by Hillary Rain
Somewhere in my apartment I have a worn, sagging box stuffed with old journals. It was a routine I fell in love with around twelve ... me, tucked under a blanket or a tree with a pencil and clean bare pages waiting for my heart. And oh how I spilled my messy heart. Those pages didn't judge me, I learned, no matter how vigorously I judged myself. They cradled it all—my ecstasy and my grief, prayers and dreams and all the dark nights of the soul that a young woman could hold.
I'm getting close to the deep end of my thirties now and couldn't tell you the last time I curled up under a tree with a pen. And I miss it! As a passionate word alchemist I love weaving syllables online but no matter where my writing life takes me there is something healing, humble, and earthy about a girl and her journal. I want to resurrect her. And I'd love for you to join me for a new creative ritual dedicated to to the heart.
If you've never journaled before or if you've lost the habit, it's so simple to begin again! All you need is a pen and a blank page and the willingness to show up vulnerably for yourself. If words feel awkward or jumbly, or if the thought of writing intimidates you, grab your favorite magazine, a glue stick, and some scissors—and paste in whatever calls to your spirit. I have some wonderful friends who have turned the practice of art journaling into a gorgeous lifestyle! There is no right or wrong way—my simple guidance is to follow your joy. Pick a method that doesn't feel overwhelming or like work or that takes too much preparation. You want to look forward to journaling. Give yourself permission to be messy!
To begin a new writing ritual, you will need elements such as ...
- a pen. Find one you love! This is important. You want the ink to flow smoothly to minimize hand fatigue and allow you to focus on being present with your heart.
- a journal. This could be a lined notebook or a vintage book with gesso'd pages, or a hand-bound journal from Italy. What works best is whatever you'll continue to use, whether you toss it into your boho bag as you head out for coffee or whether you get cozy before bedtime.
- incense or a candle. There is something ceremonial about lighting incense or a candle. It's like opening a portal for yourself and then slipping through. Do it at the beginning of your writing time to remind yourself that you are showing up for yourself and inviting your heart to spill.
- something nourishing to drink. Brew a pot of herbal tea or coffee, have a sparkling carafe of water close, and stay refreshed.
- a snack. This will keep your energy going as you write. Sliced apples, raw nuts, carrots and hummus—make a lovely little plate full of nurturing life as you nurture your heart-life through self-expression.
- an element of nature. If the weather approves, I love to keep the window or door open to embrace sunshine and light.
- a quiet moment to become contemplative and centered. Because of my schedule, the best times for me are the hush times of day ... early morning or late at night. What works best for you?
A ritual is something I consider sacred and try to engage holistically—mind, body, heart, spirit—so I can absorb and experience everything it has to offer. By including the elements I suggested you will be showing yourself that you will nourish and care for yourself as you tap into the quiet, hidden rooms inside your heart. Sometimes you'll be surprised at what you'll find. Writing in a journal is different from “regular” writing because here is where you can be yourself—intimate, messy, vulnerable, uncensored. Here is where you can capture all the dust that stirs up when you dive deep to sift for jewels on the ocean floor. Allow tenderness to be part of this process ... self-care and love as you show up to stand witness to your own beautiful heart.