|It’s been a sweet holiday season here. My son is home for a month’s break from college and my daughter has some vacation time so she can slip away from her hospital work in Chicago. Kayaking, biking, hanging out, cooking, and good eating are on the agenda. Hope your holidays offer some time for relaxing and include some journal writing!
If you’ve missed the last two newsletters, you might not know that LifeJournal 3, and Add-Ons are now available!
Keeping a journal is usually a solitary activity, but you’d be surprised how a class juices your journaling and helps you discover new perspectives on your life. l invite you to deepen and expand your journal writing in the next months and join us for some webinars, telechats, and online classes:
- Have questions about LJ3? Newbies as well as longtime LifeJournal customers have benefited from our free Introduction to LifeJournal Webinar. The next one is on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at noon Eastern time. At least once per month we offer an informal webinar to learn some LifeJournal skills and give you a chance to ask questions. The live hour is filled with information about best to use LJ and how it can enhance your journaling. Learn more and sign up!
- Do you meditate, or have you ever considered practicing meditation? The next IAJW members-only (International Association for Journal Writing) telechat, on Tuesday, January 24 at 7 PM Eastern, is with Dr. Beth Jacobs, who will be discussing The Compatibility of Journaling and Meditation. Beth Jacobs deeply knows both of these two self-help practices. Don’t miss this!
- Start the new year off right and boost your journaling with a class which starts soon:
- The Great Journal Experience: Six Weeks to a Deeply Satisfying Journaling Habit, which I’m teaching starts on Tuesday, January 17. The class will (re)kindle your passion for journaling offering plenty of journal food for thought through weekly assignments, and feedback from me and other classmates. Flex schedule, six weeks, rejuvenated journal writing. The last year when this class ran it filled up in a week, so sign up now!
- Mark Matousek author and teacher will be facilitating: The Untold Story starts February 14. Mark is a gifted and dedicated teacher. I hear some of the most extraordinary reports of how people’s lives have changed after working with him! Learn more and sign up here.
- Judy Reeves, author of A Writers’ Book of Days and writing provocateur, runs a monthly Online Writing Practice. You can sign up for one class at a time or for all four sessions (January 25, February 15, March 14, and April 18). These hour-long writing sessions create the occasion and support to write.
Read our two articles in this month’s newsletter: One is about how journal writing is a gift to yourself and the other is about how the Template feature works in LJ3.
Wishing you Happy Holidays, a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year, AND Happy Winter Solstice!
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PS Next month’s newsletter will include an article about reviewing your year using your journal.
Journal Writing: A Gift to Yourself
While writing in our journals, we are constantly telling ourselves stories—narrating our experiences. Sometimes we’re discovering new insights and sometimes we’re repeating our own well-worn and sometimes skewed narratives about ourselves. We hear these stories by not just being silent and allowing ourselves us to listen, but also by consciously and gently focusing on our interior thoughts.In journaling honestly, we write the story that we hear, and then, perhaps, reflect upon it.
Journaling writing is an excellent path to listening deeply. To stop the persistent chatter—the inane and never-ending talk shows or the incessant internet surfing that create background clatter for too much of our lives—takes discipline and forethought. It requires steadfastly creating and protecting the time/space to quiet down and listen deeply each to our own story.
Listening is one of the kindest things you can do with another person. It shows that you care. It shows that you respect the person who is talking, that you are interested in her story, that that person matters.
Journaling is a self-nurturing and self-respecting activity because you are listening fully, intentionally, and attentively to your own story. Especially when coming from deep listening, journal writing is a form of self-love and self-respect. Journal writing–what a wonderful gift to give yourself for the coming year!
The Template Feature in LifeJournal
The template, a new feature in LifeJournal 3, is a tool that lets you repeatedly ask and then answer a set of questions. For example, if you have a routine that you like to use in reporting the day, you might create a template that reminds you to write about the things that you want to consistently review. Or, if you record your dreams, you might have a standard set of questions that you ask yourself about each dream. Or, if you keep a phone log, or conversations with clients/patients, you might create a template with routine issues/parameters that you want to record.
Although Templates are useful if you have a repeating task that you want to execute similarly each time, alternatively, you might use a Template if you are working on an issue in which you are trying to shift your point of view. For example, suppose that your world view skews toward the negative and would like to see things from a more optimistic perspective, you may set up a template that asks questions that guide you to look for positives.
First, let’s clarify a couple of terms:
A Template is the set of questions that will appear in a journal entry. You can create a new entry with a Template.
A Templated Entry is an entry written from a Template and includes your responses to that Template.
Here’s how to create a Template:
1. Open a journal entry.
2. Write the questions that you want as your Template.
3. Go to journal entry’s File menu>Save and a dialog appears.
4. Give the entry a Title (in this case My Own Template) and select Save as Template.
5. You’ll note when you open a journal entry that is a template–just the set of questions–it has (template) in the journal entry title bar, as shown below.
Here’s how to create a new entry from a Template:
1. From the application menu go to the File menu>New Entry from Template.
2. A dialog box appears, called Create New Entry from Template, as shown below.
3. Select the Journal Type from the left and select a Journal Template from the right. In this case (see the screenshot above) I’m selecting a Daily Journal Type and My Own Template.
4. Click the OK button, and the Templated Entry will open, as shown below, where you can answer the questions.
Over time, you may want to search for all journal entries which are answers to the same Template. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see how you have answered those questions over several months to see whether they change or remain the same? This is another way to find your life patterns within LifeJournal.
Here are two ways to find your Templated Entries. In both ways, the Templated Entries will be listed in the Journal Explorer.
A. If you want to search by ONLY ONE template (that is find all entries answering the questions of the same Template):
1. Click the Templates tab on the left pane of the Journal Explorer, and click a particular Template listed.
2. All of your Templated Entries will appear in the right pane of the Journal Explorer.
B. If you want to search using MULTIPLE templates:
1. Click the Search button on the application toolbar, and the Advanced Search dialog appears.
2. Under Template, select as many Templates as you’d like, and click the Search button. All Entries that were written as Templated Entries will appear in the right side of the Journal Explorer.
How to find the Templates in the Journal Explorer:
- Open the Journal Explorer and within the right pane, right click, and select Show Templates and deselect Journal Entries*.
- Click the Show All button in the bottom left of the Journal Explorer.
- All of the Templates will appear on the right pane of the Journal Explorer in blue font.
*NOTE: You don’t necessarily have to deselect Journal Entries, but if you don’t, your Journal Entries will appear on the list (in black) along with the Templates (in blue).
“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”–Epictetus
“There is an immense, painful longing for a broader, more flexible, fuller, more coherent, more comprehensive account of what we human beings are, who we are and what this life is for.”–Saul Bellow