One of the things I love most about summer is spending time with family and friends. This summer I have also been trying to create some novel and fun experiences with our two teenage sons, Jackson age 15 and Jesse age 13, to help mitigate some of the losses inherent to this continued pandemic time. Normally, their young lives are filled with adventures with their friends, summer camps, sports and more.
I decided to embark on a road trip with Jesse and head to 108 Mile Ranch, BC where my longest lifetime friend, Darlene, lives with her husband. We have been friends since the age of four. On our journey home we stopped along a river and Jesse fished and I wrote in my journal.
I was somewhat distracted when I was journaling as I watched Jesse fish and shared conversation with him too. I noticed that I was getting my journaling down in short snippets. This got me thinking about how journaling does not have to be long – in length or time – to be meaningful and enjoyable.
We can write “mini journal entries”. We can write journal entries that are less than 20 words and still say something.
Here are the unedited snippets of short entries (they came out like little poems) that emerged on the page in my journal while I was sitting beside the river watching Jesse fish (right click on photo above) …
Graffiti on trains,
going down the tracks.
My son fishing the Thompson River,
hoping for a catch.
Rocks beneath me,
firm and strong.
Rapids in the river,
in my heart…
then and now.
COVID in the air
of their homes
are an anchor
in the swift
We can capture the heart of the moment with mini journal entries!
You can do it too. Try this…
1. Take your journal to a different environment then you normally write in (perhaps go to a different part of your home, or outside, or on a park bench, or to a coffee shop…).
2. Sit comfortably with your journal opened, the blank page before you and your pen in hand.
3. Take a couple of grounding, deep and clearing breaths to help you relax and bring your full awareness on the present moment you are in.
4. Look around. Really tune into both your outer world and inner world. Notice what you see, hear, think and feel in this one moment in time.
5. Capture your noticing in multiple mini journal entries of 20 words or less. Write one, pause briefly, write the next one and continue this over a 5-10 minute period of time and see what emerges.
6. Delight in your own creative self-expression, one word at a time. One breath at a time.
Author: Lynda Monk, Director, IAJW.org, is an avid journal writer, co-author of Writing Alone Together: Journaling in a Circle of Women for Creativity, Compassion and Creativity. She is co-editor of a forthcoming book (April 2021) Transformational Journaling for Coaches, Therapists and Clients: A Complete Guide to the Benefits of Personal Writing.