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Stop fantasising and start journaling

Finding your held space




Do you recognise this scene?


There we are, in our perfect cosy chair, by the perfect cosy window, chunky mug of steaming coffee or tea and us, triumphant, whimsical and windswept in our cashmere loungewear. If this isn’t our designated 'writing room,' it’s most certainly our perfect bedroom/lounge/study. In this place, we are brilliant journalers and writers.


Well, it’s time to stop fantasising and start journaling.


I know this scene well because it's my fantasy too. But this place simply doesn't exist and imagine if it did? We'd be intimidated into inaction by the pressure to perform. I've learned I can do anything if I have the right ‘held space’ for it and so can you. Held space can take the form of a particular time, place, mood, or set of circumstances.


Held space will be different for you, but let me explain how I get mine.


Other people

So first, other people. I find that writing with other people hold space best for me. That’s why I do what I do (run journaling workshops). People beat themselves up all the time because they don’t make time to journal. “I know it’s good for me but I just can’t seem to get into the habit.” This could apply to journaling, writing, meditating, exercising, you get the idea. So if other people help you, then use them and be OK with it.


Noise

I love a good noisy space to write in. I used to go to Westfield shopping centre when I lived in London, where they have comfy seats on which to rest from enthusiastic shopping activity. The noise and energy used to feed and contain me and my pen would happily thrash around on the page. Sometimes quiet is welcome, but I generally need to be in another physical space for that. And so…


Other physical spaces

If I ever stay in a hotel on my own, I find that this is a great held space. There’s something about another’s space, probably it’s something to do with the lack of distractions that remind us of all the things we should be doing, but I think it’s more than that. A space exists almost as a separate entity and when I step into it, I enter a different state. Think about a workplace and how you get into a different zone. By the way, I totally advocate a quick five minutes at work, even during a meeting (as long as you’re not running it – I speak from experience). It gives you a chance to come back to yourself and let’s face it, everyone benefits.


Time

On the subject of a quick five minutes, sometimes a quick burst of writing just before I have to do something else is the perfect held space, assuming of course the next thing isn’t something I need to prepare for. I sometimes use a timer which gives me further release.


Too much time for me – with most things – ironically acts as a deterrent. I’m sure you know what I mean. It’s a bit like being late when you have less distance to travel. Of course, I sometimes like a good long journal which tends to happen first thing in the morning when I have something to work through.


Using a timer

Containing time using a timer gives me permission to write and let go fully for ‘x’ amount of time. I often write more but I know I don’t have to. Again, I find this easier with other people, but it can work for me on my own too.


The overall point of this post is that it’s not straightforward and can be more dynamic than always writing in X place at X time. What makes a space held for me now had changed and continues to change as my life does, which is OK. I may not have cracked it when it comes to life, but I have cracked it when it comes to giving myself permission to journal as and when I like.


So get writing and enjoy the ride; however and wherever it happens.


I have lots to say on journaling and it normally comes down to doing it your way.


If there’s any doubt there, here, for the record are my overall top three journaling tips:


1. There are no journaling police. Write when you like, however much you like, about what you like and with the tools you like.

2. Give yourself permission to need other people and accountability or whatever else it is you need. Life is too short to correct all our wonderful flaws. If you get started journaling, you may just find your way around those flaws more quickly – or focus more on the things that matter – I recommend the latter.

3. Remember that you cannot do it wrong. You can only not do it. That includes changing your mind about how, when, where and what you journal with. See No.1


Let me know your journaling experiences, good, bad or ugly.

Be kind to yourself and happy writing.

CP – The Journaling Coach

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