
Rather than getting hung up on what that colour means, I believe it is primarily up to you and how it makes you feel. If, for example, when you see yellow, you think of the warming sun that makes you feel happy, then that is what it means to you. If, on the other hand, you see yellow and think yuk, I’d never wear it as it washes me out, then you may be unlikely to reach for certain yellows in your crayon tin when colouring.
Combining journaling and mandalas
Combining colouring mandalas with journaling and reflective writing will change your perspective and life. Then, if you choose, you can make significant changes based on your learning.
Benefits of journaling and mandalas
Because your journal is private, you can: –
- Express your feelings and thoughts in an uninhibited way
- Clarify goals before acting
- Release unhelpful thoughts and learn to let go
- Gain a sense of perspective and control
- Store and analyse your dreams
- Become a catalyst for change and creativity
- A source for your stories and your memoirs
You will start to: –
- Understand who you are, what you want, and how to get it
- Find new ways to tackle old behaviours, issues or problems
- Unwind and relax
- Communicate with others better
- Create positive intentions and affirmations
- Discover a pathway to self-awareness that provides insights upon which you can act and create change
- Find creative solutions to problems and challenges
- Discover memories that will support your healing