This one’s almost ready to go. It’s framed in terms of letting go, recognizing growth and moving forward. Reflection in action. I’m hoping it can be used in two ways — to reflect on forgiving others and, perhaps more importantly, on forgiving ourselves. An opportunity to lighten the load a bit, to make room for new adventures.
This cheerful exercise brings together some of journaling’s best features:
Thinking on paper. By composing a thank you note using your journal, you can take a moment to think about someone’s generosity or kindness and what it means to you.
Memory keeping. You’ll create a record of the moment or action for which you’re thankful and that will help you remember it.
Transforming thoughts into action. This is where the power of journaling really shines through. It gives you an easy way not only to recognize your gratitude, but also to act on it.
All it takes are a few simple, specific steps.
Starting in your journal, write your responses to these five prompts:
One person you’d like to thank.
One thing you’d like to thank her or him for.
Two details to describe the thing for which you’re thankful.
One way in which it made a difference to you.
One lovely thing about the person you’re thanking.
Next, select a card or sheet of note paper and turn your prompt responses into a thank you note. Here’s one way you might write it:
Thank you so much for (2.)! I love (3.).
It means so much to (4.). You’re (5.)!
The only thing left to do is sign your name and you’re finished!
In a short sequence of thoughtful steps, you’ve documented a meaningful moment in two ways — in your journal for you to keep and in a note expressing your gratitude to send to someone who will surely be thrilled to receive it.
To make it even easier, I’ve created a new printable journal page that includes all the prompts I listed above. You can download it by clicking here or on the image above. As always, the pdf file includes four page sizes: letter, half letter, A4, and A5.
If you’d like to see more, you’ll find a variety of 10 Minute Journal Pages, free sample pages, and much more in my printables shop.
I have an idea for a new journal page (or set!). It may or may not work out in the end, but I thought it might be fun to think it through with you here on the blog this week.
The page started with the idea of a map. Specifically, I was thinking of those lovely illustrated city or country maps featuring a place and a collection of its streets and landmarks. They’re not drawn to scale, but to give the viewer a sense of the place. I love how sweet they are — full of history or natural beauty, or sometimes the illustrator’s memories of places she visited while she was there.
I wondered if that kind of map might make a good journal page — if the main streets could be a way to represent themes or lists, if intersections could represent relationships between ideas, and if important details could be shown on the map as landmarks. I wondered if a sort of illustrated map/journal page hybrid could be a creative way to explore everyday experiences and seek out new insights.
The result is what you see above. It’s as far I’ve gotten. Now that I see it down on paper, I don’t think it’s quite there yet. It’s not obvious how to approach the page and, when finished, I’m wondering if the map works to clarify ideas in a meaningful way.
I think I’ll step away from it for a while, but I’ll be back here tomorrow with new eyes and a fresh perspective. In the meantime, what do you think?
It’s the kind of sunny Friday afternoon when anything seems possible, so I turned last week’s post on doing the impossible into a new printable journal page. You can download it by clicking right here or on the image above.
Let’s all go out this weekend and take small, but mighty steps toward achieving the impossible.
P.S. As always, the pdf file includes four page sizes: letter, half letter, A4, and A5.
P.P.S. If you’d like to see more, you’ll find a variety of 10 Minute Journal Pages, free sample pages, and much more in my printables shop.
This journal technique is simple and straightforward. It uses a basic question and answer format and requires no tools other than a pen and paper.
There’s just this one thing . . . you’ll be asking the questions AND answering them, which is the key to connecting with your knowledge and experience. It sounds a little unusual, but once you get the hang of it, you may be surprised to discover the depth and breadth of your own wisdom.
Accessing Your Inner Wisdom
Here’s how to begin:
Step one: Ask yourself a question, in writing, in your journal.
Step two: Answer your question, in writing, in your journal.
Repeat steps one and two until you’re satisfied with the work you’ve done.
That’s really all there is to it. Two steps repeated many times. The trick to making it work is not letting yourself off the hook.
Follow Every Answer With a New Question
Let’s say you’ve got a big decision to make, but you’re not sure what to do. You could begin by asking yourself, What should I do?
Your first and most honest answer might be, I don’t know, which is entirely okay. That’s why you’re doing this. Keep going. Ask the next question: Why don’t I know?
Then answer it.
