Katie Dalebout, author of Let It Out: A Journey Through Journaling, will be my guest on my Hay House Radio show this week!
And wow, does that bring up a lot around my own journey through journaling!
Journaling is how I solve and dissolve complex equations of heart and head. It’s my personal commitment to revealing. We discover ourselves in words, unveiled and immersed in the precision of the present moment.
I have been writing to capture and process the details of my life since I was 11, in over 90 volumes of personal journal. Out of these pages my poems emerge, mined from the mosaic of memory, fragments of language, introspection and observation. The practice of poetry is my wayfinding. It’s my guide. Distilling and illuminating the essence of a fixed moment in time, like a snapshot. The pure, concise extraction of an experience, like espresso. In some way, it didn’t happen if I didn’t write about it.
The beginning of the end of my marriage was when my husband discovered – and read – my journals. While our relationship had been slowly falling apart for some time, I’d chosen to stay in denial so deeply that it took something this monumental to wake me up.
I did everything for my husband. It was all about him, and my own needs didn’t matter. I had designed a marriage for myself where there was no room for the real me. I acted the part of the woman my husband wanted and needed me to be. But I wasn’t good enough at that, so I let him try and mold me into his image of the perfect wife.
When you stay in a situation that isn’t working, denying your own needs, eventually your own well-being demands to be heard. And when you don’t heed that call, the truth will come out… unfortunately, it comes out sideways. You become depressed. Ill. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself expressing your needs in destructive ways.
And that’s what my husband discovered when he read my journals, how my true self had expressed herself sideways. I had written about the affair I’d had several years earlier. It’s still hard for me to disclose this, and I wish I’d never been that person. But what I know now is the importance of telling the truth and living your authentic life.
What happened to those journals? Well, after my husband found them, I destroyed them all – over seventy-five volumes at the time. As I said above, I’d been keeping journals since I was 11, and after I felt exposed, I didn’t write another journal entry for two years.
When I went back to journaling, I was paranoid! I kept everything saved on a thumb drive and carried it around with me everywhere. But that physical act of writing down my feelings, thoughts, reflections was such a powerful part of my journey, and continues to be important today. Commit to the physical act of writing it all down – preferably on paper. It does make a difference!
Journaling was an important part of my journey to my authentic self. Writing down thoughts, feelings, reflections is how we tell ourselves the truth. It’s not always easy, because if we are honest when we write, we’ll feel everything fully, with no pretensions. It’s also our opportunity to see things more objectively, and stop judging ourselves so harshly. It’s an inch-by-inch process, and you never know what will come out on the next page!
My journal is the portal into the story of my awakening. Internal wrestling. Self-awareness. Making myself vulnerable through these words has opened my eyes to the ways in which each of our stories are intertwined, coursing through one another. It’s not only the meaning, more the feeling that resonates between us. We are all of us writing for our lives. My writings were the stepping-stones along my journey from fear to self-love and self-forgiveness. Let your heart serve as a compass to lead you back to yourself, and an invitation to find and trust your own voice.
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