Sunday, April 1

The Art of Finding Yourself

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Travel Journal

In school we are currently learning about creative journals.  I keep telling people that and they all respond the same way; A diary?  Possibly, however, a creative journal does not have to be strictly pouring your heart out onto a piece of paper.  As long as your are expressing yourself; you are creating your own journal.  Some examples include drawings, paintings, songs lyrics, poems, pictures (personal or clipped from a magazine), designing, descriptions, memories,, etc, etc, etc.  A creative journal is simply an expressive outlet of which one is most comfortable with.  They allow you to express thoughts and feelings, sort seeminglin random life experiences, make more conscious choices and decisions, define and implement change, get a clearer picture of your creative potential and how to use it, deal with creative blocks and negative patterns, enrich relationships with yourself and others, and to find a deeper meaning to your life.  Journal whenever you feel as though you have something you wish to express, want to with with a sepcific exercise, or simply want to be alone with your thoughts.    

Using your voice as an outlet

Without even realizing it, I suppose I have had my own creative journal for a while now, being this blog.  Although I share my personal stories and experiences, beliefs and opinions, and issues I feel require more attention, now that it is being considered a ‘journal’ I am suddenly feeling as though these thoughts are personal and no one should read them!  The label ‘journal’ can become intimidating and even cause someone to stop what he or she is doing- as most people like to keep their personal lives to themselves.  Many of you probably journal in one way or another, and like me, do not even realize you are doing it!  I have one friend who expresses herself through beautiful art, another who continuously adds to her scrapbook, and one other who writes letters that she never plans on sending out. 

Hand print turkey art
There is an extremely high importance around providing some sort of emotional outlet for children.  The children that I work with often struggle with determining which emotion they are actually experiencing, and often do not enjoy sitting around and discussing their true feelings.  It is our job, as adults/ parents/ mentors to assist them in discovering their own outlet.  Perhaps a child in your life does not find drawing relatively interesting.  In such an instance, incorporating music would be an excellent ‘creative journal’ as an outlet for expression.  Perhaps looking through old photographs, filled with memories, and asking how they felt during those occasions would be a method to experiment with.  Furthermore, building a timeline of the most significant memories in their life can also elicit more feelings.  There are times that children and youth need to feel something, and they will go to many lengths to find just that. This can be in any of the areas of self-harm, promiscuity, and/or substance abuse. Creative journaling could be that positive way for them to express themselves, instead of resorting to such harmful measures. Creative journaling can be that opportunity to express their dreams, or can be an opportunity to put their fears down on paper- instead of self-pitying.  
Simply keeping daily notes
It is important to keep in mind that children are confiding in you and will most likely want you to keep their personal stories to yourself.  Betrayal affects children in an immense way, where they often do not quickly forget.  Building a trusting relationship is the key to success when working with children.  Another tip to be cautious about is to not let a child’s ‘creative journal’ get into the hands of someone who they do not wish to see it.  Allow the child to keep their work safe in their room or offer to hold onto it for them.  

* Releases pent-up thoughts and emotions
* Empowers
* Heals relationships
* Is honest, trusting, non-judgmental
* Soothes troubled memories
* Reveals and tracks patterns and cycles
* Builds self-confidence
* Recrods the past
* Helps you feel better about yourself
* Self-discovery
* Is a close, intimate, accepting, caring, honest, perfect friend
Use your body as a canvas
* Is fun, playful, and sometimes humourous
* Integrates life experiences and learnings
* Moves you towards wholeness and growth, to who you really are
* Explores spirituality
* Allows freedom of expression
* Exercises mental muscles
* Enhances breakthroughs
* Explores dreams and fantasies
* Measures and tracks what is important
* Eases decision making
* Offers new perspective
* Meets your needs, style, processing methods
* No rules: messiness, typos, and poor writing skills are all OK
* Increases memory of events
* Teaches you how to write stories
* Stimulates personal growth
* Improves family unity

Here is an example of how two brothers chose to communicate for 365 days.
They eliminated cell phones altogether.
Their only option was to post a video detailing the events of their day. 
This is their own version of creative journaling.  

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Lauren Kent

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