On Journaling

3755356421_2a8f005366_qChristina Baldwin has been teaching people how to journal for the past 30 plus years. Her interview on Sounds True makes interesting points about how helpful journaling can be to people who have been thrown out of their “life stories” through illness or a loss. In fact she says that almost all the people she has met in her workshops started journaling that way. “Suddenly, we don’t have a story that we can move forward with, and the story we were carrying has been shattered.”

Tami Simon asked: “Now, one of the lines that I pulled out from your work that I quite liked is: “Despair and wonder are two sides of a spinning coin.” Can you talk a little bit about how journal writing has helped give you that insight?”
Christina: “For me, wonder occurs in the most intimate micro level and the big, big macro level. So I can restore my sense of wonder if I sit down and really look at something that I pass by all the time. For example, [I see] just a flower, and I go, “Oh yes, the tulips are up,” And I keep going. But if I sit down and I look at something like that—or if you look at the fingernail on a baby’s hand, or something that’s very tiny, and you go, “This is amazing.” And we find ways to let ourselves be amazed.And then wonder also happens for me when I go into the large scale: when I look at the stars; when I look at the mountains…”.

Christina often works with simple collages of images and words she rips out of magazines. She usually describes what she sees in front of her, whether it is the collage, or a view out of the window, and then  allows her thoughts to wander to other times and places in her life. She also likes to engage all her senses as she journals.She talks about dialoguing with different voices, struggling with the difficult things in the world as a woman near her 70’s, and much more.

Finally Christina says:”My relationship with the journal is: here is a place that never gets tired of me. I may be tired—period—because of other things going on in my life. But here’s a place that, if all I do is sit down and write two sentences, it is a little thumbtack into my consciousness that says, “I paused; I reflected; I had a thought.”

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“Writing is a lifeline, teaches Christina Baldwin. It can guide you through life’s transitions, reveal parts of your self yearning to be expressed, and even transmit the essence of who you are in order to inspire future generations”.

If you have journaled, want to get back to it or are curious to go beyond just recording your daily thoughts and activities, this is a lovely encouraging interview.
You can both listen to or read the transcript at this Sound’s True page.

Journal photo: JimileeK Flikr commons, Some rights reserved.