You might not find the answers you seek right away, but don’t let that stop you from following every answer, especially the ones that seem the least helpful and the most unproductive, with a new question.
If you don’t know because you don’t have enough information, ask yourself how to find more information. If you don’t know because it’s a hard question, ask yourself why it’s hard. If you don’t know because you’re afraid to know, ask yourself why you’re afraid.
Then answer your questions and the follow-up questions they inspire, in writing, in your journal. You may find that the answers you’re searching for are already within you, just waiting to be written.
Why Your Journal Is an Excellent Place to Access Your Inner Wisdom
I love this format. It usually doesn’t take long for me to get past the I don’t knows and the I’m not sures to the core of difficult challenges and decisions. It has a lot to do with how I view my journal.
My journal is a safe place to think. It’s a judgment free zone. It’s always there for me when I need it. In return, my journal requires words. It requires me to articulate and describe, and in order to do so, I have to pay attention. I have to stop for a moment and think things through.
The results are often incredibly heartening — a new path forward, a renewed sense of confidence, a new understanding of myself that yields more intentional decisions. I don’t always find perfect answers to my questions, but I always find somewhere to start, something to do to move forward.
If you’d like to give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes. Leave a comment below or drop me a line via email. I’d love to chat!
P.S. I’ve also used aspects of this technique in two of my printable journal pages: When You Just Need a Moment to Think and Reason 10 in my free e-book 10 Good Reasons to Journal, if you’re looking for a place to start.
I’ve had such fun creating an ever-growing collection of handmade envelopes with mini accordion journals tucked inside! I thought you might want to give it a try, too, so I’ve created a new, free printable page and a quick tutorial to get you started.
If you’d like to create your own mini accordion journals and envelopes, start by downloading and printing my mini envelope and journal template. (The file includes two page sizes. The first page is letter sized. The second page is A4.) You’ll also need a pencil, scissors, tape or glue, and extra paper for making your envelopes.
Begin by cutting out the envelope template and mini journals. For the mini journals, I like to cut just inside the dashed lines so they don’t appear on the journals.
Next, trace the outline of your envelope template onto the back of your chosen paper and cut it out. I’m making two envelopes, one for each mini journal.
Now for the folding. With your envelope paper face down, fold the side tabs in toward the center using the dotted lines on the envelope template as a guide.
For the mini journals, I like to start by folding them in half, so that the top and bottom meet and the words are on the outside of the fold.
Fold the envelope bottoms up and over the side tabs, again using the dotted line in the envelope template as a guide, and apply glue or tape to attach the bottom to the sides. Then fold down the envelope top.
For the mini journals, fold the tops and bottoms in half again so that they meet up with the centre fold.
Insert your folded journals into your new envelopes and you’re finished!
You can record your answers to the prompts now and attach your envelopes to your journal or you can tuck your envelopes into a tote or backpack for a little journaling on the go.
I hope you’ll love this little journal project. If you’d like to try making more envelopes of different sizes and shapes and more mini journals, I’ve also posted a brand new printable handmade journal and envelope kit in the shop.
As always, happy journaling, friends!
My recent experiments with handmade irregular envelopes wouldn’t be complete without a few irregular prompts. I made a super-simple, three-prompt, mini-accordion guided journal to tuck inside my latest teeny tiny envelopes. And the prompts are . . . well, they’re a little unusual . . . a lighthearted look at the words confuse and amuse us.
My word confession for the day is that I’m never entirely sure if I’m using the word “ironic” correctly. (Is that ironic? I have no idea.)
How about you?
I’m up to five mini guided journals, each with five different prompts on five themes. There are still a few details to be worked on and sorted out on the inside pages. The text spacing’s not quite right and the prompts need a bit of tweaking, but I love the size (1.75”x2.25”) and the colourful covers and stitching. After that, I’ll just have to figure out what to do with them.
What kinds of details are you working on and sorting out today?
“Let me be who I am, and then some,” wrote Mary Oliver in her essay Building the House. (From Upstream, 2016, p. 164.)
Imagine that. Going all in on who you are. Even the parts you might sometimes hold back or worry are just a little too much for public consumption.
My “and then some” might be more experiments with uncertain outcomes, more eye contact, more idealistic enthusiasm (or would it be enthusiastic idealism? I’m not sure.)
What is your “and then some”?