Monday, February 24, 2014

Dump Journaling and Creativity - The Art of Making Art

I have mixed feelings about releasing oneself through dump journaling when it comes to encouraging creativity.  Many artists swear by this technique and write their morning pages and empty themselves of negativity.  The reason I have such a difficult time with this concept is that by "dump journaling" you begin your day with negativity which, to me, can cause a flow of negativity to begin and not end.  You begin your day by filling pages with all that is wrong instead of all that is right.  Journaling can be a double edged sword.  Yes, we do need to face our demons.  Yes, we need to rid ourselves of what is negative, but to begin our day with our fears, our sorrows, and our dashed dreams seems counter productive to me. 

I often journal about my problems.  I begin with the phrase:  What I know.  At this point I state what I know about my worries and concerns.  As I write, I begin to realize that what I had feared most, simply can't or won't happen.  What I know or what I fear are two different things.  At this point, I add another column to my writing:  What I fear.  Many of the things I listed in my what I know column are moved over there.  Usually there is not much left under what I know. 

Fear is our greatest impediment.  We fear the unknown.  We fear what might happen in twenty or thirty years, if things keep going the same way.  Fear causes anxiety and stress.  The problems we face are often extraordinary and difficult, and I do use journaling to help me through each day, however, to me, timing and structure are everything.

Let's recap:
What I know

What I fear

Now, let's add another category.  What can I do?

Many times there is absolutely nothing we can do except to wait and hope.  Hope is a powerful emotion that helps us through times of stress and anxiety.  Sometimes hope feels so tiny that we wonder if there is any at all, but always, there is hope.  Problems will resolve themselves, eventually, maybe not in the way we had hoped they would resolve, but they will resolve.  We can use the resolution to learn and grow, or we can allow ourselves to become bitter and resentful.  That's a choice we need to make.  We can dump journal all day long, and if we are full of anger, that's all that we will find.  Emotions are the last part of the problem to resolve.  Those emotions can stick with us for a long time, but the hope is that each day brings new  beginning and more healing to us.  Sometimes, the healing is small, but it is there. 

When we wake up each day, we don't need to dump journal we need to sit and list, for ten minutes or so, all of the good we have in our lives.  Ask yourself, did you get a good night's sleep?  If you did, begin with that on your list.  Do I have shoes to wear?  If the answer is yes, add that to your list.  Do I make a good cup of coffee?  If the answer is yes, add that to your list.  Soon you will come to recognize, that in spite of your problems, your fears, and your worries, you have so much that is good in your life.  Begin your day with what is good.  This gives you strength to walk through a troubled day.  Cling to goodness.  Later, when you need to, and I can almost assure you that you will need to do this, take 5-10 minutes and dump journal.  When your time is finished,  rip those pages up or delete that from your computer.  You've said it.  You've written it.  You might or might not have found a solution, then let that solution come later.  Let it go.  Do not dwell on your problem.  Store it in the trash or delete it.  Let it go.  You can battle the demons later, when you have to do battle them.  By limiting your time spent in negativity, you can those demons with a calm mind and heart. 

The final step to clearing the air is to quickly write down 2-3 things that are good in your life and might make you smile.  Give yourself that gift.  Remember, it is a gift.

Life is not for sissies. There are so many days that I  want to go back to bed, but I know that if I
do, fear has won.  By surrounding myself with the positive, I make myself ready for my day.  So, World, look out, I'm here! I might be afraid, but I'm not going to give up.  I have hope, and  no matter what life throws at me, I have hope.  From hope springs peace of mind and body.  When I am at peace, creativity has a path to flow. 

2 comments:

Sharon Driscoll said...

Well, there just isn't any other way to say this, I love you Hoffman!

Deb said...

Awww - I've never thought of morning pages as dump journaling, rather I've just looked at it in the way Julia Cameron intended as a brain drain - 3 pages of mindless writing flowing out with not much thought put into it.
I often found mine resembled a wish list though - but that was never negative, rather something to work towards.
That said I only ever did them way back when I first bought the book "The Artists Way"- back at the turn of the century.lol!

Personally I'd rather write at night & go to sleep thinking on all the blessings from each & every day. Keep on, keeping on Ms M - I'm with you, be positive, face your fears (kick the buggers in the shins even!) & make art.