Why I journal


I’ve held off writing a blog until now. Why? Because it means opening up and sharing my experience. However, over the past few years as I’ve been leading online mindfulness groups and courses, I have found that my thinking around this has shifted. Why? Because great things happen when people open up and share with authenticity. With this sharing comes a mutual exchange of wisdom that leads to healing, increased confidence, and an inner energy that drives us forward to live our lives in alignment with our values.

So, I’ll start by sharing why I journal…

I journal to make sense of my thoughts, feelings, and experiences. I journal to make sense of my world. I journal to connect to my inner self. My journal is my confidante and helps me to gain perspective by taking a step back from it all. Through my journal I gain insight, reconnect with my inner truth and values, and take more informed decisions and actions in alignment with those values.

In the moments when issues are going round and round my mind my journal is my outlet. I pour out everything onto the page and empty my mind. It is an unburdening. A transference of all that is in my mind.

My journal helps me to see patterns in my life, recurrent problems, heightens awareness and in doing so allows me to see what is going on. I find that it is like looking at the whole painting of my life, stepping back to view it objectively rather than placing my focus on one brush stroke that makes no meaning unless I can see how it connects to the brush strokes beside it and to the whole painting.

In moments of loneliness my journal has been my friend. In moment of overwhelm it has been my dump. In moments of doubt, it has been my cheerleader, urging me on, knowing that there is a direction I need to follow in alignment with my values.

My wish for you is that you too will make the space to reconnect with your true self, to discover how to live a life in alignment with your values. To live your truth. To live a rich and meaningful life. The answers are all within you, but you need to dive deep to connect and find them.

I would like to invite you to drop into this space regularly. As well as my own insights about journalling I’ll be sharing:

  • Tips for you to apply instantly to your own journalling practice
  • What science has to say about journalling, mindfulness, and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy/Training
  • Tips and inspiration for your own journal
  • Guest posts
  • Resources
  • Offers
  • And lots more!

So come back and join me! Meanwhile I’d love to hear where you are on your own journalling journey. Why do you journal? Or why would you like to start journalling? Take a small step out of your comfort zone by sharing in the comments box below.


Aromatherapy and meditation on the go

I love combining meditation with aromatherapy to enrich the experience.

I try to match the meditation type with the oil I use. Diffusing an essential oil like lavender for example can have a calming effect. Lemon gives an energy boost and the scent of peppermint is refreshing. You can also blend your own favourite oils, or buy ready blended oils.

Diffusers work by releasing essential oils into the air in tiny droplets. My first ever diffuser was a simple ceramic diffuser with a tea light. If you’ve used one then you’ll know that you have to put water into the diffuser bowl, add a few drops of oil and then light the tealight beneath. I always found the flickering flame soothing, but it did take a while for the scent to permeate the room and I had often finished the meditation before I could really smell anything.

I then moved on to a plastic electric diffuser which wasn’t very successful as it had to be filled with water and then plugged in. It was very difficult to clean out, and was bulky and unsightly. It made a horrible noise and the water vapour came out too fast with a hint of plastic.

The other disadvantage of these diffusers was that neither of them were suitable for taking travelling. So although I could meditate anywhere, I couldn’t easily take my diffusers with me.

I was therefore intrigued when Organic Aromas offered me the opportunity to try their new Mobile-Mini 2.0 nebulizing diffuser and to give them some honest feedback, which I will share with you here.

The first thing that struck me when I unboxed their gift was how discreet and light it was. It’s a sleek, modern design (available in a lovely iron man red or charcoal grey) and is the pefect size for popping into a bag to take travelling or to meditation classes.

The other advantage is that it doesn’t need to be plugged in as its lithium battery can be recharged like any mobile phone – simple! So you can use it anywhere. It lasts for hours.

I was happy to see that it doesn’t use water. There is a little glass reservoir to fill with essential oil. This then slots back into the diffuser. It’s very easy to set up and refill.

I started with the Organic Aromas Butterflies Breath Blend which is a blend of Jasmine, Celery Seed, Bergamot, Cedarwood, Geranium, Ylang Ylang, Palmarosa, Spearmint, and Rosemary.

The diffuser is much quieter than my last one; it makes a low humming sound which varies depending on the setting it’s on. The settings help to control how much scent is released. The high setting is great for prepping a room quickly, so it’s handy for meditation and yoga teachers, or holistic therapists who offer sessions in different studios.

I was a bit worried about how strong the scent would be as I am sensitive to smells. However, as well as being able to choose settings, the diffuser comes on for two minutes and then switches off for one minute. This avoids the scent becoming overpowering. It will automatically shut down after two hours so there’s no danger of leaving it on and draining the battery.

