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Journaling Coaching

Why keep a journal?
What are Rebecca’s journals like?
How does one-on-one journaling coaching work?

Why keep a journal?

Here’s my own testimonial: I have been journaling for decades, and the resulting four boxes of dog-eared spiral notebooks are my most precious resource. When I dive into them, they always surprise me.  Sometimes I find reasons to have compassion on myself for my often less-than-perfect choices.  Sometimes they fuel my determination to change.  Sometimes reading about circumstances I’d forgotten helps me to find new empathy for friends and family members.  A look through old journals showed me that at twenty, I was already preoccupied with the questions and themes that fueled the dissertation I finished at fifty—apparently my intellectual life has more consistency and integrity than I realized.

To put it in more general terms, my journals allow me to reflect on my life trajectory.  They keep me honest with myself (because I definitely tend to mis-remember!)  Every time I reread one, I see new things in it, because I’ve grown and changed and see the material from a new perspective.  Finally, as a fiction writer, I find that the notebooks yield a wealth creative material to work with.  As a tool for self-awareness, a journal is a gift that keeps on giving.

My journaling practice has also served as a powerful tool for self-creation and desire-manifestation.  For example, one journal entry I made in the process of extricating myself from a destructive relationship was titled, “Before you leap to commit—”  It consisted of a list of ten obvious warning signs I had ignored in my dazzled rush to join forces with this particular person.  Writing the list let me admit in black and white just how blind I had been, then forgive myself and truly release all attachment to the unhealthy relationship.  And the list was more than a mea culpa.  It was also a clear declaration of what I wanted to experience in my next relationship.  On some level the message must have sunk in and affected my choices, because the next time I entered a serious relationship, the person who came knocking not only passed the test—he was ten for ten.  I’m not saying that I manifested a healthy relationship because I kept a journal.  But it certainly didn’t hurt.

As I see it, journaling is about coming to terms with where you really find yourself, and then challenging yourself to live the best, most blissful life you can imagine from that place. It’s shamelessly self-involved, but for good reason:  We are our own material.  If life is a laboratory, we’re the lab rats.  If life is an artist’s studio, we’re the clay or the stone or the paint.  Journaling is a wonderful way to explore and refine the primary material we’re given: our consciousness, and the context in which it finds itself. 

What are Rebecca’s journals like?

My approach to journaling has evolved over the years.  The link below will take you to excerpts from one of my oldest notebooks.  It documents the beginning of a lifelong spiritual quest:

Rebecca’s journal from fall 1980

Even though the entries were disjointed and my journaling practice was brand-new, I was already using my notebook as a tool for self-development.  Writing in the notebook allowed me to keep reminding myself of what really mattered to me (i.e., Reality with a capital “R”).  Journaling helped me to find some glimmers of insight into the source of my self-defeating behaviors, and to brainstorm better alternatives.  I made up stories that helped me to imagine my world from other points of view, and possible new ways forward.  As the years have gone by, I've learned many techniques that let me use my journaling more effectively, but at this formative stage of my life, the journal was already, literally, a life-saver.


How does one-on-one journaling coaching work?

Journaling coaching includes a combination of weekly, one-on-one phone conversations, custom-prescribed exercises, and online feedback and encouragement. (Obviously, I will respond only to exercises you choose to complete and send to me; I respect and encourage your right to keep any part of your journaling process private).  The practices I recommend are gleaned from 30 years of journaling for personal growth, and backed by the research and recommendations of many others who have studied the relationship of writing and personal growth.  The standard rate for journaling coaching is $50 per week, which includes a half-hour phone conversation and half an hour of online coaching.

While journaling coaching is always flexible, shaped by your own unique needs and circumstances, I generally like to cover four stages, or levels, of journaling practice:

Level 1:  Observing What Is.

To state the obvious, a journal depends on “le jour,” the mundane events, thoughts and feelings that we deal in the course of a day.  Even though it’s tempting to want to be someone else, somewhere else, the fact is that there’s only one point of power and agency: right now, right here.  Journaling teaches us to start where we are.  And it reveals that the everyday is a sacred, incredibly potent thing.  “What Is” is all there is.  At this stage, we focus on cultivating your ability to write freely, without censoring, about your daily life. Level 1 also includes self-inquiry and self-interview exercises to help you to notice where you are right now, and what you would like to manifest.


Level 2:  Making Friends with What Is.

Level 2 begins with a journal review.  You’ll look back at what you’ve written and answer a series of questions about the “character” who stars in your journal and the story of your life.  Probably you’ll notice some things you really like about that person, and see other things you wish you could change.  Level 2 uses gratitude and affirmation to help you expand the parts of your life that you love, and encourages you to continue to non-judgmentally observe the parts of your life you don't love so much.  You'll have a chance to reflect on the reasons for self-defeating behaviors, and to shine the healing light of compassion into the sore corners of your life, but Level 2 is not about trying to change; it’s only about noticing.  That's because simple awareness can bring about profound transformation.


Level 3:  New Perspectives on What Is.

As many self-help gurus have taught, often the first thing our mind tells us about a problem we are having may not be true.  Painful situations are less the result of external circumstances than of the stories we tell ourselves about them.  This is also a profound spiritual truth.  My own spiritual teacher Yogananda said, “Objective conditions are always neutral.  It is how we react to them that makes them appear sad or happy."  Level 3 consists primarily of exercises designed to shed light on the beliefs and stories that cause us to regard certain experiences as painful, and to teach us that there are multiple other beliefs and stories that may be equally true. Cultivating the art of the "re-frame" and the practice of looking at your life from multiple new perspectives can be immensely freeing.  It can open up a whole new universe of possibility. 


Level 4:  Expanding What Is: Visions and Goals.

There is no time other than now—yet the form taken by “now” continually changes, and has an uncanny way of responding to our expectations.  That’s why it’s vital that we consciously hold the highest possible expectations for ourselves and our lives.  Level 4 is designed to bring your highest and most joyful vision of yourself into crystal clear focus by means of writing, art, and visualization exercises.  We'll explore the ways in which living your joy is the very best way to be of service to others, and the ways in which your desires are already constantly supported by Divine Intelligence.   We'll explore the ways in which you already are everything you desire.  Who would you be if you were already living that perfect life?   And why not experience yourself as that person right now? 


Journaling coaching is designed to help you work consciously with the ego; to cultivate its functionality, productivity, health, abundance and joy.  If you'd like to use your journal to work in this way, please write to to schedule a free initial phone consultation.

For Rebecca's qualifications to teach a journaling workshop, see "About Rebecca."

Here are some links that may enrich your journaling practice:

One Year of Writing and Healing
This site offers a structured approach to writing for healing—lots of wonderful and wise free guidance.

A Woman's Journey
This is an eclectic clearinghouse of free resources to support you on your spiritual path.

BraveHeart Women
This social networking platform allows women to inspire one another and develop empowering alliances.