Do you reread your journals? And, if you do why?
There are certain times when I find myself drawn to go back into the pages of a journal to see what I’ve written or to find a line to use as a prompt when I’m stuck for what to put on the blank page of today’s journal entry.
At the end of the year I go back through my journals for the previous 12 months. I will often circle, underline, highlight entries that “jump” off the page. It is a wandering through the musings of my mind to revisit, re/member, and remind myself of where I’ve been, who I am, and maybe even to get a glimpse of where I’m going.
I see a spiritual director on a monthly basis. There have been times when I was a blank slate about what I wanted to address with her during our time together. I go back through the previous month’s entries, underlining, circling, highlighting words that catch my eye or pull at my heart. I mark things that draw out a question. Those are the beginnings of our conversation.
One time I took those marked entries and typed them out, double spaced, poem like and read that to her. It went from the circling, spiraling thought pattern my mind operates out of to having clarity of where I was in the middle of that messy place.
One of the books on my shelf is Harvesting Your Journals: Writing Tools to Enhance Your Growth & Creativity by Rosalie Deer Heart and Allison Strickland. It’s a good resource, full of suggestions, on how to harvest, deepen, sow, and find hidden patterns in the line after line of written pages of a journal. Because I think (and often write) in circular, spiral patterns a guide book is a welcome tool.
One other way I harvest is to only write on the right side page. I leave the left side blank. Yes, I go through a journal twice as fast. That’s why I buy more than one at a time. I always have a blank one waiting on the shelf. By leaving the left page blank I can go back and pull out those snippets, those underlined phrases, words or connections my mind makes. In a way it helps me to put one or two of those spiraling, swirling thoughts over by itself and “begin again” from there.
So, wander around on those pages. Remember, “not all who wander are lost.”. Mark that journal up, use a guidebook if you need one to give you some direction. Who knows what nuggets of gold you’ll find to start the next blank page.