LifeJournal™ Newsletter – July 2011

 

First, here’s an update on some exciting upcoming journal-related classes this fall, starting in September and October:

• We’re lucky to have a new class with Mark Matousek, Journal to the Sacred: Discover your Wisdom Voice. Mark’s students leave his classes different people than when they started. The class begins September 13. Learn more and join!

Judy Reeves is back with her once a month Writing Practice.  The first monthly practice is on Wednesday, September 14; there’s one session every month this fall. This dynamite hour will ignite your writing!  Learn more and join.

• And Sheila Bender continues with her one-on-one tutorial called A Shot of Journal Juice, an incredible opportunity to work with a cracker-jack writing coach. Give this one-week class a shot!  Your writing will be catapulted to a higher level!

NOTE: All of the classes offer discounts to International Association for Journal Writing members. Joining IAJW is well worth the $49/year.  Not only does IAJW membership give you a discount for every class you take, but you have access whenever you want to all kinds of inspiring, informative, and interactive articles, telechats, video, visual prompts and more all about journaling. Guaranteed to expand and deepen your journal writing. Learn more at www.IAJW.org.  

This month the LifeJournal newsletter focuses on writing and spirituality.  The first article is a general one that I wrote about journaling and spirituality and the second article offers more detail and is an excerpt of an interview I did with author and IAJW Journal Council member Mark Matousek. Mark has written a half a dozen books–several bestsellers includingWhen You Are Falling, Dive! and the spiritual memoir Sex, Death, Enlightenment.  Mark is an superb writer, clear and articulate thinker, and brilliant teacher who focuses on the subject of spirituality.  Read below about what he thinks about how spirituality and writing dovetail.

Keep writing, stay aware, and create goodness in the world,

Ruth

Ruth Folit
www.lifejournal.com – LifeJournal software
www.facebook.com/LifeJournalSoftware (Click the “LIKE” button!)
www.IAJW.org – The International Association for Journal Writing
blog.lifejournal.com

Journaling and Spirituality

by Ruth Folit

Spirituality is about big questions: Who am I? Why do I exist? Is there a Divine Force/God/ Source? And if so, what are its defining characteristics and how do I connect with it?

These questions are vast and tough to grasp. To me, wrestling with these questions feels like trying to hold a cupful of water with bare hands: It just slips away, seeping through the tiny crevices between fingers.

One container that helps the illusive nature of spirituality from running through your fingers is a journal. Journaling gives you the room you need for deeply contemplating and exploring individual spiritual beliefs.  Journaling gives you the focus and the space to take this vast, mysterious subject and pin it down and make it more solid, fleshed out, and real.

Religious backgrounds, readings, discussion, and everyday experience build our own concepts of what spiritual principles we believe in and want to practice.  Our own spiritual beliefs evolve and shift with the hair-pin turns and the unexpected and sometimes steep ups-and-downs of life.  There’s no better way to both track your inner spiritual journey and also intentionally create and nurture it than to write about it.  Paper and pen or keyboard and computer screen are the fertile grounds to grapple with what your brand of spirituality is and what it means in your life.  First expressed in writing to begin to sort out and untangle, and then lived in life choices, you can live a life which honors what is most meaningful to you.

The more congruent you are— the more your inner world and your outer world match—the more easily your life will flow, your health and energy will radiate, and your full potential can be realized.

An Excerpt from an Interview with author and teacher Mark Matousek
about the Connection Between Journaling and Spirituality

RF:  How does journaling deepen our spiritual connection?

MM: Reaching below the mundane surface of existence in our journals, we enter a sacred dimension in which the search for truth is our guiding motivation, just as it is in spiritual practice. Both journaling and spiritual seeking get their fuel from the same perennial question, Who Am I? Know thyself — gnothi seauton — warned the Oracle of Delphi. This crucial mandate pushes journalers and spiritual seekers to deepen their connection to Source (God or Self) in the quest for self-discovery (and enlightenment). Both endeavors are driven by the love of truth, which awakens and sets us free when we articulate it.

