What is the most useful journaling exercise?

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ertyu
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What is the most useful journaling exercise?

Post by ertyu »

I appear to have come into the possession of quite a lot of writing paper (it was part of the hoarder stash of the previous owner of my place). Which made me think of the best way to use it.

Is there a journaling exercise you thought was interesting that you read about? Did you do a journaling exercise that was particularly useful to you and resulted in valuable insight? Any recommendations? Given that I have come into a lot of writing paper, I have decided to commit about an hour a day for the next 6 months (or until it is time to leave my country of origin to go earn cash again). What do you recommend?

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figmenter
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Re: What is the most useful journaling exercise?

Post by figmenter »

I have been doing daily morning pages for almost three years now. It's a practice I picked up from Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. It involves writing three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness early in the morning. I typically write just after waking up in the morning.

I rarely read my writings back. It's not necessary. The act of writing is a meditation. It helps me get below the froth of daily life and in touch with the things that really matter to me.

This video helped me get more clarity on the whole process.

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Alphaville
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Re: What is the most useful journaling exercise?

Post by Alphaville »

a lot of paper? live in a tallish building?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KqjRPV9_PY

you could combine these with exquisite corpses and see what happens in the neighborhood :D

anyway, re:journaling, many years ago i used to do "morning pages" from that artist way method. i wrote like a maniac every morning but i can't say that it was good. all i'd accomplish was to rattle the noise in my head instead of getting beyond it.

--

eta: one form of journaling i've found helpful, though i don't do it always or in writing, is to list things one is grateful for before zzzzzzz at night

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: What is the most useful journaling exercise?

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Bullet journals are a thing. I don't know anything about them other than they seem really complicated and designed to get you to buy expensive pens, ink, and notebooks using amazon links. :lol: Just being cynical, something to look into, especially if you are the arts/crafts type.

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Alphaville
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Re: What is the most useful journaling exercise?

Post by Alphaville »

Gilberto de Piento wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:33 am
Bullet journals are a thing. I don't know anything about them other than they seem really complicated and designed to get you to buy expensive pens, ink, and notebooks using amazon links. :lol: Just being cynical, something to look into, especially if you are the arts/crafts type.
i used to think that, but then talked to @nunc fluens, who keeps one.

turns out at its core it's just.... checkists :lol: (@nunc fluens does no decoratin', makes very minimalist pages, i've witnessed)

ertyu
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Re: What is the most useful journaling exercise?

Post by ertyu »

The original creator of the bullet journal is an adhd dude whose system is fairly uncomplicated. He has a popular youtube video which explains his method (will not link it here bc it's one of the top in the genre and easily searched for). He keeps literal, plain lists. He is explicit about making the point that frills are optional. I think he likes it that people have found a way to enjoy his method, but also comes across a bit sad at how the artsy-craftsy youtube videos have lead people to believe that bullet journaling is about the fancy pens and pretty lettering as this seems to alienate many people who would otherwise benefit from employing his method of staying organized.

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: What is the most useful journaling exercise?

Post by Dream of Freedom »

I don't know if you would call it journaling but I sometimes make a list of 5 things to start doing and 5 things to stop doing. It seems to work for most small things. Less well with big items. It's still worth doing in my opinion.

Of course written goals are a good exercise too.

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Alphaville
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Re: What is the most useful journaling exercise?

Post by Alphaville »

so u no like paper planes? :D

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Alphaville
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Re: What is the most useful journaling exercise?

Post by Alphaville »


ertyu
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Re: What is the most useful journaling exercise?

Post by ertyu »

Lol Alphaville all like, fuck journaling, life is short, make paper shapes :lol:.

@figmenter, I watched the video and did 3 morning pages today and had a more productive day than normal. So far, this is not a causal connection: it's possible i could get myself to do the 3 pages bc it was going to be a relatively good depression day to start with. But I will keep with the exercise.

@DoF, what sort of thing is "small" for this purpose? Is "brush my teeth regularly" big or small for instance. What sorts of things are a good example to include in your type of list?

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: What is the most useful journaling exercise?

Post by Dream of Freedom »

Well I usually try to tie it to another event to act as a trigger. It's not always possible, but it's a built-in reminder to do it when you can.

