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Creative Journaling

Many people today are experiencing the effects of change - change that often seems to be accelerating and is sometimes freely chosen and is sometimes not chosen.

Change can cause us more stress and require us to rely on our ability to tap our inner and outer resources.  Although many people have good social support in their lives, it is also important that they have the ability to tap their own inner resources.   When sailing through turbulent waters, we need to able to self-correct, stay balanced and not rock the boat.

For many people, it comes as a surprise that one's imagination is an important inner resource that is not only the source of creativity, but also has the power to help us heal and navigate our way through change.

Imagination is generally not fully appreciated in our technological and reason-based society.  There are many careers and pastimes based on imagination - storytelling, visual art, cinema, interior design, fashion, creative writing, entrepreneurship and mathematics, to list a few.

Entrepreneurship?  Mathematics?  Do we commonly recognize that entrepreneurship and mathematic require the power of imagination, just as does creating fine art and fashion?  Not generally.  Yet, even the great mathematician, Einstein, is quoted as saying," Imagination is more important that knowledge" and many entrepreneurs tout the need for imagination in navigating through the competitive world of business.

What is not generally understood is imagination's power to stimulate personal growth and healing.   Creative expression, based on imagination, is now increasingly being recognized as a way to deal with numerous stressors and to help people change. 

Today more than ever before, various forms of creative expression are employed in social service agencies and businesses to help people cope with the changes they are going through and to stimulate innovation.  There are creativity-based programs and classes in hospitals, hospices, prisons, nursing homes, schools, libraries, senior centers and work places, etc.

Everyone has the power to imagine.

You don't need to be talented or an artist in order to imagine. It is an innate ability everyone has, even though they may not have cultivated it for a while.  It is commonly believed that mental imagery, sometimes called the mind's eye, is an inherited, instinctual language from the ancient past. 

Everyone has access to this imagery through dreams.   It has been proven that all people have dreams, even though they may not remember them.  Dreams and visions are mankind's first and primary means of inner communication.  Archeologists and art historians know this from excavations of stone age graves and discoveries of cave paintings done before the beginning of language.

People have done a lot of research in the areas of sense perception and the right brain (the picturing brain and seat of imagination) and its relationship to emotions and sensations in the body.

Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain researcher featured on Oprah Winfrey, wrote about her personal experience and professional understanding of a right brain experience in her popular book called My Stroke of Insight, based on an awakening she had from a stroke that caused her to rely exclusively on her right brain.

See videos and articles regarding her experience at:



In the Creative Journaling class I teach, we will use our imaginations to vision and revision our current and future life.

Through writing, collage and drawing with simple art materials we will be expressing our current state of mind and situation, any changes and challenges we are facing and imagine a future that supports our needs and dreams.

Expressing yourself in Creative Journaling, through words and images, helps you connect with your center, often called your "authentic self", the source of your wisdom and power.  To be able to do this is the focus and purpose for Creative Journaling

Many people are fascinated when they open to the power of their imaginations.

Through painting or drawing the emotions they feel inside their bodies, a whole new world opens up to many people.  Imagination and body sensing can access a depth of feeling and awareness that words cannot capture.

Creative journaling stimulates the right brain and helps a person develop a more integrated sense of self.

It enables a person to tap both left and right brain functions by incorporating both verbal language and visual images.  It helps integrate a person's thinking with their emotions and body-sense, for greater awareness and healing.

In creative journaling a person can:

  • clarify and resolve conflicts
  • clarify ineffective patterns of belief and behavior
  • make more conscious choices
  • find new direction in life
  • develop soul wisdom and find deeper meaning in life
  • become less dependent on outer sources of support

 Creative journaling can take a person to places in themselves that verbal journaling often will not reach.

The most common method most people use to journal is to only write about daily events, thoughts and feelings.  This way of journaling can be effective, but since words and language come from the left, analytical hemisphere of our brains, words interpret our feelings but can't experience them. 

 Using words to interpret and analyze relationships and life situations can lead to distorted thinking.  Creating images filled with feeling, on the other hand, reduces ways we can defend ourselves by going to our heads instead of our hearts.

Let me tell you about a woman who learned to do creative journaling.  She had kept a written journal for years, but finally realized that it didn't allow her get into the depths of her feelings.   Words came to her easily, but she was often stuck in her intellect rather than being able to access her feelings.

Once she started doing creative journaling, she was able drop into her feelings and uncover an inner self that was inspiring to her.  Journaling in the new way brought her greater satisfaction and a new sense of aliveness.

Creative journaling classes are a stimulating and safe place to express yourself.

Journaling with others who are expressing themselves in the same way is stimulating, since you are exposed to people with similar, as well as different, experiences and life situations who are developing the same avenue of expression. 

All group member will be asked to honor each person's need for confidentiality and non-judgment .  Sharing your journaling process will be optional.  The group members will be asked to respectfully listen to anyone sharing, unless that person requests feedback of any kind.

The teacher moderates the group, not as a therapist, but as a teacher and guide in the process, setting up the journaling exercises and creating a format for optional sharing.

The teacher will offer insight into the journaling process, but will also encourage and support the participants' independence to journal as they choose.

Participants will find that they can take the Creative Journaling class over without feeling they are repeating the same material.   There will be new people and experiences to explore and there will always be something new and important that your deeper self has to show you in the creative journaling process.

You don't have to be an artist to express your imagery, you don't need any previous art experience or talent.

Everyone has the ability to express feelings and emotions in the language of imagery.  Participants in creative journaling classes may be surprised when they discover how easy it is to work with their imagery and when they learn to get past their inner critic.

 It is helpful to remember that creating images in creative journaling is not about creating "Art", with a big "A"; it is about expressing images and feelings through color shape, line, form, and texture.   Simple, natural, representations often express meaning in ways complex representations do not.  Visual gestures, scribbles, even stick figures can often perfectly express feelings and soul.

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