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Where the Heart Is

December 01, 2019

Where the Heart Is

I'm afraid that many people feel that those who keep journals have some special access to ideas that other people don't have.  Or that journals are just "diaries" meant to record all of your secrets.  But that's simply not true.

A journal holds no expectations.  You don't need to write something everyday and you can write as often as you like.  It can be a few sentences, bullet points, or many pages.  Think of it as a shoebox that can hold any type of memories.  You can store absolutely anything inside: ideas, goals, letters, tickets, stickers, or stamps.  

A journal can also be like a mirror to help you see yourself. 

In times of transition, joy, sadness, and reflection, revisiting past journals can be a way to connect and rebalance your core self.  Between the pages of paper might be ideas that slipped away, goals that have since been achieved, and observations and thoughts of where you were at that time.  A journal is yours, so it naturally will reflect you and your personality.

Not only is the new year quickly approaching, it is also the end of a decade.  This realization sent me on a treasure hunt into our basement.  I had to climb over drills, sports equipments, paint cans, cords, and countless odds and ends to reach the very back corner, where I knew a collection of my journals had been stored in a travel trunk.

In 2011, I kept an unbreakable commitment to doing what I called my "Daily Dose of Writing".  Some people may also refer to this as Morning Pages:  three quick pages of longhand stream of consciousness writing.

The idea behind morning pages is so simple.  Wake up and write before the day starts and your thoughts are blocked by the daily pace. 

Start writing and don’t stop until you get to the end of page three. Don’t slow down, don’t self-edit, and don’t think about how bad or even good this writing might be. It’s not for anyone’s eyes but your own.  The most important things is to keep the pen moving and to let your self-editing get out of the way.  

As I look into my Morning Page journals, I noticed a trend.  I often started each entry describing the light through the window: bright, overcast, gloomy.  And then the weather: rainy, snowy, windy, or unknown.  That was one of my ways to warm up my thoughts and get the pen moving.

While this may seem insignificant, commenting on how many inches of snow lined the rim of the basketball hoop outside the window, brought back a deep feeling of being at my parents home and what those times were like.  The basketball hoop has been gone for years, it was removed after all of the kids moved away, and I am reminded of how we have all grown older and time has gone by.

The journals I found in the basement span between December 23, 2011 and Aug 6, 2014.  In total there are 2,360 pages of free writing!!  It was easy to add up because all of the pages were numbered.  It covers half of the decade that is ending once 2020 arrives.  My other journals, spanning the other five years, are hidden somewhere else, also waiting to be discovered.

I make and sell book journals.  This has been my "job" since 2013 when I founded Red Barn Collections.  And yet over the past year, my journals have mainly been filled with just lists, notes, and work goals.  Somehow, I have neglected my Morning Pages and I am filled with feelings of astonishment, sadness, and regret.  I know that I have lost those small memories and self-perspective.

For so many years Red Barn has been approached as just a job: make journals and sell journals.  Sharing the joy of journaling is something I kept for myself, avoiding social media and blogging, because I'm private and introverted by nature.  But now, I feel compelled and driven to kick up writing again for myself, starting again my Daily Dose of Writing.

I want to dive in again, and hope to find shared ground with others who want to join me and not lose another day of memories and ideas.

And so that is the inspiration for this new "Daily Dose of Writing" series.  It's crafted for myself, and also for you.

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xoxo, Brooke



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