It wouldn't be a place for say: stop facebook addiction, start running a mile a day, start applying for work, start renovation. Those type of things require dedicated and sustained effort. They are goals not minor habits. An example would be something like this:

Start:

1 Brushing my teeth after morning piss
2 wearing safety glasses when working in the garage
3 drinking water before dinner
4 putting my keys on the hook when I get home
5 listening to downloaded lectures

Stop:

1 turning on the computer as soon as I get home
2 sleeping with the light on
3 listening to podcasts so loud
4 eating by the computer
5 dragging my feet

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Alphaville
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Re: What is the most useful journaling exercise?

Post by Alphaville »

ertyu wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:59 am
Lol Alphaville all like, fuck journaling, life is short, make paper shapes :lol:.
:lol: 🍻

(in all seriousness, i did morning pages for years, but those proved somewhat of a double edged sword. therefore i prefer paper planes these days. and windmills. and ships. honest truth. i could expand upon request, but won't spam thread otherwise).

7Wannabe5
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Re: What is the most useful journaling exercise?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

I recommend a Scavenger Walk Journal. Each day you start at your front door with the intention to walk in high environmental observation mode until you successfully scavenge some number of valuable items (maybe 13.) These items can be material or information and ideas. For instance:

1) Notice on apartment bulletin board about upcoming tenant’s meeting.
2) Weed in planter. Identified as edible thistle.
3) Wool sweater in dumpster.
4) New neighbor moving in on block. Introduced myself. Her name is Francine.
5) 10 cents deposit can.
6) Mulberries.
...

But one core rule of scavenging for a hobby is that you can’t allow yourself to become a dirty hoarder, so in addition to journaling your finds and other notes on your experience that day, you have to write about your plans for processing your finds and add those plans to your calendar if you can’t process right away. For instance, you will bake a cake with the mulberries and you will do it tomorrow, and you wash the wool sweater right away and you put the tenant’s meeting on your calendar too.

I think this is a good practice for frugal people who need exercise and help with mindfulness, like me, because the more you space out, the longer you will walk, but the thrill of the find will encourage both behaviors and constitutes better than cheap entertainment.

ertyu
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Re: What is the most useful journaling exercise?

Post by ertyu »

Alphaville wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:50 pm
(in all seriousness, i did morning pages for years, but those proved somewhat of a double edged sword. therefore i prefer paper planes these days. and windmills. and ships. honest truth. i could expand upon request, but won't spam thread otherwise).
I guess every exercise has its time. Navel-gazing is useful up to a point and then becomes superfluous. What did you find were some potential pitfalls?

@DoF: thank you, these were very good examples. I understand now. I will finish the 3 morning pages with this.

@7w5: I like the scavenger walk idea even separate from the journaling. Thanks!

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Alphaville
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Re: What is the most useful journaling exercise?

Post by Alphaville »

ertyu wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:18 pm
I guess every exercise has its time. Navel-gazing is useful up to a point and then becomes superfluous. What did you find were some potential pitfalls?
ok so the morning pages come from the (neo? quasi?)-jungian new age author of the artist way.

assuming a quasi jungian model of the mind, let's say

conscious (what you know you're thinking)
--
subconscious (what you don't know you're thinking)
--
unconscious (the silence beyond the noise)

the morning pages let you reach into your subconscious and find out what you're thinking. so that maybe you can begin to hear the unconscious beneath instead of that layer of chatter chatter chatter.

you give it your attention for 45 minutes or whatever, then it leaves your mind clear. in a way it's like throwing a loaf of bread to the dragon so it leaves you alone. or like having a bowel movement and leaves you feeling clean and light hahaha.

anyway, the problem for me is that eventually the dragon wants more damn bread! because it's one thing to observe a thought and then let it go as in meditation. it's another thing altogether to fuel and reinforce a random thought by writing it.

so after some years instead of "more unconscious" i started getting "more subconscious". more stupid, noisy, greedy, disturbing, childish, automatic, repetitive, selfish, obsessive shit. i was reinforcing the chatterbox instead of leaving it behind.

Image

i suppose i could have looked at it instead and said: "oh, look at this, a sign of trouble" much like a lab technician examines a fecal sample for parasites. yes i could have done that. but at that point instead i was looking at my automatic unfiltered repetitions as... "the truth" or something. the morning pages followed me all day. imagine walking around with your specimen jar.

these days i am highly aware of the subconscious rattling in my head. but also, i prefer to quell it instead of giving it wings. if i can access the silence directly, i just access the silence. the gatekeeping dragon can go fuck himself and will receive no alms/tribute/bribes from me :lol:

so yes, for me the morning pages can show you the subconscious, but they can also keep you stuck there. tread carefully?

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