Also, the discipline of journal practice is an ideal entrée to meditation, prayer, and even yoga.  Introspective writing prepares the mental ground for centering practices of all kinds, which is why some of our greatest journal writers (from Augustine to Anaïs Nin) have been dedicated spiritual practitioners.  The two endeavors go hand in hand, feeding, enriching, informing, and broadening one another.  I would argue that journaling is, in its essence, a spiritual act since its twin aims are wisdom and liberation of a psychological nature.

RF:   Spirituality at times seems illusive and ethereal, and at other times feels immediate and enveloping. Can journaling help bring these two seemingly separate and different qualities together?

MM: Journaling helps us ground spirituality in the mind and body.  By bringing us into the present moment, and teaching us to use what Zen Buddhists call “beginner’s mind,” journal practice reminds us to pay attention to the here and now, to observe what is actually happening around us, and to explore our inner lives from the platform of the present tense.  There is nothing elusive or ethereal about genuine spiritual awareness.  When students ask me how they can know when they are telling the whole truth (the alpha and omega of spiritual wisdom), I always tell them that they can feel it in their bodies.  There’s a ‘ping’ in the center of chest when we tell the truth, out loud or on paper.  We feel lightened, clarified, and exhilarated when we touch upon the authentic in ourselves and others.  This quality is palpable and recognizable – not occult, esoteric, or mysterious – and teaches us to recognize (and long for) authenticity in all areas of our lives.

Also, by articulating numinous qualities (such as faith and mystery) in words, we make these qualities real for ourselves. The human mind uses language to connect to itself to experience, and to understand the complex nature of our many-layered lives.  Armed with language, we can create stories to explain ourselves TO ourselves, thus assembling a workable, personal narrative – a language-hewn mirror in which to observe, critique, and improve ourselves.  Journaling is the most immediate, intimate, and effective tool that we have for discovering spirituality in our everyday lives and recognizing our original nature in the midst of (and underneath) what we reveal to the world.

End Quotes:

