I have always kept a journal but in the past year, I have begun keeping several different journals at once, each with their own purpose. I am one of the few people who actually appreciate receiving journals as gifts (along with stationery, candles and other "boring" gifts other people don't appreciate). I use them. I finish them. I finish them before I move onto the next one. With out further ado, the journals:
Main journal: This one is day-to-day. It includes thoughts, observations, conversations I've had recently, dream descriptions if I remember them, my feelings, my actual opinions and honest assessments. This is the place I can let it all out - the good, the bad and the ugly. I regret to say that even in this sacred space, I don't always really let myself go. It's not so much fear that someone will read what I have written, more that I myself feel the need to censor what I write because I fear it is "inappropriate" (my least favorite word in the language) or unacceptable - to myself! If you keep a journal or are thinking of starting one, I encourage you to completely love and accept yourself and allow yourself to write any f***ing thing you please, fearlessly. I promise to work on doing this, too.
Question/answer journal: I read an ungodly number of self-help,-growth,-development, -what-have-you books. If you stick around and continue reading my blog, you may reap the benefits of receiving condensed versions of these books and what they mean to impart without having to actually read them. The Q&A notebook is to field the questions that inevitably come up in myself while reading or questions that the authors encourage me to ask myself. Questions like: Do I worry about the details of life? and Do I give myself the mental space to create a firm foundation? I use the notebook to explore what I think and feel about particular aspects of my life. I like the structure it provides and I find that I can be more candid and bypass a lot of my internal censors when I write this way because it's kind if like playing therapist with myself. I'm just "neutrally" asking questions so it's "safe" to answer however I want.
Affirmations journal: Arbitrarily, I use steno notebooks for my affirmations journals. I write in these journals whenever I read or hear affirmations in books and audios that make me feel good. I also write my goals in them in present tense. Anything that I want to be true, I put into this journal in present tense. It can be related to work, creativity, realtionships, spirituality, money, or anything that I just reall really really want to be, do, and have. Affirmations (so far) have been the most powerful asset to my life in the self-growth realm. I have used them to great effect and have seen changes in my life that I directly attribute to using affirmations.
Gratitude journal: This is a pretty Italian journal that I keep next to my bed. Every night (I have found that doing it every night consistently is easier than being half-assed about it and doing it only when I'm in the mood) I write at least 5 things to be grateful for - usually a lot more. Five is the minimum and sometimes, 5 is plenty. Some nights, I'm really creative and detailed (Cara Cara oranges and the delicious Gardenia-smelling blooms on the back patio) and some nights I'm more bland (drinking water and food in the cupboards). I can write whatever I want as long as I do it every night and put down at least 5 items. Gratitude generates love and good feelings and there's a rumor going around that these are desirable .
Goals journal: Of all the self-development books and audios I have consumed, many of them insisted that I pull it together and set myself some goals. I awkwardly flopped around the whole goal situation for at least a year when Brian Tracy, a real go-getter to say the least, shook me by the self-help lapels and now has me writing down at least 10 goals a day. These are special goals: written in first person, present tense, with dates for achievement (aka deadlines) and in the case of money, the specific amount is written in the goal. Variations on this abound - sometimes I include the words "easily and effortlessly." Whatever it takes to emotionalize it, make it feel real, and most importantly, to make it feel authentic to me. An addendum to the goals can be action steps for achieving these goals - simple daily tasks that will move me in the direction of what I want to accomplish. Don't get overwhelmed by this. I will definitely be exploring this topic further because it has been a bone I have been gnawing on for quite some time: action vs. allowing, and the contradiction between being 100% responsible for ourselves, our lives, our choices, and the conditions of our lives but being asked to relinquish the how to the universe. This is a tricky area that I am still navigating and will revisit in these posts for sure.
List journal: This is more of a practical notebook where I keep lists of anything I'd like to experience or own. Here's a list of the lists in my list journal now: 1)Body/beauty/health: these are salons and spas I'd like to visit, massage therapists and acupuncturists to try, health practices I'd like to try like panchakarma and energy tuning, any vitamins, health and beauty products I'd like, and questions to ask my doc for each appointment. 2)Clothing/shoes/accessories - self-explanatory; all the things I'd like to have in this department. 3)Home/possessions - a list of all furniture, art work, dishes, linens, candles, etc. that I would like in addition to repairs and updates to make (tune the piano, reupholster the couch, etc.) 5) Gift ideas for family members and friends - anything they mention or that you see and think they'd like. 6) Books to borrow from the library. This list is the longest in my notebook. 7) Books to own. These are books that I go back to time and again for knowledge, comfort, and enjoyment. 7) Movies to see - old and new. 8) Albums & songs I'd like - old and new. 9) Places to visit in California. I live in Cali so this is my goal list for seeing as many sights in this fair state as possible - ranging from rugged camping trips to a luxurious stay at Big Sur's Post Ranch Inn for a long weekend. 10) Trips domestic and abroad - all the towns, cities, and states I'd like to visit in the US and all the places I'd like to go around the world.
These are the main, consistent lists. In the back, I may have temporary lists of to-dos (finish a quilt I started last year, finish the sweater I started knitting 6 years ago that's almost done and is taking up too much brain energy not to finish). Oh, and I started a new list of current financial goals/necessities list and then (this one is super-fun), an ideal financial goals/necessities list. The latter is so fun because that's the one where I start considering how much poool maintenance will cost monthly and how much it will be to buy a 4-person suana for my future backyard.
Scrapbook dream/ideal joural: This a series of images taken from magazines or anywhere that I would like to attract into my life. This is also where I wrote down 100 things I'd like to be, 100 thinkgs I'd like to do, and 100 things I'd like to have. It's also where I have written a few ideal scenes - my life in the not-so-distant future exactly as I want it to be.