Journaling: Being Present

I’ve been thinking about journaling a lot these past few days. I’ve always been a big promoter of journaling as a means to healing. To understanding your inner needs and fears.

In preparation for teaching a journaling workshop, I started thinking about the actuality of being present when journaling; especially when you are writing about what happened to you yesterday, last year or even in your childhood. Being present when you are writing about your dreams, your goals, your long term desires. The more I contemplated it, the more I realized that you are present because you are stopping to see how all of those thoughts, dreams and memories are relating to you NOW.

The past is a foreign land and the future is yet to be. What we think we remember of our past is nothing compared to how we relate to it at this moment in time. There have been many times in my life where I’ve thought of my childhood. It’s been good, it’s been horrid, it’s been good again. It depends on if I’m being whiny, if I’m being contemplative, if I’m happy, sad, reflective, lonely…there are so many filters that warp our memories that it’s hard to tell what is real and what is not. But that really isn’t important. What is important is how we see it in the present moment. Journaling, even about your previous experiences, keeps you present by making you reflect with your current mindset.

As I mentioned, I’m a big fan of journaling. I wish I did more of it but I, too, let life carry me away. One thing I always do is keep my food and exercise journal every day. It makes me aware of everything I’m putting into my body and how I’m treating it. It gives me control. It’s the first thing the dietician will have you do; it’s the secret to the success of Weight Watchers and numerous other diet plans. It’s simple really. If you have to write it down or keep track of it, you will think twice about putting it in your mouth. Accountability, even if it’s only to yourself, is a powerful motivator.

While you may not be conscious of it, journaling is all about the present moment. It’s all about this moment right now. This moment: Write Now!

4 thoughts on “Journaling: Being Present

  1. Nicole says:

    Julie,
    I love this entry! It is very true and something I have struggled with many times before: being present, but still reflecting to the past or to the future. When reflecting back it sometimes reminds me how out of touch I was in that moment if I don’t remember details or how present I was when I do remember all the nitty gritty details. Overall though, it is a simple reminder to continue to work at staying present. As with anything else it takes practice!!!

    1. Julie Orrok Slack says:

      It does! And one thing I’ve learned is that by journaling you make those revelations–you begin to realize how much you THOUGHT you knew versus what you really DO know! You can reflect on why you reacted the way you did at the time and learn from it. Or not! Depending on whether you are ready to or not! 🙂

      1. Jennifer Arney says:

        Journaling is very powerful. It can conjure emotions you never knew you had bottled up inside. I used to journal only when I had a hard time sleeping or when going through difficult times. I have recently started to journal every morning (prior to reading this blog which I find interesting) while sitting in bed having coffee and looking out my window.

      2. Julie Orrok Slack says:

        It is a powerful thing. It can make you see things you didn’t before…it can make you come to terms with things (good and bad) and it’s also a great way to find out things about yourself you never knew existed.

        You can always burn the pages when you are done if privacy is an issue too! 🙂 I always loved the therapy of writing a letter to someone you are angry with by putting it all down in writing and then setting fire to it or letting it go in the river. Along with the paper you release the anger and resentment, giving you closure without continuing the argument process (or if you CAN’T continue it for some reason).

        (It’s great to see you here Jen!! xoxo)

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