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Journaling for Health - JFH

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

I tell my clients to bring a journal when they come for Reiki, and like myself, many resist, question why, ask me how and then they just can’t start for a few weeks or months until they truly begin to see why it is so important. When we write down our ideas we have them in a safe place we can come back to and we no longer need to work so hard to retain the memories in our mind. We also release the thoughts so we can truly enjoy the moment. But why a journal at a Reiki session? Because I am able to read a lot in your energy field and you're going to want to jot things down. I find ideas that will take you on a journey of healing if you take them to heart and do the real work. For some clients this means looking at a problem from a new perspective. For other clients it means tapping into some repressed memories. For many clients it means connecting their physical and energy signs or symptoms to their emotional and spiritual lives. For most clients it means writing down a list of a key points to research or consider later because perhaps they just don't have time now, or they are not quite ready to tackle the job of healing that issue. A lot of clients say they are not writers, they don't have a clue what to write down. That's okay. I show them my first journal where the first line says, "Theresa told me to journal and I don't know what to do." Then I colored a little, wrote my name a lot, and doodled. Other entries are lists of words, some are letters to people I miss or letters to people who've hurt me. Some are sad. Some are bitter or downright angry and full of rage. Some are pure joy and gratitude. Some are notes on research about mind-body connections or dusty old memories or remnants of dreams and what they mean to me. Some are simply lists of things I need to do. After about 6 months of regular journaling I began to write smaller and with more purpose. I stopped coloring and drawing unless I went back and found tiny empty spaces. I started to go back and re-read things to have more clarity. I began to underline things and place tabs where I need to come back to look at important ideas. I began to carry a second, smaller journal in my car so I could jot things down at any moment. Ok, but why is this “journaling” integral to healing? Because when we begin to write down our thoughts, and move them out of our mind, there is new space for more thoughts and ideas come to the forefront. Eventually as our brain begins to process and analyze our thoughts, we find connections between current events and past experiences that we did not know existed. We are able to write down how we feel about a current situation and recall a past memory of the same feeling which is connected and needs to be healed. When we have an idea ruminating in our mind it can sit there for days, weeks, even months or years. When we actually journal our ideas we begin to do the hard work. By writing them down we acknowledge the ideas. We validate ourselves by giving the ideas real life on paper. We can now see the ideas manifested in words and truly admit our thoughts and truly experience the feelings. We can let out the rage and anger in a safe place. When we do this we can we can finally let go of the secondary layer and discover what lies beneath - find out what sadness, hurt or grief initiated the anger. After we find those we can finally work though the painful parts. We can actually say goodbye to lost family, friends, lost ideas, lost hopes and lost expectations. We can acknowledge our pain, acknowledge our part, and we can acknowledge who hurt us and how. We can then begin the process of forgiving. In forgiving ourselves for allowing the pain to occur, we deepen our understanding and acceptance of ourselves. We allow ourselves to have empathy and see how we truly did our best with what we knew at the time. In giving ourselves this gift we give ourselves acceptance and love. Then we are in a position to do the same for the people and situations that hurt us, for we cannot love or forgive others until we truly love and forgive ourselves. It is in the writing of these thoughts and feelings and allowing ourselves to thoroughly go through the process that we find the lessons. We learn why and how we were hurt and we identify our coping mechanisms and tools; we realize what mechanisms we no longer need and what new mechanisms we can adopt to keep ourselves safe. At this time we can release the residual painful parts and promise ourselves that moving forward we will use the newly discovered lessons and our life will be better. In essence, through writing in our journal we allow ourselves to truly process our feelings and our thoughts and we allow ourselves to heal.

- Karen Lentz, RMT

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