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A journal can serve so many purposes. There are food journals to assist with weight loss, home improvement   journals, baby keepsake  journals, and travel journals, just to name a few. I started my first journal when I was 14 simply because I wanted to remember what it was like to be that age, and realized that if I didn’t write it down, I would forget. Just recently, keeping diligent track of writing again after putting it down for so long! These simple books, filled with life’s memories, are among my most prized possessions. I was first introduced to the idea of a spiritual journal a few years ago when I began meeting with a spiritual director. I was going through a period of discernment in my life, my mother had become desperately ill and I was facing the ticking clock of her life. A friend suggested that I write down a quick list of positives and negatives for each day and record as many memories of my mother as I could. I would want to hold on to every second. This simple exercise led to a great deal solace when she died. I can look back over moments in my life with her.

A spiritual journal is only for you. Of course you may share it with whomever you wish, but ultimately this is one thing that can be entirely your own. You can shut off the “inner critic” that tells you that what you are writing is not good enough. In a journal, there is no need to worry about punctuation or spelling. Just write what comes to you.

A good way to begin journaling, especially if you are new to it, is simply to sit and write whatever comes to mind  for ten or fifteen minutes. This is a good way to get the “gunk” out. Write about your day . . . what is weighing on you, people who aggravated you, things that upset you, things that made you happy.  A simple list of phrases will do.

Here is a quick guide to how to begin.

1) Pick a journal you will feel comfortable writing in – whether it is a blank book, a simple notepad, or a computer.

2) Set aside some time. It need not be every day, but if you have an appointment with yourself to write, you will be more likely to make it a priority.

3) Write whatever comes to mind. There is no need to worry about grammaror punctuation. This is all for you!

4). Pick a passage and meditate on it. The text you choose can be a passage from Scripture, a spiritual reading, a poem, a selection of artwork, music, or a vista in nature. God can speak to us through all these things. Spend some time with the passage or item of your choosing. Sit quietly. Take it all in. React to it. Then write your reflection.

A spiritual journal can be a wonderful tool for self-discovery as well as a means of entering into a deeper relationship with God. Be open to the possibilities as you “write your heart out” and experience the transformation   spiritual journaling can bring to your life.