LifeJournal™ Newsletter – February 2011


This month marks the 10 year anniversary of the LifeJournal newsletter in which I’ve written about a broad array of ideas to enrich your journaling. To celebrate this milestone I’m discounting (by almost 20%!) the annual subscription for the International Association for Journal Writing for the next two days–but just for you, LifeJournal newsletter subscribers!

Rather than $49 annually—the cost to you will be $39.95, but only until Wednesday, March 2, at midnight eastern time.  (And rumor has it that the annual membership price for IAJW will be going up in the near future. So, if you have ever considered joining IAJW this will be the lowest price.)

One of the pleasures I have writing this newsletter is to introduce you to some of highest level and most creative thinkers in the journaling world.  I love doing the research to find and connect with these outstanding people, and it’s a bonus when I am able to deliver their expertise right to your emailbox! If you want to inject new energy into your life through writing and expand your journaling–far beyond what you thought yourself capable–check out the following:

I recently interviewed Christina Baldwin–one of the first journal writing teachers in the world!—as part of the International Association for Journal Writing telechat series. (If you’re a member, you can listen to that recording of the telechat.  If you’re not yet a member, join now!).

I was reminded about what a classic her book Life’s Companion: Journal Writing as Spiritual Practice is, and decided to review it for you this month. See the article below.

Keep on writing, discovering, and creating,

Ruth Folit – LifeJournal software  (Click the “Like” button!) – The International Association for Journal Writing
A Review of a Classic Journaling Book, Life’s Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Practice, by Christina Baldwin

Life’s Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Practice is one of the classic books about journal writing, one that will provide new insights for even longtime journal writers. Published in 1990, if you haven’t read it, I recommend it.  And if you have read it, it’s worth re-reading.

Christina starts with a straightforward description of journal writing as a spiritual quest*:

“The spiritual journey is the one trip we are all taking together.  You may be in a bookstore, a grocery store, at a restaurant or home in bed.  Whatever you think you’re doing, whatever else you identify as happening, you are also somewhere in the middle of your spiritual quest.  The spiritual quest is that part of life which is the path within the path.  Spirituality is the sacred center out of which all life comes, including Mondays and Tuesdays and rainy Saturday afternoons in all their mundane and glorious detail.
The spiritual journey is what the soul is up to while we attend to daily living. The spiritual journey is the soul’s life commingling with ordinary life. The fabric tears: the soul see Monday, Monday sees the soul.

The purpose of the book is to facilitate the commingling between spiritual and ordinary life, to allow you to see both aspects more clearly and to live both aspects more fully.  And the easiest, most efficient and delightful way I know to watch these levels of life commingle is to write down the details and stories of your quest as you go.

Writing makes a map, and there is something about a journey that begs to have its passage marked.”

The format of this book is rich and engaging.  The right pages hold the narrative, the theory, the examples and description. The left pages weave in writing exercises, quotations, specific examples, and directions.

Christina identifies the four major practices of living a spiritual life: love, forgiveness, acceptance and trust. She spends a chapter each on those four cornerstones of a spiritual life, filled with thought-provoking stories, alongside stimulating questions and exercises. If you are in need for some practical thinking in these spiritual arenas of your life, take a look at those sections.

Although the book isn’t a memoir you get to know Christina through her life anecdotes.  One of my favorite stories that she tells—and you can see her connection to the spiritual begins early—is the following which took place in her midwestern home in the early 1950s*:

 “When I was about five, I spent an intense Sunday afternoon with my crayons, hunched over a large piece of shelf paper on the living-room floor. My mother walked in and asked me what I was drawing. ‘A picture of God,’ I told her.‘Oh, dear…’  She squatted down to explain.  ‘Nobody knows what God looks like.

I was not disturbed in the slightest.  ‘They will,’ I told her, ‘as soon as I’m done drawing.!’”

Christina’s book is a perfect guiding light helping you find your own path in this mysterious, wonder-filled, and sometimes difficult process of life. She helps you draw your own picture of the sacred—something that we each must do for ourselves to make greater meaning of our lives.

*from Life’s Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Practice, 1990, with permission from Christina Baldwin.


End Quotes:

“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.”–Christina Baldwin

“Nobody can counsel you and help you, nobody. There is only one single way. Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you write, find out whether it is spreading out its root in the deepest place of your heart….Delve into yourself for a deep answer…then build your life according to this necessity.” –Rainer Maria Rilke

“How we remember, what we remember, and why we remember form the most personal map of our individuality.” –Christina Baldwin

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