Open Minds, Open Hearts | Journaling Workshop Reflections

Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of host 25 women at a mini journal workshop preview party. I wanted to thank these women for walking with me through my studies, encouraging me to keep going, and loving me every step of the way. In pursuit of becoming a Certified Journal Facilitator, I first became a Certified Journal to the Self® Instructor—one specific and beautiful workshop. It's sometimes hard to explain exactly what it all is, so I thought a preview party would give them a better sense of it.

When I tell people that I am studying journal facilitation and therapeutic writing ("journal therapy" for licensed therapists, which I am not), I am met with a bouquet of curiosities and responses.

  • Like a diary?
  • I am not a writer. What would I write?
  • I resist journaling and wish I knew how to journal "better."
  • I don't have a thought in my head worthy of writing.

Each of these sentiments found my ears prior to Sunday's mini journal workshop from the women planning to attend. I encouraged them to keep an open mind and just come to enjoy the food, drinks, and good company. And they did! I was blown away by the willingness of each participant to at least try the three journaling techniques and prompts presented. They left their expectations and pre-judgments at the door and dove right/write in—each to the best of her own comfort level.

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I noticed one woman looking at me wide-eyed like, "WTF?! I don't articulate my feelings in words!" I had forgotten to mention to the group that doodling, drawing, collaging, painting whatever comes up offers the relief of expression too. "Doodle away if the words don't come," I said. That woman's shoulders settled back, and her pen started moving.

Two women had been most vocal about their trepidations prior to the workshop. And guess what?! They were the two most vocal about how much they loved it. For one of them, the experience sparked a book idea, and the other discovered her enjoyment of being in circle. I received several phone calls this week where one woman would ask about another woman in the group—something shared had resonated with them.

That's the magic of open minds, open hearts. When we simply show up, we might just hear exactly what we need. I'm honored to have witnessed the fruits of this group's openness. Are you interested in exploring the possibilities of journaling and doing so in community? Join me for "Spring Anew: A Journal to the Self Workshop," starting April 26th.