Many of the individuals that I work with tell me that they journal every day as a personal practice. I often hear, “I just write the same old story, or I write about what I have done for the day. How do I go deeper with my journaling process?” Sometimes I also hear, “I write about all of the terrible things in my life, I can’t seem to move beyond these feelings”.
When I mention visual journaling as a possibility, many people seem intimidated by this. “Oh, I’m not an artist”, they say.
A big part of my work is helping people to become more comfortable with their own creative expression. To help people understand that this process is extremely personal - not meant to be compared, judged, criticized, or critiqued. Words cannot describe all of our experiences. Visual journaling is simply a process where the journal becomes a container for us to express what we are feeling in the moment, and also a mirror so that we can become more self-aware by literally seeing the energy creating our life so that we can make changes as needed. This process goes deeper than words, to the root of the heavy or blocked feelings.
Once we have created an image to express the depth of our feelings, we are able to use written words to express what the image reminds us of and means to us, and also journal about what guidance the image gives us in making changes. We can ask the image questions and as we feel the answers coming through we can write to express what our inner wisdom is telling us. We will know we are following our inner guidance when we can feel the truth in our hearts.
Once this clearing process is being used comfortably, we can then connect to our imagination and create images to represent the feelings that we would like to be feeling. We are able to create new solutions and possibilities for ourselves that we may not have discovered had we not taken the time to try this process.
Tips to begin your visual journaling process:
1. Get a journal with blank, unlined pages
2. Gather writing and drawing materials (whatever you are comfortable with)
3. Commit to 15-30 minutes each day to this process if possible
4. Create a safe space where you will be uninterrupted
5, Light a candle if possible
6. Be open, see this as a journey that you are going to take, be curious
7. Set an intention to connect to your authentic voice
8. Remember there is no right or wrong way to do this
9. Express in colors, lines, or shapes what you are feeling
10. While looking at this image, write about what it reminds you of, what it connects to
11. Share your drawings and writing with someone you trust
Remember: Visual journaling is different than art journaling. Your expression does not need to look like a work of art. It may simply be a few smears of color to represent what you are feeling in that moment. Visual journaling involves using your inner vision to imagine what a thought, feeling, or emotional reaction would look like if it were expressed as a color, shape, or image. Images can express these feelings with a depth that words cannot achieve.