Journaling Music: The Oracle of Shuffle

Journaling Music: The Oracle of Shuffle

“Do you listen to music while journaling? Should you? Is it alright to?”

I get asked these questions often. Some journalers and teachers have strong opinions on whether or not to listen to music while journaling. I guess we all have our soapbox; mine is writing by hand, and journaling every day.

One workshop I took vetoed music while writing because it apparently “drowns out the singing of your soul.” I beg to differ.

Music enables my soul to sing.

Another journaling expert warns against music influencing what you write about. Well, of course it does. If I’ve got something heady to write about that I need to focus on, I instinctively pick music to keep me in that space.

When it comes to whether or not to listen to music while journaling, my usual advice is to do whatever works for you. I almost always listen to music while journaling. That works for me. But then, I almost always listen to music. Period.

Journal Privacy: 5 Solutions

Journal Privacy: 5 Solutions

Journal privacy is a topic I’m frequently asked about. The very nature of journaling raises concerns about our writing falling into the wrong hands. It’s true that a violation of privacy could bring about unsavory results.

But the real problem is that you censor yourself when writing if you’re afraid of being found out.

The magic of journaling happens because we can be honest, because we can spill our guts on the page – if nowhere else. You’re robbed of the benefits of this release when you can’t open up.

I received the following question from a reader:

“I have journaled my whole life since I was ten years old. I am glad to say I have every single journal still lying safely in my drawers. But recently I’ve become worried about what will happen when my children read all those journals after i have passed away.
Like many people, I have dark periods in my life that are very private. The option to destroy those journals is too painful to think about. Also I hesitate lately to be completely open and honest in my journals for the same fearful reason. Do you have any advice?”

Finding a solution to your privacy issues is essential to your wellbeing. You must feel free and protected if you are to benefit from journaling. So let’s look at some of the options.

Blueline Notebooks: a Love Story

Blueline Notebooks: a Love Story

I love stationery. I love stationery in a way that defies explanation. As a result, I have tried dozens of different journals through the years, to varying degrees of success. After many journal trials and tribulations, I’ve found my life partner in Blueline Notebooks.

It’s Just a Phase

I journal daily so I fill my journals in a about two months. (One time I filled one in two weeks, but I was on vacation for much of it with little else to do besides lie in the sun and eat fruit.) I’ve been motivated to write voluminously knowing the faster I fill my current journal, the sooner I get to pick out a new one. Not very zen, but there you have it.

One day I was cruising the University Bookstore, which has a mind-boggling selection of notebooks. I accidentally happened upon a misplaced Blueline A9 hardcover notebook. I promptly bought a case of them and never looked back. I’ve been using them exclusively for more than 15 years.

Below I will walk you through the features of these great notebooks, providing photos of the new blank version, as well as my personalized versions.

#7: You’re Allowed to Celebrate Your Success

#7: You’re Allowed to Celebrate Your Success

This is the final post in the series 7 Easy Steps to be a Better Quitter. This series provides journal prompts and writing topics to enable big changes. I used this process to quit smoking, change jobs, start running, and eliminate debt. It works!

The best way to housebreak puppies is to throw a party every time they pee in the grass.

Puppy squats outside, you and the whole family lavish the little tyke with praise. You tell him he’s the most smartest dog in the whole wide world. Such a good puppy. Liver treats, scratches behind the ears, the whole nine.

We do the same thing with kids. You tied your shoe? All by yourself?! You are freaking amazing, little girl.

When’s the last time you threw a party for your own success?


#8: What do you really want?

#8: What do you really want?

When was the last time you asked yourself what you really want?

We are a society of people pleasers and caregivers. Women especially tend to fall into this trap – we are used to putting everyone’s needs before our own. It’s practically part of the job description.

We rarely ask ourselves what we want, so it can be a shocker when we do. It’s liable to stop you in your tracks.

That’s what happened to me this morning. I found myself walking in circles, burdened by all the To Do’s and Expectations. Shoulding all over myself. And a question came into my mind so clear it sounded like it was spoken outloud:

What do you want?

I paused momentarily in my hamster-like activity and thought about it. The answer? I have no idea.

But I knew Celeste was the key to figuring it out. She always is.

Two Wheels for Clarity

I have this amazing scooter. Her name is Celeste and I’ve obsessed over her every detail – from the sparkly tassels on the hand grips to the silver star-shaped hubcabs. Her two-tone paint job is metallic mermaid green and cream, the color of surf and seafoam.

I love her because she inspires me – she’s feminine, glossy and sleek on the outside, but when you start her up, she growls like a ticked off lion. She rumbles and purrs and makes no apologies for her awesome power.

The sun was out full force today, surrounded by that impossible two-dimensional blue that looks like it was cut from silk and hung in the sky. So I fueled up Celeste and headed down to Lake Washington Blvd.

This is the route you drive people when you want them to move to Seattle. A winding, signal-free stretch of good pavement along the blue waters, shielded by enormous pine trees, riding under a canopy of green. Jaw-dropping views of Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier. The cool water breeze on your arms, salty air on your tongue. Instant bliss.

I opened Celeste up and we rumbled along, glittering in the sun. Nothing to distract me from my thoughts — just mile after mile of green and blue, leaves and water, the growl of her engine beneath me.

Pop the Question

That one question tumbled about in my head as I rode. I asked myself over and over, emphasizing a different word each time: What do you want? What do you want?

Each emphasis brought up a different list, a different reaction. What do I want for myself that is different from what other people want for me? What do I want that is not necessarily what I need? What do I want – as opposed to how I want it (which is desperately, endlessly)?

My thoughts felt like those muddled barnacle-like stones dropped into a tumbler and tossed about until they become shining, polished gems. When I sat down before my open journal, the thoughts poured out. All the wants. So many wants.

The amazing part? They’re all within reach.

Take some time when you won’t be disturbed and think about the question. Ruminate. Daydream. What do you really want? In your relationship, job, life in general?

You may find, like me, that a few hours of open air are required to help you shake lose the stirrings in your soul.

Scooter optional.