Journaling with Author and Mentor Bridget Boland
I am so thrilled to share Bridget with you!! I met Bridget when I was pregnant with my first. She taught my prenatal yoga class. Bridget always had such deep, wise and calming words for me during that miserable pregnancy. I hired her as my doula, and when my birth plan resembled a dumpster fire, Bridget got me and my husband through it in one piece - God Bless Her.
Over the past 13 years she's been a wise mentor to me, and more recently, helped me stay in a good mindset while trying to launch a company with three young kids in my house.
In our work together this year Bridget really pushed me to try journaling. Being a perfectionist, I hated the thought of having to sit still and "write" every day. Why did I need to do this? Who has time for this? What's it supposed to accomplish anyway, and what if I sound like a total weirdo?
I learned that there are lots of ways and reasons to journal; I found it helped me stay focused on my goals, even amidst setbacks. I found that journaling helped me sort through times I felt stuck, or scared to take a risk, but the biggest benefit to journaling? I found that it actually helped me see how things were in fact shifting towards the goals I had set for myself.
Trust me, I don't wake up early unless it's really dire, and now, I actually set my alarm on vacations to sit outside, with my required cup of coffee, and journal. So go get your coffee and read on.
Dive Deep to Soar High
Every time we fly on a plane we receive a profound message: “Secure your own oxygen mask first before helping others.” This sage wisdom applies to life in general, especially for busy women who may be juggling some combination of work, parenting and running a household. While most of us know we need to tend to our own needs first in order to truly be able to support others, it’s challenging to commit to making time for our own well-being. One easy, low-cost tool that can support us not only in good self-care but also in allowing us to give more to others is journaling.
Journaling is so much more than just a place to record life events and experiences. It’s an effective way for us to process those experiences, to not only say what happened but to explore how we felt about them and to examine their significance so that we can learn from our experiences and make empowered, more fulfilling choices in the future.
Our conscious minds can only hold so much information. Usually, we’re aware of perhaps one or two primary thoughts about something at any given time. But below those thoughts are the ones that rest in the subconscious and unconscious realms of the mind. These thoughts operate “underneath the surface” and often have a lot more to do with our choices and decisions than the thoughts at the top of our consciousness. Journaling for as little as 5 or 10 minutes can help you dive below the first layers of your thoughts and access the deeper insights, wisdom, fears, and doubts that may be activated in you by your interactions and experiences.
How to Journal
It’s easy. Grab a paper or notebook and a pen, or your computer or tablet. Set your timer if you have limited time to spend. Take several deep breaths with your eyes closed to center yourself as you call to mind the issue you wish to learn more about. Once you have an idea of your topic, it can help to write it at the top of the page either as a statement or by phrasing a question about the topic for which you’d like answers. With your eyes closed, notice what sensations arise in your body as you think about the issue. Does your throat feel tight, or your stomach upset? Do your shoulders hunch into your ears? Or maybe your entire body relaxes as you acknowledge this particular issue. Whatever you feel, you can begin your journaling session by writing it down. As you jot down the cues your body is offering you about the issue, you may feel inspired to move into thoughts that arise related to the issue and/or to bodily sensations. Then you can continue to write, processing your thoughts and feelings about your issue as you let the words spill out onto the page.
The Wins Journal
Energetically, journaling is a terrific way to “write out” or shed difficult emotions, strong feelings, and responses to life situations or challenges. It also allows us to savor good feelings associated with events we enjoyed and found delight in. I recommend keeping a “Wins Journal.” This is a special notebook or file in which you keep a record of all of your successes, (however you define that word), in your relationship, your work, your spiritual practice, etc. Oftentimes we are so busy moving through life that our perspective narrows. In challenging times we can forget we ever had easier, more positive days. The Wins Journal allows you to shift your thinking and your mindset, and literally, the vibration at which your body and soul are resonating, into a better feeling, higher frequency simply by allowing you to reconnect to times when you felt positive and good about your life. So journaling not only offers the opportunity to gain insights about issues and events that arise in your life, it also can help you change the way you think and feel.
Visioning Your Dreams Into Being
Journaling is also a strong tool to use whenever you want to create something new in your life. Whether you want to manifest a new job, relationship, a move to a new city, etc., every experience begins with a vision. The clearer and more specific the vision, generally the faster and stronger it appears. Journaling is one way to capture your vision, to sit and see in your mind’s eye in great detail the full image of what you want.
Sometimes as you begin to write your vision, you’ll be surprised by what you write down. Your unconscious mind knows so much more than your conscious mind. One time I was journaling about what I wanted to be doing in a year’s time. Lots of things spilled out from my conscious awareness. I was in a yoga teacher training, so I wrote about the classes I wanted to teach, as well as about a book I wanted to write, and the romantic partner I was ready to call in. After I got all these conscious desires onto the page I surprised myself, though. I wrote down the word “midwife”, even though I’d never in my life thought about becoming a midwife. I almost ran a line through the word to cross it out as if it had been a mistake but that didn’t feel right. Instead, I tucked the journal away and didn’t think about it again until nearly nine months later, when a pregnant yoga student asked me if I would serve as a doula at her birth. My mind flashed back to that journal entry – at the time, I didn’t have any knowledge of doulas or what they did, so my subconscious mind craftily substituted a word I would understand – midwife. My client and I laughed over this funny sign from my soul that had given me a “heads up” months earlier about my new role.
Journaling holds tremendous gifts, and yes, even a few surprises when we commit to taking some time regularly to putting our thoughts and feelings onto the page. I invite you to try it. You never know what you might learn about yourself!
Want to know more about Bridget?
Bridget Boland is an award-winning writer, Forrest Yoga teacher, birth and death coach, a shamanic energy healer certified by The Four Winds, and former attorney. Bridget strives to provide a sanctuary for students to explore their emotional, energetic and physical landscapes through breath, movement and energetic processes.
Introductory Session: Sixty-minute session to clear emotional baggage from your body and heighten vitality. Fee: $350.
To register for a session or for more information contact Bridget at email@example.com or 214-682-1207.
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