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.”–Carl Sagan

“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.”–Stephen Covey
~~~~~~~

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    1. classes this fall, starting in September and October:

• We’re lucky to have a new class with Mark Matousek, Journal to the Sacred: Discover your Wisdom Voice. Mark’s students leave his classes different people than when they started. The class begins September 13. Learn more and join!

Judy Reeves is back with her once a month Writing Practice.  The first monthly practice is on Wednesday, September 14; there’s one session every month this fall. This dynamite hour will ignite your writing!  Learn more and join.

• I’m so pleased to announce a new and exciting class with Ann MaiselcalledWrite Your Way to Better Parenting! Whether you are a parent of a toddler, a pre- or full-blown adolescent, or a grown-up, this online class will enrich your relationship with your child. There’s no job more important (and tricky!) than parenting. This class starts October 11. Learn more and join us!

• And Sheila Bender continues with her one-on-one tutorial called A Shot of Journal Juice, an incredible opportunity to work with a cracker-jack writing coach. Give this one-week class a shot!  Your writing will be catapulted to a higher level!

NOTE: All of the classes offer discounts to International Association for Journal Writing members. Joining IAJW is well worth the $49/year.  Not only does IAJW membership give you a discount for every class you take, but you have access whenever you want to all kinds of inspiring, informative, and interactive articles, telechats, video, visual prompts and more all about journaling. Guaranteed to expand and deepen your journal writing. Learn more at www.IAJW.org.  

This month the LifeJournal newsletter focuses on writing and spirituality.  The first article is a general one that I wrote about journaling and spirituality and the second article offers more detail and is an excerpt of an interview I did with author and IAJW Journal Council member Mark Matousek. Mark has written a half a dozen books–several bestsellers includingWhen You Are Falling, Dive! and the spiritual memoir Sex, Death, Enlightenment.  Mark is an superb writer, clear and articulate thinker, and brilliant teacher who focuses on the subject of spirituality.  Read below about what he thinks about how spirituality and writing dovetail.
Keep writing, stay aware, and create goodness in the world,

Ruth

Ruth Folit
www.lifejournal.com – LifeJournal software
www.facebook.com/LifeJournalSoftware (Click the “LIKE” button!)
www.IAJW.org – The International Association for Journal Writing
blog.lifejournal.com

Journaling and Spirituality
by Ruth Folit

Spirituality is about big questions: Who am I? Why do I exist? Is there a Divine Force/God/ Source? And if so, what are its defining characteristics and how do I connect with it?

These questions are vast and tough to grasp. To me, wrestling with these questions feels like trying to hold a cupful of water with bare hands: It just slips away, seeping through the tiny crevices between fingers.

One container that helps the illusive nature of spirituality from running through your fingers is a journal. Journaling gives you the room you need for deeply contemplating and exploring individual spiritual beliefs.  Journaling gives you the focus and the space to take this vast, mysterious subject and pin it down and make it more solid, fleshed out, and real.

Religious backgrounds, readings, discussion, and everyday experience build our own concepts of what spiritual principles we believe in and want to practice.  Our own spiritual beliefs evolve and shift with the hair-pin turns and the unexpected and sometimes steep ups-and-downs of life.  There’s no better way to both track your inner spiritual journey and also intentionally create and nurture it than to write about it.  Paper and pen or keyboard and computer screen are the fertile grounds to grapple with what your brand of spirituality is and what it means in your life.  First expressed in writing to begin to sort out and untangle, and then lived in life choices, you can live a life which honors what is most meaningful to you.

The more congruent you are— the more your inner world and your outer world match—the more easily your life will flow, your health and energy will radiate, and your full potential can be realized.

An Excerpt from an Interview with author and teacher Mark Matousek
about the Connection Between Journaling and Spirituality

RF:  How does journaling deepen our spiritual connection?

MM: Reaching below the mundane surface of existence in our journals, we enter a sacred dimension in which the search for truth is our guiding motivation, just as it is in spiritual practice. Both journaling and spiritual seeking get their fuel from the same perennial question, Who Am I? Know thyself — gnothi seauton — warned the Oracle of Delphi. This crucial mandate pushes journalers and spiritual seekers to deepen their connection to Source (God or Self) in the quest for self-discovery (and enlightenment). Both endeavors are driven by the love of truth, which awakens and sets us free when we articulate it.

Also, the discipline of journal practice is an ideal entrée to meditation, prayer, and even yoga.  Introspective writing prepares the mental ground for centering practices of all kinds, which is why some of our greatest journal writers (from Augustine to Anaïs Nin) have been dedicated spiritual practitioners.  The two endeavors go hand in hand, feeding, enriching, informing, and broadening one another.  I would argue that journaling is, in its essence, a spiritual act since its twin aims are wisdom and liberation of a psychological nature.

RF:   Spirituality at times seems illusive and ethereal, and at other times feels immediate and enveloping. Can journaling help bring these two seemingly separate and different qualities together?

MM: Journaling helps us ground spirituality in the mind and body.  By bringing us into the present moment, and teaching us to use what Zen Buddhists call “beginner’s mind,” journal practice reminds us to pay attention to the here and now, to observe what is actually happening around us, and to explore our inner lives from the platform of the present tense.  There is nothing elusive or ethereal about genuine spiritual awareness.  When students ask me how they can know when they are telling the whole truth (the alpha and omega of spiritual wisdom), I always tell them that they can feel it in their bodies.  There’s a ‘ping’ in the center of chest when we tell the truth, out loud or on paper.  We feel lightened, clarified, and exhilarated when we touch upon the authentic in ourselves and others.  This quality is palpable and recognizable – not occult, esoteric, or mysterious – and teaches us to recognize (and long for) authenticity in all areas of our lives.

Also, by articulating numinous qualities (such as faith and mystery) in words, we make these qualities real for ourselves. The human mind uses language to connect to itself to experience, and to understand the complex nature of our many-layered lives.  Armed with language, we can create stories to explain ourselves TO ourselves, thus assembling a workable, personal narrative – a language-hewn mirror in which to observe, critique, and improve ourselves.  Journaling is the most immediate, intimate, and effective tool that we have for discovering spirituality in our everyday lives and recognizing our original nature in the midst of (and underneath) what we reveal to the world.

End Quotes: