This transcript is from an interview I gave last year with Tamara Patzer of Blue Ocean Authority and Beyond the Bestseller. If you have always loved writing and want to start your own journal, this blog is for you!
Tami Patzer (TP): Today, Krista and I are going to be talking about the power of journaling, so I want to welcome you today, Krista.
Krista Callas (KC): Thanks Tammy, it’s good to be here!
TP: This is a really interesting topic because many people talk about journaling and it’s funny because I should actually journal more. I enjoy writing. I feel good when I write, but sometimes I actually think I don’t (write) because I’m afraid of what I’m going to reveal. It’s kind of interesting! So let’s go ahead and dig right in. Can you tell me some of the benefits of journaling? Why should people really take a look at the practice of journaling?
KC: It’s funny how surprising what can pop out the end of that pen! Some of the benefits of journaling are that it can ignite our creativity, it can increase our productivity, bring more mental clarity and solve complex problems, and ease our emotional overload and stress. It can deepen our learning process, it definitely records our life, it helps us to build discipline especially when we when we’re doing it more days of the week than not. It helps us clarify our goals and our dreams and it can increase our happiness — and really, most profoundly that I’ve discovered — is that it can cultivate our ability to witness ourselves.
TP: That’s really interesting because all of those different things — I know that when I was a teenager, I was like this avid poet. I would write poetry and it was all about this unrequited love — I had more crushes than I can even imagine, but I also did write and reflect on my life and different hopes and dreams, and like I said, today sometimes I’m actually afraid to journal because you know it’s like what might I reveal to myself? So I know also in business, journaling can be very productive too because you know who doesn’t have their to-do list? That actually is a form of journaling if you think about it, for productivity. So I’m going to let you kind of guide us today on the direction, because there’s so many directions we could take on this topic. So what would you like to focus on related to journaling?
KC: I love a good to-do list. I love a good spiral notebook and making lists and checking things off. You know, there’s outwardly focused writing or journaling about productivity lists or like brainstorming in a business capacity or or even like brainstorming for your personal goals or moving forward like a lot of people do at the new year.
There’s also an inwardly focused journaling which is a way of investigating the movement, the inner movement, the inner qualities and the nature of our internal world. It can begin as a place of refuge, as a way of supporting our inner.. you know just nurturing our inner self. There’s a great quote from Maya Angelou where she says, “There’s no greater agony than burying an untold story inside you,” and so one way to begin is that we can begin to have a safe place to write whatever is most important to us. What’s the story that we’ve been holding in our heart that is pressing for expression without anyone else’s finger in the pie, basically, so that it’s without any influence from other people’s ideas about what happened. It’s just our own reflective interpretation, and our own experience. So it can be a place to unburden our heart. To tell the full truth of our own experience with all of its gorey details and all of its funny details. What is it what we perceive about ourslef and our situation? It’s a way of listening more deeply to ourself and giving ourselves and our experience the dignity of a deeper presence with what happened.
TP: I think that’s really interesting because again, everything you’re talking about is about us and so many times we’re so focused on the outside of us — we’re taking care of our families, we’re taking care of our business where it’s always on the outside or the external. When you journal, you bring it into you, into the deep part and then of course it comes out through the pen or the pencil or the computer keyboard. It seems to me, and you might want to go deeper into this, it seems like journaling helps you to be more and is it like you’re in the now, but you might be dealing with things that happened in the past or maybe you’re thinking about the future yet you’re dealing with it in the now… Does that make sense?
KC: It does and you know, you’ve really kind of hit the nail on the head with that. There’s something extraordinary and kind of magical that can happen when you’re writing (or typing) but when you’re writing, the physical act of writing requires us to pay attention in the moment and so it’s like an anchor. Writing anchors us into the present moment to focus on what it is that we’re writing, but at the same time the past or whatever we’re trying to write about is kind of swirling around at the margin of our perception and it’s all kind of trying to funnel through that pen. I would say there’s a dynamic tension that can happen around holding all of that. You’re holding the experience that’s trying to come through while at the same time being in the moment with the physical aspect of writing — and just in the process of that: by holding both of those things, surprising and spontaneous things can just arise.
We begin by writing one thing and then “it” is there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written something and then I look at it like… Is that really true? Wait a minute! And then you kind of pull on the string of it and realize that it’s all based on a belief system, or a perception that I have, and is that really my perception now or is it based on something that is an autopilot conditioning from the past? And then you start to dig a little bit deeper, and then a little bit deeper, like, well, wait a minute… Is that really true? And so it becomes this unpeeling of the layers of the onion as you’re kind of going down and going down, It’s self inquiry. It’s self investigation. Self analysis. And really, self discovery as you’re writing. In that dynamic tension between what what you think you want to say and what is actually coming out the end of the pen, surprising insights can happen. Things can kind of just pop out the end of that pen and and in doing that we get to know ourselves better. We get to know our own voice, what’s our true, authentic voice — because I’ll tell you, when we’re writing, we all know when what comes out hits like a tin coin. We all know the sound of fake. Which is a gift, really, because that place of shallow waters becomes the new ground for our excavation and exploration. What’s underneath that fakeness? So over time, we begin to recognize when what we’re saying is what we wish was true, versus what’s really true.
TP: I think that’s interesting because you’re right. I said I will avoid journaling and I’ll ask myself why? What am I so afraid that I’m going to find out about who I am or what I think or what I feel. Sometimes it’s like well what if I uncover something and it makes me sad or something, and again I’m still dealing with this but it’s interesting.
When I do journal, I’ve discovered that a lead pencil on paper works better or a rolling writer type pen. It’s kind of funny because the instrument we choose to write with, whether pen or pencil — is a different experience than a keyboard and I do think that you make a tighter brain connection you know when you use a pen or a pencil and paper versus an electronic device or speaking it even because sometimes again, we edit ourselves. You know we’re so good at it that when we speak and even when we write, we’re constantly editing ourselves. Sometimes it is hard to find that real, authentic person inside, but once we do we are on our way to a lot of self-discovery and of becoming a better, deeper person. So you have done a lot of writing and even in your bio, you know, you said, “Hey I actually quit doing all this stuff because I wanted to write more,” so here’s a question: have you been able to write more, and do you have any prompts or ideas that you can share with the audience to get them to start to, as you said, start to unpeel that “onion of self?”
To read more of this interview, click HERE.