It’s very simple to clean as it doesn’t build up as much sticky oil residue as my other diffusers which was a relief.

The top of the diffuser just rests which makes it quick to remove but I think it would have been better if it could be fixed in place for travelling. However, it’s simple enough to pop it into a small bag with the oils which I do just in case any of the little bottles leak.

I’m enjoying using the diffuser for meditation and am eager to take it with me on my next trip or meditation class so that I can continue to use aromatherapy on the go!

I’ve included a video and links to Organic Aromas if you’d like to find out more. They have lots of information on their website including exactly how the diffusers work and how to stay safe with essential oils.

https://organicaromas.com: Aromatherapy and meditation on the go

Journalling for authenticity

I’ve just finished listening to Dr Gabor Maté being interviewed by David Malone about his new book, The Myth of Normal.

One of the things that stood out for me was his observation that many of us are living inauthentically in order to fit in and be accepted by our families and loved ones.

He points out that we are wired by nature to be authentically in touch with our bodies, emotions, and feelings, including gut feelings, in order to survive. Also, as mammals we are wired for attachment, beginning with attachment to our parents when we are babies.

However, Dr Maté says that many of us have given up self-connection for the sake of attachment. We are too afraid to be ourselves as we fear rejection. We would rather live an inauthentic life than not belong. Belonging was also highlighted by Maslow as being one of the most basic of human needs, and most people can identify with a feeling of not belonging at some point in their lives.

It’s also important to be able to give voice to our authenticity. In his book, Dr Maté refers to a study that followed 2000 women over 10 years. The result was that those women who were unhappy in their marriages and not able to speak about their true feelings were four times more likely to die earlier than those who could.

Maté also says that when we live inauthentically our partners do not truly know who we are. For us it can result in feelings of loneliness even when we are with our partner or surrounded by a large group of people. Our health suffers.

If you are someone who tries to live an authentic life, or would like to, then Dr Maté’s interview and book are confirmation that being authentic is good for you.

However, it’s quite possible that after spending years supressing your authentic self, you may no longer even be familiar with who you are.

Journalling gives us an opportunity to connect with our inner selves. To ask ourselves the question, Who am I? and to explore the answers that arise. We can’t expect all the answers to come at once, but we can perhaps find one piece of the jigsaw each time we sit down with our journals by asking questions that can gently nudge us in the right direction.

JOURNAL PROMPT: What do you enjoy doing? What lights you up? What drains you?

Here are the links to Dr Gabor Maté’s interview and book.

Winter’s turning

“Plants and animals don’t fight the winter; they don’t pretend it’s not happening and attempt to carry on living the same lives that they lived in the summer. They prepare. They adapt. They perform extraordinary acts of metamorphosis to get them through. Winter is a time of withdrawing from the world, maximising scant resources, carrying out acts of brutal efficiency and vanishing from sight; but that’s where the transformation occurs.”
― Katherine May

In December the journalling group I lead met online to explore the concept of Wintering. We looked at quotes from the beautiful book, Wintering by Katherine May as we considered how we could more fully embrace the Winter season. We concluded that it was a time to go inwards, to reflect and nourish ourselves in preparation for Spring. We each had our own ideas of how we would put this into practice.

For me it’s been a time of slowing down and using my journal to reflect on what I would like to do in 2023. Instead of sitting at my desk I’ve found it helpful to journal curled up on the sofa next to the fire, pausing occasionally to watch the dancing flames which spark my thoughts and imagination.

I’ve felt a need for warmth. Not only the warmth of the fire, but of warming soups and food. Hot showers. Winter sunshine in a sheltered spot where I can sit and absorb the energy, almost like a battery recharging.

I’m enjoying embracing the Winter months, enjoying each moment without longing for time to accelerate to summer. It’s been a more mindful way of living.

There is an ancient Celtic festival connected to the goddess Brigid called Imbolc. It’s celebrated on or around February 1st and marks the half-way point between the winter solstice and spring equinox. It draws our attention to the fact that new shoots are beginning to poke through the earth marking new beginnings. We may also be sensing this in our own lives as we come up with new ideas and plans.

Yesterday was February 1st, and I felt a sudden urge to go and walk along my favourite coastal path. So off I went. The light was clear, the sea calm. I felt energetic as I walked along in the winter sunshine. Here and there I spotted new buds on trees, and the beginnings of flowers pushing through the ground.

When I got to the beach it was deserted, apart from a few people wandering along. I sat down in the sand, appreciating the isolation, listening to the soothing waves on the shore, the breath of the ocean, and feeling gratitude for this sense of connection to nature.

JOURNAL PROMPT: Do you enjoy the rhythm of the seasons? Are you feeling inspired at the moment with new ideas and plans?