When you take a deep dive into your journal you stand to come up with all sorts of answers to your problems. Or ideas of awesome-ness to bring into the world.
Then you have a choice to make. What will you do with the dreams that sit on your pages?
They can stay on the pages of your journal, sitting there patiently, well-behaved, happy ideas that perch on the precipice, not sure if they should jump into reality, or keep still in the land of safety.
Remember Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss? I love the part about the waiting room. You can get stuck in the waiting room, waiting for your hair to grow, waiting for the snow to snow.
Or you can get moving. The first step can be as simple as picking that pen up again and figuring out what your first action will be.
Want to write a book? Open a file on your computer, set your timer for ten minutes, and write down your general idea.
Own a bakery? Bake your best recipes and bring them to the Farmer’s Market to see how you do.
Longing to sing on stage? Find an open mic night or even record yourself singing and post it on YouTube and other social media sites to share with friends.
Choose one step. Then another. And another.
After you complete a step, write about it in your journal. Think about the effectiveness of the step you’ve taken, but also consider how you feel after the step you’ve taken.
It’s funny how some of the steps – a lot of the steps – require us to silence our own inner critic and take a plunge. Listening to the voice in our own mind and doing exactly what it does not want us to do takes courage.
It’s taking a risk to put ourselves, our ideas, or creations, and our dreams, out there in the world to make something out of them.
Which is exactly why it can be so nice to share our ideas and dreams in our journals, but then never take action. When an idea stays on paper, especially in the neat and tidy confines of our private journal pages, that idea never becomes an actualized risk.
We can never fail if we don’t take action.
Phew! Not failing sounds awesome! Sign me up for that.
But at some point, a little twinge may work its way into your heart. And you’ll feel a little flutter at the memory or an idea.
I’ve had a couple. I bet you have too. My biggest one was when I realized my first husband and I wanted different things. It was powerful to realize I would rather live my life alone and on my own terms than live the life he wanted for me – the life that felt safe.
What have your twinges been? What dreams have you written about in your journal that it’s time to pull up and pay attention to?
What action can you take today to pay attention to those twinges?
Sara Marchessault is a writer, publisher, teacher, and mom who is on a mission to increase joy on the planet. Through the practice of self-reflection, we become aware of what brings us joy and what does not, and we make choices to move forward or stand still. Journal writing is a powerful reflection tool that can help any of us move forward, even in the darkest of times. For ideas on how you can get the benefits of journal writing without always keeping a traditional journal, check out Sara’s book, Beyond Pen & Paper: 33 Experiments in Journaling.